Critique Anonymity Unfair

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by jeffe » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:12 pm

If I ran a record company, I would not want the obligation to contact all people that sent me their music. If Taxi insisted on that as a condition for displaying my listing, then I wouldn't bother using Taxi to find me material. It would be too much hassle.Ultimately, it's the guys with the power and money that get to dictate all the rules, and I'm with them on that one.Can you imagine it. Having to spend hours on the phone to all the submissions. Having to tell someone you think their music doesn't cut it. Getting shouted at and abused.I wouldn't put up with that. You have to put yourself in their position.I believe that most people that want the anonymity removed, want it so that they can eventually give argument or try and sway opinions to their advantage. That's nothing unusual. We all want to get our music out there, but no amount of sales talk is going to win you that argument. They know what they want. If you don't provide that to them, then why should they have to explain the reasons to you?Most of us are in it to make some money out of what we love doing. The reality is that we have to give them what they want in order to achieve that. If we don't do that, then it's our fault. We really have no cause to complain. It's business.It's like me giving someone a flashlight that has the 'On' switch missing. Then calling them in the future and complaining because they didn't use it when it got dark.
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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by hummingbird » Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:26 pm

Quote:Quote:I think any song that gets through the shark infested waters of the Taxi Screeners and gets Forwarded, deserves some kind of response from the recipient.And NO - I don't accept the 'Too Busy' excuse. They get paid for doing their job full time. They want to try being a struggling songwriter and holding down the 9-5 job aswell ! THAT is busy ! Call me old fashioned, but again - it comes down to basic good manners - and that can pay dividends down the line in many different ways.This one made me laugh...if Taxi demanded that their clients responded to each song forwarded to them, there would be no Taxi. Simple as that.And while many A&R people and publisher use the "too busy" excuse to explain why they can't get back to everyone who submits, I think it's maybe more that they don't wanna find themselves in a lengthy discussion with writers who won't accept that their "brilliant hit song" is not what the individual is looking for. For THAT they are definitely too busy.I used to be the managing editor of one weekly & one monthly trade publication. I received many unsolicited & solicited submissions and had a very big wire basket for the slush file. It was impossible to keep up with it all. It was only when I had a spot on the editorial calendar for something different that we'd leaf through what we'd been 'forwarded' and then we'd contact the writer to say we were interested in publishing their work. From time to time my assistant would go through them and send out form letters to the 'returns'. At the same time, some folks would pester you about their submission, like, a week after they sent it in. And in theatre, same thing. You audition, they only call if they want you to come in for a call back or if you've got the role. They don't want to argue with you about why you didn't get it, even if they have time to call everybody.The reality is that editors, A&R reps, music libraries and music publishers just don't have the time to get back to everyone. If they are interested in your piece, they will contact you. That's just how it is. Nothing personal.
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TAXI CEO Responds to Screener Anonymity and More.

Post by jay10music » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:33 pm

Hi all,Michael Laskow here to weigh in on this thread. Jimi made me aware of it, and I think I can make short work of it with this answer. I generally don't cruise the boards, and can't participate in the discussions in full because I already avg. 11 hrs. of work a day, and would be ignoring my wife and kids if I made time for the forum. Sorry about that, but my family is very important to me I've answered the question about why we use numbers for the screeners a hundred times, but I guess 101 couldn't hurt. There is NO conspiracy to keep you from knowing who listened to your music, and I certainly understand why you'd like to know. But the problem has always been the security and well-being of our A&R people.I've gone public with this a couple of times, but not in a while, so here it is again. In 1994, I got a phone call from a guy in Boston who said, “I know where your kids go to school. I'm going to get them first, then I'm coming for you and your wife.”I can still remember what it felt like as the blood drained from my face. That's a phone call nobody wants to get. The guy ended up doing time for interstate terrorism. Our phones have remained connected to phone company “traps” ever since. Those allow you to pinpoint offenders quickly and accurately.A few years later, I had a guy in Portland who sent me death threat emails consistently, for the better part of a year. He would describe exactly how he was going to kill me, and how he would dispose of my body. I sent his letters to a psychiatrist for analysis, and the shrink said the guy had a psychotic break, and determined that he was a real threat.The guy DID eventually kill himself.There have been a couple of times that I've had to hire off-duty detectives to park by our home when I went out of town, to watch over my wife and kids. There have been times that I've had to hire personal security to cover me at events.While I'm FAR from a REAL celebrity, I still share some of the security concerns that they have, albeit, on a much smaller scale. Then again, Charles Manson was actually a disgruntled singer/songwriter, and there's nothing that filters out insane people from becoming TAXI members. And let us not forget, that not ALL members are happy with every critique ;-)So… why does this matter to the A&R people who work here? Because we've had some specific threats against them from time to time (although it's been a few years), and I just can't risk someone showing up at THEIR doors.We've wrestled with this for years, and every time I've talked to the screeners en mass about it, they always vote in favor of anonymity. Some screeners have told us that they'll quit if we disclose their identities.We know that the VAST majority of you are completely sane, and pose no risk, but it's that one in ten thousand that we worry about.I think there is some public perception that we use the numbers to hide something evil or untoward, but that's just not true. It's simply for the reasons stated above.There IS no second string at TAXI. Your music is ALWAYS heard by TRUE, top of the line experts, never by a “secretary.” And the people who listen are ALWAYS specialists in the genre they are screening.I know it's easy to think or say that “If they didn't like my song, it must have been some hack or assistant who didn't know what they were doing, or otherwise, they would have seen the true genius that I am and forwarded this thing.” But the TRUTH is that EVERY single song since the day I started this company has been heard by a REAL expert, and NEVER anyone less.No exceptions.Believe me, we've got PLENTY of out of work experts here in LA (due to industry shrinkage), and we work down a wire with experts in Nashville if we have any shortage of legitimate Country experts here in southern California.We've opened our doors (literally, nothing off limits) to doubters countless times, and never once in 15 years has anybody proven otherwise, because there IS no “otherwise” to prove. I'm not going to risk the reputation of this company I love so much, its well being, the well being of my staff, my family, and MOST of all, our members, by using anybody but top notch, highly-qualified people to listen to music under this roof.ALSO, about 70% of the people who audition for those coveted TAXI A&R spots don't pass the test. Yes, there IS a test, and then there's some pretty rigorous training, and then there are ongoing training seminars (pizza dinners with 40 or more current screeners) during which, the more experienced screeners share their expertise in helping you, with the newer ones.THEN, we do the “Screen the Screeners” sessions, where we bring in members who live in LA, to review the work of our screeners. If a screener(s) doesn't meet with the approval of the members, we give them a chance to rectify the problem with their work, and if they don't, we quit using them.All of this stuff is well documented, and fairly well publicized, but this topic STILL comes up all the time.Again, let me reassure you that the reason we use numbers for the screeners is SOLELY to protect our people from the less than stable members of our society (and all other societies;-).Have you ever noticed that when somebody posts a complaint about a song not being forwarded on these boards, that when their contemporaries hear the song, they invariably vote along with the TAXI screener? Yet, oddly, you'll never see the member come back and post, “Yeah, you're right, I owe that screener an apology for calling them inept. Maybe I should apologize to TAXI as well, because all of my friends here on the board agree with their assessment of my song.”Cruise the boards and you'll see lots of examples of this. The complaints stay up on the board, the member never recants, and we probably lose future members as a result. But in the name of free speech, we leave the complaints up. I also noticed some chatter on this thread about people having number one hits through TAXI. Here it is, plain and simple: Yes, there have been two Country cuts that happened as a result of the members belonging to TAXI. In both cases, the writers got publishing deals that eventually resulted in those cuts, and the subsequent #1's. In both cases, the writers lived in small towns, had NO previous connections in Nashville, and no experience in the music business. These guys had a greater chance of winning the lottery than getting their music heard by top people on music row - period!If not for publishing deals they got through TAXI, they would VERY likely still be anonymous, wouldn't have had those cuts, and wouldn't have had those number one songs. I remember saying this a thousand times when I started TAXI: “A great song can come from anywhere.”People on the boards always seem to overlook the Top Ten Dance hit Jenna Drey has had as a direct result of a TAXI forward because they only care about Country. They tend to overlook the fact that Daniel Holter had a major label Pop cut on Columbia as a direct result of a TAXI forward. They tend to forget about Adam Watts and Andy Cox who had a top 5 Pop hit with Jesse McCartney as a direct result of song being forwarded by TAXI. And they completely overlook the fact that as a result of THAT cut, each of them got a pub deal with Disney. And three years later, they've had their songs on records that have sold more than 9 MILLION copies, ALL from relationships that started with one TAXI forward.And by the way, our job is to get your music on the desks of people you probably don't have relationships with yourself. It's the record company's job to get it to get it to #1 - not ours. Yet people harp on that. TAXI is not a record company. We are also not in charge of changing the music industry so that it lowers the bar and starts accepting songs that fall below the bar. We'd like to see that happen for our members' sake, but it's not advertised as one of the things that we do ;-)I know it may be easier to blame TAXI's A&R staff, or TAXI itself, by pointing to things like screener anonymity or NOT giving TAXI the credit we are due on forwards that result in lives changed, but please don't do either of those. We work hard for you guys, and frankly, I'm tired of spending my time defending what we do because people can't just say, “Maybe my song wasn't good enough yet, or maybe I didn't pitch it all that well.”While I'm sure that we're not perfect, we work HARD at getting as close as possible. We've been under intense scrutiny for the last 15 years, and yet nobody has ever found a REAL chink in our armor. Could it be that we're everything we claim to be, and we really do what we promise? I know that's rare in today's business world, but maybe you're working with the RARE company that actually does it.Thanks for listening,Michael

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by Casey H » Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:04 pm

Quote:We know that the VAST majority of you are completely sane... hmmmm... I wonder about that...

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by jeffe » Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:42 pm

I shouldn't think that Taxi would need to defend itself in this situation. Unless they are constantly being approached about the idea, and they are tiring of it.Raising the subject on the forum is for discussion purposes among the members. It isn't a direct approach to Taxi.If Taxi have been reading this thread (which I'm sure they have. Just look back a couple of posts) then they will see that there are those for and those against. I suppose you could call this a forum eh?That's it in a nutshell. It's just a conversation. Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?Did someone have a 'Bad day' like Daniel Powter?I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.I'm not even sure that that post is from Michael. It seems far too bitchy.
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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by matto » Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:07 pm

Quote:Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?....I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.Uhmm...have you read the entire thread? The OP asks Taxi several times to reconsider/explain its policy. So now Michael did just that...and now there's something wrong with THAT??

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by johnnydean1 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:43 pm

Quote:I shouldn't think that Taxi would need to defend itself in this situation. Unless they are constantly being approached about the idea, and they are tiring of it.Raising the subject on the forum is for discussion purposes among the members. It isn't a direct approach to Taxi.If Taxi have been reading this thread (which I'm sure they have. Just look back a couple of posts) then they will see that there are those for and those against. I suppose you could call this a forum eh?That's it in a nutshell. It's just a conversation. Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?Did someone have a 'Bad day' like Daniel Powter?I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.I'm not even sure that that post is from Michael. It seems far too bitchy.It is obvious to me jeffe that you talk more than you listen and the majority of what you say eminates from your back passage!This post is a genuine ML.

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by jeffe » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:50 pm

Quote:Quote:I shouldn't think that Taxi would need to defend itself in this situation. Unless they are constantly being approached about the idea, and they are tiring of it.Raising the subject on the forum is for discussion purposes among the members. It isn't a direct approach to Taxi.If Taxi have been reading this thread (which I'm sure they have. Just look back a couple of posts) then they will see that there are those for and those against. I suppose you could call this a forum eh?That's it in a nutshell. It's just a conversation. Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?Did someone have a 'Bad day' like Daniel Powter?I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.I'm not even sure that that post is from Michael. It seems far too bitchy.It is obvious to me jeffe that you talk more than you listen and the majority of what you say eminates from your back passage!This post is a genuine ML.There are a lot of paid members of Taxi on here. There are also lots that aren't.The information that Michael has provided here is available on the Taxi web site for all to read.Unfortunately, as life would have it. A lot of people don't bother reading all the details available.People leave taxi, and new members join, all the time. So there's always new blood coming in. Always new people that don't read all the information available. So there will always be people asking this question. It's never going to go away.My comment was how agressive the post came across to me. With a bit of a sarcastic twist.You do understand sarcasm don't you?I thought it sounded a little out of character for Michael (in the capacity I read about him).We all have certain consistencies to our character.For instance. I know that post was really you Johnny.
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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by jeffe » Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:38 am

Quote:Quote:Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?....I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.Uhmm...have you read the entire thread? The OP asks Taxi several times to reconsider/explain its policy. So now Michael did just that...and now there's something wrong with THAT?? Let me elaborate on the line:"Unless they are constantly being approached about the idea"I do not consider comments on here, an approach to Taxi, as this is a TaxiCommunity forum used by members and non-members of Taxi. I haven't seen any real evidence of any Taxi employees taking an active part in threads. Except for the odd post."being approached" meant being approached directly, via telephone or Email.this explains my line:"Raising the subject on the forum is for discussion purposes among the members. It isn't a direct approach to Taxi."If you look at what I wrote, you will see that it is surprise in the manner of the post. It read like "How many times do I have to tell you guys" to me.Now is it wrong for me to express an opinion?I'm fully aware of the frustrations this may cause and I sit firmly on the side of Screener Anonymity.This is not the first time something like this has been pointed out, and it's not going to be the last, some of the reasons being in my previous post.I posted on this thread last week. Something I wouldn't have done without first knowing what it was about.I don't think there's anything wrong with Michael posting his opinion on this forum. Just as there is nothing wrong with me commenting on it.I see this as a forum, and not a company meeting. A place where we can all agree and/or disagree with anything we choose to talk about.
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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by Casey H » Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:09 am

Quote:Quote:Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?....I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.Uhmm...have you read the entire thread? The OP asks Taxi several times to reconsider/explain its policy. So now Michael did just that...and now there's something wrong with THAT?? First, Michael took a lot of time and effort to put together that response. Having written letters like that, my guess is it took him MANY hours to write that. TAXI may or may not be for you but: How many CEOs give you such direct access? I am not a member, but I applaud a CEO taking that much time to talk to his customers and address their concerns.I guess I love analogies but here goes... Have you ever been a manager in the corporate world -or- run your own small business? I used to be the manager of a software engineering department of about 15-20 people. Most people that worked for me were great. There were times when I bent over backwards for people, fighting for raises for them, defending them (to my own detriment) when the president was bitching about them, etc, etc. And, no surprise, there were a few that I went to bat for who did nothing but continue to complain and some even resigned right after I got them everything they wanted. That was certainly their choice but it seemed a bit unappreciative and left me embarrassed with my superiors. So it seems to me that you have a company here, TAXI, that is working hard to help you succeed and gives you direct access to their CEO. I don't always agree with TAXI and when I was a member I certainly disagreed on some of my rejections. And don't forget, TAXI can only benefit from scoring a success for you with your music since successes are great for advertising and promotion and can only bring in more business. So, there is no up-side to them to simply not forwarding songs. One more thing and TAXI can correct me if I am wrong. Early on, Michael did not want a message board like this. It takes a bit of babysitting to get rid of totally inappropriate posts and since it is human nature to sometimes talk about the negatives and not the positives, it can end up being bad for business. A perspective member who is on the fence, might quickly scan, read some negative posts and not join. But Michael allows this board to stay alive. And despite the bitching about censorship, I've seen very few posts which were critical of TAXI deleted.I may sound rah-rah TAXI... But my perspective is more about the general business world, than TAXI itself. Casey

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