Help I'm Confused

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Marty
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Help I'm Confused

Post by Marty » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:33 pm

I’m new to submitting music to music libraries and new to Taxi. I’m trying to find my way and figure out what is actually requested in the listing. There seems a discrepancy between the reference material and the body of the listing description as to what is required.

As an example I recently submitted to a country rock instrumental cues listing S200711CR. I can see the first mistake I made was thinking this was a cue or an instrumental, rather than just cues that are wholly instrumental. Cues are all new to me and I wrote my piece as an instrumental that could be broken into cues as TV editors wanted. I have no clue if this is what happens to the music once the editors get it, but I figured they must cut it down to slots of a few seconds and I wrote the piece in sections where it would be easy to do this.

The listing didn’t have instrumental references just vocal country (country rock) songs. This was hard to figure out as we are not comparing apples to apples. I guess just the sound and feel is what they are after. The gist of the listing was:

Construct your cues around a central melodic theme, adding and subtracting layers of instrumentations to create dynamics, interest, and sense of forward motion. 90 seconds to 2 minutes long in duration.

Okay. I get to work and think I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I have an intro, and central theme and I layer a few guitars in unison and harmony. I have a bridge and repeat. It’s 2 minutes 14 seconds long. To me it sounds like country rock. Power chord backing and country pentatonic riff guitar over the top. I left lots of bits where edits could take place and made the sections very different from each other.

My feedback was: Needs a stronger groove and a more country rock approach and I need to trim 15 or 30 seconds off of the piece. I need a more country pop / country rock vibe and a more modern approach.

Okay cool. It sounds like country rock to me but what do I know? It is too long, I guess they are not kidding when they give a time limit. A stronger groove. What does that actually mean? It seems as subjective as the definition of swing, but again what do I know? I’m not sure what is meant by a more modern approach? I’m new to recording and realize I have a lot to learn about that side of it and I’m thinking it must not sound modern. Okay back to the drawing board.

A few days later I listen to the cues that were forwarded to that listing.

They sound great. I close my eyes and can imagine them in Pawn Stars or similar TV programs being played as Chumlee drives across the desert in an offroader. The problem is, of the four I could listen to none of them had a central melody and very little or no layering. All of them sounded like a backing track with the melody (vocal) removed. Basically a chord progression. One sounded very similar to ZZ Top and one sounded very similar to U2 not county rock.

My questions is, what is required? Of the songs that were forwarded only two sounded kind of like the references but did not do what the listing asked, and two did not sound like the references or do what the listing asked. I’m confused. I think I have the ability to write what Taxi’s customers want, but I need a better understanding of how to interpret the listings. Apologies for the very long post.

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cosmicdolphin
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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:50 am

Post up the listing, the references and then your track. Then we might be able to shed some light.

Mark

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by Marty » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:58 am

Hi Mark, this is the original listing

https://www.taxi.com/listings/S200711CR

Here are the forwards

https://blog.taxi.com/forward/072820/

This is my Taxi page. I submitted the second song "Mudhoggin' "

https://www.taxi.com/my/artist

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by AlanHall » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:11 am

Marty wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:58 am
Hi Mark, this is the original listing

https://www.taxi.com/listings/S200711CR

Here are the forwards

https://blog.taxi.com/forward/072820/

This is my Taxi page. I submitted the second song "Mudhoggin' "

https://www.taxi.com/my/artist
Not your taxi page. Try "www dot taxi dot com/members/<whatever your data is >". the link above takes each artist to their own page.

As a newbie myself, I feel your frustration and have asked essentially the same questions. Part of it is learning to 'hear' with screener ears, and part of it is becoming immersed in the body of work that reflects what the listing is asking for. Going to the forwards page is definitely a smart move for that, congrats!

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by Marty » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:00 pm

Hopefully this is better.

https://www.taxi.com/listings/S200711CR

Here are the forwards

https://blog.taxi.com/forward/072820/

This is my Taxi page. I submitted the first song "Mudhoggin' "

https://www.taxi.com/members/martynpopey

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by cassmcentee » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:54 pm

I just listened to a little bit of "Mudhoggin"
You are headed in the right direction as far as composing Cues!
This is what I heard:
Playing is a bit too sloppy (It has to be TIGHT)
Drum programming isn't tailored to include Edit points (For example, your First pause could have been a break/full stop)
Biggest problem = The Mix
Seemed like everything was stacked on top of eachother, like a Mono Mix, that won't cut it, what the screener means by Modern
Keep on Truckin'

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by gitanosoy » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:58 pm

The timing os off right from the start ..the riffs /chords don't line up with the beat.

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by cosmicdolphin » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:55 am

OKay

First things first your mix was way quieter than the forwarded tracks I listened to, your tracks need to be mastered to commercial type volume levels to fly. Second thing as mentioned by the other folk your guitar is really sloppy and out of time, that's never going to get forwarded . I don't know what the issue is, I hope it's some sort of latency thing going on with you and not your own sense of rhythm at fault.

Thirdly the mix /production is not good enough , the drums lack presence and punch , the guitar is very up front and I also don't think the composition and sounds used have that Country Rock feel. I had a quick listen to your other cues and they all sounds like something from the 60's , a bit like The Shadows or something that I remember from my Mom's record collection. I don't know if they were written for specific listings or these are just pieces of music you created before you joined but they are lacking in production and tightness of playing at the moment for some reason.

There's some good cues in the Forwards Blog, I would take time to study them a little and a/b them against your own track and see if you can work on your craft to get closer next time.

Mark

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by Marty » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:29 pm

Thanks a lot guys. That's some really good feedback

Cass, you have nailed it. everything I have recorded is in mono. As I said I'm new to recording and totally missed that. Most of what I listen to was recorded before stereo was invented. I guess my ears are so accustomed to that. You have articulated what no screener has. I have been told they don't sound modern with no explanation, that's it. The screener complimented me on the guitar parts? no mention of sloppy playing etc. Maybe he was trying give me something positive.

I have also had rejections of pieces where I was told it was over quantized and I hadn't quantized anything and used a real snare drum.

Mark, I'm just getting my head around mastering and mastering volume levels. Yes, the 60's things were written for surf instrumentals request and all rejected because they didn't have a modern surf sound. Which I guess is stereo. All the tracks are mono. what makes a modern surf tune different from one recorded in the 60's?

As I said, the cues forwarded sounded great but: Where is the melody in the forwarded cues? Where is the layering? If I played them to you and asked you what they were wouldn't you say they were backing tracks? Does the word melody mean something else nowadays?

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Re: Help I'm Confused

Post by Horacemix » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:57 pm

Marty wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:33 pm
I’m new to submitting music to music libraries and new to Taxi. I’m trying to find my way and figure out what is actually requested in the listing. There seems a discrepancy between the reference material and the body of the listing description as to what is required.

As an example I recently submitted to a country rock instrumental cues listing S200711CR. I can see the first mistake I made was thinking this was a cue or an instrumental, rather than just cues that are wholly instrumental. Cues are all new to me and I wrote my piece as an instrumental that could be broken into cues as TV editors wanted. I have no clue if this is what happens to the music once the editors get it, but I figured they must cut it down to slots of a few seconds and I wrote the piece in sections where it would be easy to do this.

The listing didn’t have instrumental references just vocal country (country rock) songs. This was hard to figure out as we are not comparing apples to apples. I guess just the sound and feel is what they are after. The gist of the listing was:

Construct your cues around a central melodic theme, adding and subtracting layers of instrumentations to create dynamics, interest, and sense of forward motion. 90 seconds to 2 minutes long in duration.

Okay. I get to work and think I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I have an intro, and central theme and I layer a few guitars in unison and harmony. I have a bridge and repeat. It’s 2 minutes 14 seconds long. To me it sounds like country rock. Power chord backing and country pentatonic riff guitar over the top. I left lots of bits where edits could take place and made the sections very different from each other.

My feedback was: Needs a stronger groove and a more country rock approach and I need to trim 15 or 30 seconds off of the piece. I need a more country pop / country rock vibe and a more modern approach.

Okay cool. It sounds like country rock to me but what do I know? It is too long, I guess they are not kidding when they give a time limit. A stronger groove. What does that actually mean? It seems as subjective as the definition of swing, but again what do I know? I’m not sure what is meant by a more modern approach? I’m new to recording and realize I have a lot to learn about that side of it and I’m thinking it must not sound modern. Okay back to the drawing board.

A few days later I listen to the cues that were forwarded to that listing.

They sound great. I close my eyes and can imagine them in Pawn Stars or similar TV programs being played as Chumlee drives across the desert in an offroader. The problem is, of the four I could listen to none of them had a central melody and very little or no layering. All of them sounded like a backing track with the melody (vocal) removed. Basically a chord progression. One sounded very similar to ZZ Top and one sounded very similar to U2 not county rock.

My questions is, what is required? Of the songs that were forwarded only two sounded kind of like the references but did not do what the listing asked, and two did not sound like the references or do what the listing asked. I’m confused. I think I have the ability to write what Taxi’s customers want, but I need a better understanding of how to interpret the listings. Apologies for the very long post.
Hi:
Well, I don't want to sound complaining BUT... If I had to do a critique of the TAXI system is that they should make the effort to use instrumental references for instrumental listing requests. Just as simple as that. If they want to have more and better submissions, when asking for instrumentals and cue, the references must be clean and clear. No dialogue upon it (unless they need to illustrate how a background track doesn't interfere with the dialogue) no vocals and so on. If a song with vocals is a source of inspiration for its instrumental parts, then they should point out which are those parts and why.

This is my second year as a TAXI member and I'm still struggling to figure out how to use references with vocals to think of cues and instrumentals.
You know, the common doubts like, is it too much melody or not enough?

Regards!
Observation is the raw material for creation...
https://soundcloud.com/horacemix

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