Can You Help Me Out?

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DexterTragic
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Can You Help Me Out?

Postby DexterTragic » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:25 pm

Hi Taxi Folks,

My name is Ed James, and I’ve been a TAXI member for about 2 years. I’ve had a decent amount of success getting forwards over the past couple of years. I’ve even signed a few library deals. But, I have not made any money on the front or back-ends yet.

In 2017, I took a gamble and quit my IT job with a large U.S. bank, after 30 years, to be able to concentrate all of my efforts toward music. I now truly love what I do every day...creating instrumental production music. In the past year, I’ve been able to write and record over 100 cues.

However, as I mentioned above, I have yet to make any money…which is becoming both frustrating and worrisome. I was hoping you could take a listen to a few of my cues, and give me advice on what i need to do to start seeing some income. I’m happy to hear all constructive criticism/suggestions. I really do want to be successful at this, and I know that several of you are already on your way….and I would value any insight that you could share…whether it be about production, composition, my breath, deodorant, etc...

https://soundcloud.com/user-106853810/s ... 18/s-f5h1i

Thanks, in advance, for your time!

Ed
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby ttully » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:40 am

Hi Ed,

I listened to a bunch of your tracks.....

You have alot of very great ideas.
BUT
There is no EMOTION in them!!!!!! (that IS the problem ....right there)!!!


They are too quantized.... they are not lifelike...like a real musicians playing.
They kind of sound just like stuff put together....

Make sure to have different velocities for the staccato notes....
Make sure drum hits are not all the same and stiff.
Make sure stacked notes do not all start at the exact same time.....unless its EDM. Hip Hop..(etc.).
Vary the volumes of stuff....even the things in the background.

I could go on...but I think you get the picture!

I hope this helps you out,
Tim
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby pboss » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:35 am

Hi Ed,

I disagree with the "no emotion" comment above. I only listened quickly to three tracks, "Buena Vista" etc. These are totally marketable "positive" "corporate" type tracks, which can be popular on major network, too - they seem to love that "family" happy sound. Your dramedy track sound fine, and the swamp track seems fine, too.

I think the issue has to do with the fact the timeline and life cycle is longer than you may realize, to making any income, let alone "good" income. There are steps and milestones to hit, but they all do take time. Generally placements don't pay much on their own, but it's the aggregation of many, which then hopefully have repeat broadcasts even over years, which add up.

The milestones as you know are 1. getting forwards, 2 getting deals 3. making relationships in person (go to the Rally no matter what, if you're serious) 4. getting placements 5. building your catalog over time, and of course, to get paid for a placement takes at least 6-9 months.

Then there is the compounding effect of previous placements playing on repeat, which then add to your future royalty statements. The point is that you are totally on the right path, you can do it, but this is going to take years, not 12 months.

So, come up with a plan to compensate for your lack of income over the next at least 2-3 years somehow and you will get there, if you do not quit and if you are a person others would like to work with, and going to conferences like the Rally can help immensely.

Even with a day job, now that you have your studio together, and can produce the tracks, it's not that hard to do two tracks a week with a day job, yielding 100 tracks a year, which gives you the income you need and allows that timeline to take hold. You can set a goal of a minimum royalty check amount upon which you then quit a day job, theoretically. This is not advice for you specifically, but theoretically as a potential model or plan some have taken to moving from the day job to the FT studio. That said, those who I know who did that, were making 150-200 tracks in a year. It's a tough game and takes a significant amount of time.

Anyone wanting to make this a "business" should complete a business plan. Doing the business plan will ask for your expenses and income from the business, debt, and also projections into the future for next year, for example, based on what is happening this year. If the results of doing a business plan do not illustrate that you will be making a net gain on making music, then it's not a business (until it is a money-making business, if that's your goal). Meaning, for a person to quit a day job based on an assumption, but not on data might create problems, unless that person just has a lot of dough saved and doesn't care if they make a net gain over time. I was pretty clueless on this topic, and actually did find a free business plan tool online and completed it in 2016, after I had already been a Taxi member for some time.

That business plan completion process helped me to see the big picture, that the goal for me was to make money, cut expenses, and to look at the year over year percentage increases, and how that projects over time.

Good luck
Last edited by pboss on Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Patty Boss composes music for NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, Bravo, MTV, VH1, etc.

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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby ttully » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:17 am

Hey Pboss,

You are probably correct..... I am just SUPER critical of overly quantized orchestral stuff.... or tracks with not enough (in my opinion ....feeling).
Especially drum loops that do not change.
As you know.....some libraries or shows will not mind this....some will.


Aside from the 'music stuff'

I completely agree with you ....it is a tough game and getting tougher.
It very much is a numbers game.....the more tracks you have out there, the better.(obviously)

And as you know...this is not a get rich quick scheme.....it takes tons of hard work, and many times, a bit of luck!

Again my 2 cents,
Tim
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby andygabrys » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:40 pm

I listened and I heard a range of things that could be used.

Yes straight orchestral maybe isn't your strong point - but let's be honest - it isn't for most of us. The amount of finesse and cutting edge sound libraries plus actual writing, arranging and DAW production talent that it takes is beyond many.

The good news is there is a lot of other music that is significantly easier to produce, and as long as you are creating the "sound" that is needed, and your productions have a similar quality to stuff that is running on TV currently, then you have a good shot.

As Patty said:

The milestones as you know are 1. getting forwards, 2 getting deals 3. making relationships in person (go to the Rally no matter what, if you're serious) 4. getting placements 5. building your catalog over time, and of course, to get paid for a placement takes at least 6-9 months.


Of these items, the only ones you can really control are

3. going to the rally and 5. building your catalog over time

the other points are somewhat dependent on opportunity meets preparedness.


You cannot really influence a placement other than writing and producing excellent music that is usable in todays marketplace and actually have it signed to someone who works with that kind of music. If you do this, and you write a lot of this style, then chances are you will have many placements.
You cannot influence a forward other than writing and producing excellent music that is really on brief. Over time this will lead to many forwards.
You cannot influence getting a deal much other than writing and producing excellent music and doing a lot of it. Sure single songs are signed, but if you have 10 forwards in a particular genre sitting in the libraries hands, they may be more apt to sign you because you have a quantity of tracks.

So you see the common thread here?

Writing and producing a high quantity of excellent music is what you can control.

I would focus on one kind of cue, get a few together and target listings for those cues. I would start with Swamp Thing and Muddy the Waters. Or start with all the positive corporate sounding stuff. That's got a big market.
I would make sure the mixes of these were approximately the same brightness, apparent volume etc. So they sound like they came from the same CD. Right now across the suite of tunes you have there are some fairly big shifts in apparent volume and brightness - some of this is genre dependent for sure, but check out the library holdings from some of the mega big libraries (big big name that you can find on the web) across various genres and listen for the consistency of their productions.
I would ask for feedback on Peer to Peer by posting the listing with ref links and your WIP tracks.
Keep it going making tracks and getting feedback and revising.

Write
Submit
Forget
Repeat

and save some $$$ so you can focus on building relationships (like the Rally) and getting necessary gear and software. It might be a long lean period.

Over time it will come around.
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby DexterTragic » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:21 am

To All,

Thanks so much for taking the time to listen and respond. You have all given me great advice that I'll definitely take to heart. I really do want to make this my career, and I know it's going to take time. I have learned so much in the past year...but, I have so far to go.

I attended the Taxi Rally last November, and I feel like it jump-started this thing....I'm planning to go again this year. I do need to get better at networking...I'm terrible at it.

Thanks again. I really do appreciate it!!!

Ed
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby ttully » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:53 pm

Hey Ed,
If you really want to make it your career, then it WILL be your career.
Just keep going....no matter what anyone says....including me!

My LAST piece of advise....A/B your tracks to similar tracks, in the TOP music libraries....like Andy said.
Also, listen to the bass and sub bass in alot of genres... this is very important and often overlooked.

My last 2 cents,
Tim
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby DexterTragic » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:54 am

Tim,

That's great advice...I do need to more closely A/B my stuff with a big libraries.

Thanks again,

Ed
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby Paulie » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:39 pm

So much excellent advice from wise veterans here. THIS is what makes Taxi great. :)

I want to re-emphasize that this is a numbers game. Volume (quantity, not dB) is an absolutely must if you want to make any sort of livable income doing this. Figure out a financial goal, then backwards engineer how to get there. Decide how much you want to earn each quarter (because royalty statements are quarterly), then figure out the genres that can bring you the most success.

For example, if a placement on a tv show yields you $50, how many placements do you need to reach your quarterly financial target? TONS of variables involved, but that's the basic concept. I've done the math based on real data and it takes a lot of effort and TIME to reach the goal of living on PRO income. But if you have the passion and work ethic you can certainly do it!

There is a concept around Taxi called "the five year plan." At first you don't make anything, then the numbers start to increase. NO guarantees, but there are plenty of success stories floating around this very forum. I've educated my wife about the five year plan and she has been incredibly patient and supportive as I work my way into year four of this. A reality check to keep in mind: the industry is changing, it has become even more competitive.

Do what you love and keep working!

Paul
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Re: Can You Help Me Out?

Postby DexterTragic » Sat Aug 18, 2018 9:33 pm

Thanks for the advice Paul. I am going to keep at it, write a bunch more, and make this thing happen. At least, that's the plan!

Ed

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