Clarification on Dispatch

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Clarification on Dispatch

Post by admin » Fri May 02, 2014 1:21 pm

Hi all,

I answered a question about Dispatch on the General Hangout Forum, but thought it would be a good idea to post it here as well. Sorry, it's so long, but I think it's worth the time it takes to read! -- ML

Hi Jfiegen,

Here’s the scoop on Dispatch. This is going to be long read, but I think it’s worth it. Thanks for asking about why Dispatch costs more, and giving me a reason to get off my butt to respond.

When we started TAXI more than 20 years ago, we typically published about 30 listings per month. Over time, that number has risen to 100 “regular” listings a month.

About 10 years ago, we started getting calls from music supervisors who heard about TAXI and needed music much faster than our normal (back then) 30, 60, or sometimes even 90 day turnaround times. To handle the extra listing intake time and expense, “emergency” screening (which is often quite a hard to coordinate), quick turnaround on the outbound music to the supes, and quicker responses to members, we needed to hire an extra staff person who was at higher level than our normal administrative staff.

That person had to be able to essentially run a small company within the company, and to handle the work of what would normally be the jobs of three people, albeit on a smaller scale. We surveyed a group of members, explained what we were doing, and asked them if they liked the idea and if they would be willing to pay extra.

The answer was “yes,” and the members who weren’t interested liked the idea that they didn’t have to pay for it if they didn’t want it. And they REALLY liked the idea that we didn’t raise the price of the overall TAXI membership to pay for that extra person, the office space needed, the extra benefits for that person, computer, etc. You get the idea!

Dispatch was an instant hit, and about 10% of our members signed up for it. They loved it as the people asking for music were often more “desperate.” We found that to be the case with supervisors, and eventually libraries that quickly started to use Dispatch as well.

The libraries often used Dispatch to find music (mostly instrumentals) that they didn’t have on hand when a certain type of request hit their doorstep, and they didn’t have enough (if any) of the right thing to pitch. In the end, Dispatch was loved by the members making mostly Instrumental music and the people who needed it quickly.

In fact, as our more veteran members will tell you, the number of signings and placements resulting from Dispatch listings was higher – we think it’s because of the “desperation factor.”

As time marched forward, the Film and TV side of the industry began to demand quicker turnarounds in general, so about 4 years ago, we began running what we internally call “special listings.” The cost to service all those special listings skyrocketed on our end. Now, at least 3 staffers dedicate much of their time to doing listing intake, clarifying what the end users really need (which is harder than you might think!), writing the listings, re-writing the listings, proofing the listings, getting the screeners assigned to meet the short deadlines, doing fast turnarounds to get the music in the hands of the end users, etc., etc.

I would estimate that we’ve added at least $100,000/yr. in overhead to bring those listings to you, and get the music back to the industry. But in 20 years, we’ve never raised the price of TAXI, even though our members now get about 90 MORE opportunities per month than they used to get for the same $299 per year.

We’ve thought about getting rid of Dispatch and raising the over all price of TAXI, but a survey of a sample group of members told us that most people wanted to the price to stay the same, and the people who wanted Dispatch were happy to pay the pro-rated 43 cents a day to get the Dispatch listings, so we’ve left it as an a la carte service.

Frankly, we don’t market it very heavily because we find that new members who haven’t yet figured out how to hit targets well probably won’t benefit from it as much as more senior members who pitch more effectively due to their experience and learning.

We often tell members to wait until they’re “more in the saddle” before they try Dispatch. We also recommend that maybe they should just try it for the last few months of their membership year so it doesn’t cost them much to give it a test drive (pun intended).

We tend to pick the listings that go out through Dispatch based on what we think are best suited to the TYPE of members who join Dispatch. Those members are typically more Instrumental cue writers/producers who really “get” that side of the business. Some Dispatch listings are in fact for songs, but more often than not, they’re Instrumental-based.

We still see posts like this: http://forums.taxi.com/topic127416.html confirming that Dispatch is effective and loved by the members who choose to upgrade.

So, in the end, I would personally like to raise the price of TAXI to $350/yr. for everybody to help offset the big spike in overhead we’ve seen during the last 4 years of adding about 30 MORE “special” listings per month, on top of the normal batch of 100 per month, which is about 433% more listings than we used to put out for the same $299 per year that our members used to get back in the day.

But feedback from members tells me that’s not a popular idea ;-) There are very few services or products that give you 433% more than what used to be offered for the same price you paid 20 years ago. Not to mention that renewing members – even with a full year of Dispatch – get the whole enchilada for just $350, and that includes two passes to the Road Rally, TAXI TV, and lots of other personal care that you won’t find elsewhere.

My advice: If you’ve been a member for at least 6 months, and you’re getting some forwards, and you tend to pitch Instrumentals, consider trying Dispatch. At 43 cents per day, it’s pretty cheap thrill. If you’re still not getting a decent amount of forwards, and you don’t primarily pitch Instrumentals, it’s probably not a good investment.

Thanks again for asking the question, and for taking the time to read this “book” I just wrote ;-)

One last thought: We’ve recently seen a much more steady flow of great Dispatch listings. And really good ones to boot! As a result of that, one of our members called to thank me the other day, and suggested that we move the additional 30 quick turnaround listings over to Dispatch and charge more for the upgrade, while giving Dispatch members a TON of value for their extra investment.

His logic was that the members who are most productive and prolific benefit most from the fast turnaround listings, and he felt those members would pay more for a larger batch that only they could submit to.

I’m curious to see how other members reading this feel about that.

Thanks again for reading this far!
Michael

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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by HectorRContreras » Sun May 04, 2014 6:28 am

Dear Michael,

Yes, I have read this in another Post, just a few days ago, and I found it very enlightening.
http://forums.taxi.com/topic127885.html
Your "clarifications" always feel good as they are well structured, well written, ... and they make great sense indeed !

Hector was into Dispatch. He had paid the fee.
But Hector had been recently caught up in such difficulties in his life, that I was the one who kept the focus, and worked hard at TAXI, for both of us.
Hector and I we communicated several times a day, and we exchanged a lot on our Music.

Dispatch offered very interesting Listings.
I found myself attracted by Listings that were more often than not a Dispatch Listing.

As a newbie, I found it extremely difficult to come up with an excellent Musical Composition within a few days only.
But I did it. Exhausted after that I was ! :o :shock: :? :)

Now, I know that things can be done differently, it comes with experience.

It comes from sharing here at the TAXI Forum, and from ... watching TAXI Ustream TV !! :lol: :D
By the way, we cannot wait to be with Richard Dance, at TAXI Ustream TV, on Monday the 19th of May, 4pm, Pacific Time.
It is going to be jolly good indeed.
We wish Richard an excellent stay in California. He is going to be very happily busy with many of his good TAXI Friends, etc ...

Warm Regards dear Michael.

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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by Russell Landwehr » Sun May 04, 2014 12:59 pm

admin wrote: One last thought: We’ve recently seen a much more steady flow of great Dispatch listings. And really good ones to boot! As a result of that, one of our members called to thank me the other day, and suggested that we move the additional 30 quick turnaround listings over to Dispatch and charge more for the upgrade, while giving Dispatch members a TON of value for their extra investment.

His logic was that the members who are most productive and prolific benefit most from the fast turnaround listings, and he felt those members would pay more for a larger batch that only they could submit to.

I’m curious to see how other members reading this feel about that.

Thanks again for reading this far!
Michael
The current setup and distribution of listings is working well for me.

I just recently upgraded to Dispatch when I saw listings that I felt I could meet. Previously, I hadn't upgraded because there were too few Dispatch listings, and the ones that DID come through didn't mesh with my focus.

One benefit of moving the quick turnaround listings into Dispatch would make Dispatch seem more "exclusive." Having a lot quick turnaround listings available to the standard membership kinda makes the money spent on a Dispatch upgrade seem like we are only getting half of what we paid for. (just what it seems like, not what it is in reality I presume) I remember some members commenting on this back when the Dispatch listings were a bit thin and the general quick turnaround listings seemed plentiful.

However... (you had to know there was a "however")... The quantity and variety of Dispatch listings have certainly improved lately. As a Dispatch "member" I feel like I'm getting good bang for my buck since I can STILL submit to the quick turnaround listings in the general populace while there are plenty of varied Dispatch listings.

And part two of "however," I wonder how cost prohibitive Dispatch would become by moving the quick turnarounds into Dispatch and upping the price of Dispatch. Increasing the price while not assuring an increase in certain genres would be a negative ROI for some people.

Yeah, a lot of words to say (again)... The current setup and distribution of listings is working well for me.

Russell Landwehr
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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by admin » Mon May 05, 2014 8:35 am

I think there was a period during which libraries were concentrating so heavily on finding songs, that they drifted away from looking for instrumentals. Using songs was the "new, shiny thing." However, as cable channels and reality TV show grew like wildfire, libraries found that there was a growing need for fresh types of instrumentals, not just the stale orchestral stuff they'd stockpiled over the last two decades.

Who would have ever thought there would be a day when twangy acoustic, Indie Pop, and Hip Hop instrumentals would be more in demand than orchestral cues?

In any case, I think libraries are finding themselves in need of freshening up their catalogs, and oftentimes for specific shows, pitches, and deadlines they need to meet. Hence, the increased interest in Dispatch.

Anecdotally, I think we DO see a higher number of deals and placements from Dispatch listings. Not sure if it's that more experienced and serious members tend to upgrade to Dispatch, the urgency factor, or a combo of both. BTW, if I had to predict a genre that might see some increased demand, I think it could be orchestral/electro hybrids that could work for action adventure film trailers. Just a guess, but it makes sense. Tons of it being used, and I'd bet that most libraries don't have much because it's easier and faster to make "gator show" cues.

Michael
Last edited by admin on Mon May 05, 2014 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Typo

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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by jonnybutter » Mon May 12, 2014 4:39 pm

I always end up buying into Dispatch, and I think it's a great deal the way it is. Glad it's been a lot more active lately!

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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by ronnie35 » Mon May 26, 2014 6:10 pm

An Interesting read I have been with Taxi a few years now. I am very pleased with Taxi. I don't know if I am ready for Dispatch I am still honing my skills as a writer , recording and a music business person. I attend the road rallys and try to get feedback from my songs on the forum. i also watch Taxi TV I just don't produce songs that quick. I bleive I will be there in a year.

Ron
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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by mobster85 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:24 pm

Leave it as is. I am getting ready tojoin Dispatch because i feel that there is a new listing that i feel i have à shot at. That being said there have been other Dispatch listings in which i would have submitted something in thé past. Now i will be able to. Im pretty excited about it because Im getting more forwards and the listings have been more in my wheelhouse. I have Also made some attempts to target some styles and found out i have à knack for them Too.

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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by guitargurumike » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:27 am

I'm quite happy with all of it. TAXI is a smokin deal any way you slice it IF YOU USE IT.

I just joined Dispatch this year after I got a little more time, experience, and speed at producing (i.e. to a deadline).

The regular listings were no longer keeping me busy enough, but now I'm up to my ears after joining Dispatch.

Lotsa opp's for instrumental producers.

Thanks,
Michael
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Re: Clarification on Dispatch

Post by ComposerLDG » Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:29 am

Upgrading to Dispatch was the next best thing I did after joining Taxi, which was the first best thing. :) I like the fast turnaround time and the types of listing. It's mostly instrumental music, which is what I do, and I love working under a tight deadline. I will be renewing Dispatch when it's time.
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