Inconsistent Reviews...

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danhazer
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Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by danhazer » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:03 am

Hey All,I've been submitting tunes to TAXI for nearly two years. I think it's a really cool system. For the most part, I've used what was said in reviews to improve what I'm trying to do with my music.During my time with TAXI there is one element that I find somewhat frustrating, but I've never bothered to mention it because I don't know of any solution to the issue which is:There is noticeable inconsistency from screener to screener. I know everyone is going to interpret what he or she hears in a different way, but what I'm getting from screeners seems to vary more than it should. Here's an example: My wife Amy has a song out there where on several listing critiques screeners have forwarded it, as well as given it 8's & 9's all the way up and down. In the comments everything about the song was pretty much perfect and it was ready for radio and such. Yet on another, totally separate listing critique, THE VERY SAME SONG was given 5's & 6's and the reviewer called for major revisions and had all kinds of suggestions about lyrical content and whatnot. As a submitter of material to TAXI, I want to get good reviews. I like the ones that are putting 8's and 9's on their critiques. But are they just blowing smoke up my bunghole? And if I get a review that's giving 5's & 6's and basically says, "Rework this," for the same songs where elsewhere I'm getting 8's & 9's, whose report am I going to believe? I believe in what I do - so I'm probably going to lean towards the positive critique.Also, what if, because of this inconsistency, I choose to ignore the more negative critiques, and then submit the same song to a similar listing and the same, negative critique screener is screening? That screener is going to think, "This guy did not change a darn thing about this tune! Return!" Yet, he/she is probably not going to realize that I'm submitting to these listings based on the belief that the song is strong because of other positive TAXI reviews…In that case, it seems like I may have wasted my five dollars.Anyway, am I just ranting here? Does any one else feel a similar frustration as I do? Maybe someone has already written about this? Sorry if I am repeating what someone else has already said.Thanks and see you at the road rally,Dan

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by neuphoria » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:48 am

yup, feel the same. only consolation is that it's the same thing in the 'real' world: recently read a few reviews on the new Beck album-- one 'major' reviewer said something like 'without his usual bizarre lyrics Beck's new cd is not as interesting' and the next review, also from a major publication, said something like 'Beck has his usual bizarre lyrics on this cd..." etc. etc. they were saying the opposite things about the same album... don't seen any solution to it. (as i said before that's why i like when the person who placed the listing does the screening...)so go with what you think. if the suggestions on how to 'improve' don't resonate, ignore them. in your two years, have you (or your wife) gotten any placements or deals? especially with tracks you've revised post-critique?

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by danhazer » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:54 am

Quote:in your two years, have you (or your wife) gotten any placements or deals? especially with tracks you've revised post-critique?Hey, thanks for the reply. I appreciate it.I have never gotten a deal or a placement, but I sure have gotten plenty of forwards. Looking back over the two years, I'm getting about 40% forwards. But so far, the net effect of that success is me spending money with TAXI.The Road Rally makes it worth it as far as I'm concerned.Thanks again,Dan

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by stuartleggat1 » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:55 am

Hi Dan/All,Found your article a real eye-opener; facinating and horrifying at the same time.You`ve had FORTY-PERCENT of your total submitted forwarded and not one placement...what chance do the rest of us have then if we only manage to get two or three forwarded over the period of around a year and think ourselves very lucky? Makes paying all the shekels seem a total waste of time and maybe better trying via other options...will have to give this very serious consideration over the next month or two.Best to all,Stu

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by danhazer » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:33 am

Hi Stu,Amy and I have studied what the TAXI people say about submitting material to the appropriate listings. It's seems to work fairly well. I'd say for every five we submit, we're getting two forwards.One thing I've noticed is if the listing happens to be a, "high bar" listing, this often will result in a low score and lots of suggestions for improvement in the critique. I have never had one of my songs forwarded on one of these so-called, "high bar" listings. I have all but given up submitting material to them. It seems that if you submit anything other than a guaranteed instant hit, it's coming back.Thanks, Dan

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by nknjmes » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:26 am

I know the feeling too. I've had songs oppositely critiqued for similar listings, and when one of them was forwarded for a "high bar" listing, I was stunned. The first critique thought the lyrics needed more specifics, while the second critique thought the lyrics were great and was a main reason for being forwarded. It's going to happen, so it's best to submit songs, get some critiques, and gauge it from there.

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by davewalton » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:22 pm

Generally, I go with the majority and I don't overanalyze what they're saying. I'm asking myself if there are any suggestions overall that I can take to heart on my next attempt. For example, can I write a new song where the distinction between the verse and chorus is more prominant or interesting than my last song? Usually the answer is "yes". It's obviously subjective but I try to remember that other people are getting forwarded for the same listing that I'm getting returned for. They have no complaints about the reviewer, either for forwarding their song or knowing that other songs are getting rejected. I've never seen a post that said they were angry because their song was forwarded and didn't deserve it. I mentioned in an earlier post that if, on average, 11% of songs are forwarded then 89% are being returned. That's not a negative reflection on the returned songs but a positive reflection of the songs that were forwarded. It's a reflection of a competitive industry outside of Taxi. Maybe it's a Jedi mind-trick but I think it's more productive to work toward a goal than complain about an outcome. I try to use the big picture, as a whole, to improve my music and I try not to sweat the details (easier said than done). Dave

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by horacejesse » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:26 pm

One of these days a submission of mine will accidentally fall into the forward basket and I will be heard by the listing party. Big organizations make mistakes all the time. If I wait long enough this mistake will happen. So far I have had only one forward. That was not a high bar listing. But almost everything I have submitted to is high-bar. I will talk about why some other time.For the curious at heart: I have had one meager forward in seventeen tries. Don't they know who I am? Yes, Iam afraid they do.Cheers

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by matto » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:29 pm

Quote:Hey All,Here's an example: My wife Amy has a song out there where on several listing critiques screeners have forwarded it, as well as given it 8's & 9's all the way up and down. In the comments everything about the song was pretty much perfect and it was ready for radio and such. Yet on another, totally separate listing critique, THE VERY SAME SONG was given 5's & 6's and the reviewer called for major revisions and had all kinds of suggestions about lyrical content and whatnot. Dan you kind of answered your own question with your post further down. If the listing is real high bar, a good song won't do. So the screener will give you lower marks and suggest ways the song could be improved. If it's a lower bar listing the same song may get forwarded and earn higher marks.Quote:As a submitter of material to TAXI, I want to get good reviews. I like the ones that are putting 8's and 9's on their critiques. But are they just blowing smoke up my bunghole? And if I get a review that's giving 5's & 6's and basically says, "Rework this," for the same songs where elsewhere I'm getting 8's & 9's, whose report am I going to believe? I believe in what I do - so I'm probably going to lean towards the positive critique.Nobody is blowing smoke up your...uhm...assets; different "standards" exist for different listings, depending on the intended use/application of the listing party. I only make changes to my songs based on critiques if a) I completely agree with a screener's suggestion and believe it will make the song stronger, or b) if several screeners point out the same "flaw" in one of my songs.Quote:Also, what if, because of this inconsistency, I choose to ignore the more negative critiques, and then submit the same song to a similar listing and the same, negative critique screener is screening? That screener is going to think, "This guy did not change a darn thing about this tune! Return!" Yet, he/she is probably not going to realize that I'm submitting to these listings based on the belief that the song is strong because of other positive TAXI reviews…In that case, it seems like I may have wasted my five dollars. I really think you are overthinking this...these screeners listen to a TON of material and won't remember specifics about a song they screened some time ago...it might sound vaguely familiar to them perhaps but that's about it. And every submission gets listened to in the context of that listing, nothing gets "automatically" rejected cause you decided not to take a screener's advice. These screeners are not idiots, they are very familiar with the creative process and understand that their suggestions are just "food for thought".Quote:Maybe someone has already written about this? Sorry if I am repeating what someone else has already said.Yeah this comes up about once a month...if you do a search you might find some other interesting thoughts and opinions on the topic .matto

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Re: Inconsistent Reviews...

Post by danhazer » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:59 pm

Quote:I really think you are overthinking this...these screeners listen to a TON of material and won't remember specifics about a song they screened some time ago...it might sound vaguely familiar to them perhaps but that's about it. I beg to differ with you about this. At last years Road Rally, there was an A&R guy there (what company he worked for I cannot recall, but it was a major) who used to be a screener and he complained about this very thing in front of 3000 TAXI members. He said, and I paraphrase, "I'd give all kinds of thoughtful insight about how to make the submitters song better and then a month or two later, I'd hear it again and it would be exactly the same as it was before; completely unchanged. Didn't he take anything from the critique?"So that tells me that they do remember what they listen to. Or at least this guy does...Thanks,Dan

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