Road Rally Feedback

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Robertj64
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Road Rally Feedback

Post by Robertj64 » Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:34 pm

Hey All,

I am happy that we got to hear from various people on the forum and the chat during the RR give off positive vibes about their experience. There seems to be a favorable response which is great.

Because of my limited time, my experience was viewing a few panels and a few other segments which I enjoyed. I thought all of the guests/experts were entertaining and provided a wealth of information. There was a good spirit in the chat room so I think the Road Rally set out what it was supposed to - to offer its customers value in competing in the music sync market. A secretive, behind the scenes market is suddenly a bit more knowable thanks to the Road Rally.

My only other comments have to do with how the panels were run. This has less to do with the actual content (again very helpful) and more to do with structure:

1) Time Limits

This is a major one. There is only 75 minutes and songs are pulled out of a vat of 400 songs. Obviously, there is no chance that anywhere near all of the songs are going to be covered. Taxi did well to relegate the remainder of the songs to its screeners. Good move! The structure on the panels has to be tightened up though. The songs were not reviewed equally. There should be a format that is employed where each chosen song gets equal treatment. A timer could be used. One could use a verse and a chorus before fading the song. I would not stifle the feedback but I would be mindful of the time. Perhaps a goal could be to do a set number of songs....like 20 for example.

2) Genres

I found that in each of the panels of the road rally, some genres were simply over-represented. One suggestion around this would be to compose a list of say 30 songs that have a variety of genres. You can do this by choosing a random 40 songs and then whittling it down to 20 or 25 by taking out the over-representation of certain genres. This would give a nice impression to the visiting panelists that Taxi offers more diverse music...which it does. There was virtually no representation of Contemporary Pop or Dance. EDM is increasingly in demand by music supervisors simply because it is the sound of today.

3) Favoritism-Free

I want to express this from a purely business point of view. The submitters are Taxi members who are paying for the chance for their songs to be heard. Customers always like to feel they are treated special but more importantly with fairness. Everyone in the first panel was really amazed at Debbie Ward's entry and she totally got the praise she deserved. Her song was played at full length during the first panel. At the second panel, the last five minutes were given to her song which was played to the panelist in its entirety again. This was at the expense of possibility of one other Taxi member being heard. I completely saw the support and praise that came out of the chat room but there were 400 viewers of that channel. Who knows how many customers were frustrated by that decision to play the song again when another one could be heard. This absolutely could have been worked out behind the scenes afterwards. Taxi's many screeners and contacts could have been consulted on this special song but not during a panel. You want to make sure that all of your customers are satisfied, not to feel second rate or pushed aside. Customers will leave in droves if they see favoritism and one will never know because they don't announce it with the same exuberance as those with praise, if at all.

These points I make should in no way take away from the hard working effort given by Michael and the rest of the Taxi gang. Like many others, I was sad that the real Road Rally had to be canned due to COVID. I am very appreciative for the valiant efforts by all who made this event a success.

Cheers!
Robert

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by ktingmusic » Tue Nov 10, 2020 12:13 am

I had a great time at the Road Rally (my first time) but I totally agree with all your points. Always room for improvement! :)

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by admin » Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:39 am

My answers are in bold below, although the bold isn't ALL that bold ;-)
Robertj64 wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:34 pm
Hey All,

I am happy that we got to hear from various people on the forum and the chat during the RR give off positive vibes about their experience. There seems to be a favorable response which is great.

Because of my limited time, my experience was viewing a few panels and a few other segments which I enjoyed. I thought all of the guests/experts were entertaining and provided a wealth of information. There was a good spirit in the chat room so I think the Road Rally set out what it was supposed to - to offer its customers value in competing in the music sync market. A secretive, behind the scenes market is suddenly a bit more knowable thanks to the Road Rally.

My only other comments have to do with how the panels were run. This has less to do with the actual content (again very helpful) and more to do with structure:

1) Time Limits

This is a major one. There is only 75 minutes and songs are pulled out of a vat of 400 songs. Obviously, there is no chance that anywhere near all of the songs are going to be covered. Taxi did well to relegate the remainder of the songs to its screeners. Good move! The structure on the panels has to be tightened up though. The songs were not reviewed equally. There should be a format that is employed where each chosen song gets equal treatment. A timer could be used. One could use a verse and a chorus before fading the song. I would not stifle the feedback but I would be mindful of the time. Perhaps a goal could be to do a set number of songs....like 20 for example.

75 minutes is chosen based on 23 years of prior experience in watching how long the audience stays engaged, how long the panelists stay engaged, and being mindful that the panelists are giving us their time, so we have to respect that. We want them to feel good about the panel, and not dread doing one again in future years.

We tried a timer more than a dozen years ago on a listening panel and the audience in the ballroom booed it when it cut off great songs or songs that felt like not enough was heard to judge well. Sometimes the panelists need more time to see if the song/track develops. Sometimes it's a great example of where the bar is set and you want to hear more. We've tried just a verse and chorus, but get emails after the Rally that say, "But they didn't hear the bridge!"

Sadly, we can't please everybody all the time. Prior to going live, we tell the panelists to raise their hands or give a nod when they've heard enough. I watch for their cues to guide the fade, but it's hard to tell if they forgot to cue me or they're still interested and want to keep listening. It WAS harder to gauge when the panelists had heard enough in the virtual setting VS in the physical ballroom. I watch for cues (writing of notes, them looking at me, as if to say, "We've heard enough"), but that was harder without the benefit of looking at them in the ballroom.

I know this won't "sound good" in print, so know that it's not intended to be sarcastic: How would you feel if we told screeners to use a 45 second timer when listening to submissions to listings? Our mandate to our A&R team is to listen to at least the bridge, so they've hard all elements. Don't submissions to the Rally panels deserve the same treatment?

If listening to an instrumental track, don't we (and the panelists) want to see if it builds and has a stinger ending?


2) Genres

I found that in each of the panels of the road rally, some genres were simply over-represented. One suggestion around this would be to compose a list of say 30 songs that have a variety of genres. You can do this by choosing a random 40 songs and then whittling it down to 20 or 25 by taking out the over-representation of certain genres. This would give a nice impression to the visiting panelists that Taxi offers more diverse music...which it does. There was virtually no representation of Contemporary Pop or Dance. EDM is increasingly in demand by music supervisors simply because it is the sound of today.

For argument's sake, how many EDMs should be played? How about Country? How about Death Metal? How about AfroBeat, Gospel, Romani, Kelzmer, Holiday, Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Americana, New Age, etc., etc.? You get the idea... We do our best to be egalitarian, and there's no way to do that if we're deciding which genres get played and which don't., and which songs FROM each of those genres GETS played. Which ones do we take OFF the list? Somebody will always feel cheated in the process. Choosing randomly is the only way to do that, and we never know what form that will take. There were a lot of the same this year, and other years it's the opposite.

As far as the panelists leaving with an impression based on the genres they heard. Don't worry about that - not even a little bit! Virtually all of them get music from TAXI on a regular basis, and they love what they get. They know the music on panels is randomly chosen, and not representative of what they'd get running listings with TAXI. Frankly, I think several of them commented about how great the quality of the music they get from TAXI is really strong, and our members keep getting better every year. You would have had to watch all the panels to hear all those comments.



3) Favoritism-Free

I want to express this from a purely business point of view. The submitters are Taxi members who are paying for the chance for their songs to be heard. Customers always like to feel they are treated special but more importantly with fairness. Everyone in the first panel was really amazed at Debbie Ward's entry and she totally got the praise she deserved. Her song was played at full length during the first panel. At the second panel, the last five minutes were given to her song which was played to the panelist in its entirety again. This was at the expense of possibility of one other Taxi member being heard. I completely saw the support and praise that came out of the chat room but there were 400 viewers of that channel. Who knows how many customers were frustrated by that decision to play the song again when another one could be heard. This absolutely could have been worked out behind the scenes afterwards. Taxi's many screeners and contacts could have been consulted on this special song but not during a panel. You want to make sure that all of your customers are satisfied, not to feel second rate or pushed aside. Customers will leave in droves if they see favoritism and one will never know because they don't announce it with the same exuberance as those with praise, if at all.

I knew some people would be upset, feeling like they we cheated out of THEIR chance by me playing that one 4 minute song twice during 25 hours of broadcasting. I made the decision because it pointed up a REALLY big thing I want every TAXI member to know: You can have the greatest song in the world, but sometimes the market isn't there, or the number of times something like that is needed is really tiny. We all loved that song and were super impressed, but alas, it's a tough pitch.

I decided to make that point, knowing that the one song NOT played would ALSO have a chance of being sent to the panelists after the Rally. That's why we DO that.


These points I make should in no way take away from the hard working effort given by Michael and the rest of the Taxi gang. Like many others, I was sad that the real Road Rally had to be canned due to COVID. I am very appreciative for the valiant efforts by all who made this event a success.

Thank you! It was incredibly hard to pull off 25 hours of live broadcasting (plus the Prequels), and we did our level best to make it the best it could possibly be.

Cheers!
Robert

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by Robertj64 » Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:21 am

admin wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:39 am
My answers are in bold below, although the bold isn't ALL that bold ;-)
Robertj64 wrote:
Mon Nov 09, 2020 6:34 pm
Hey All,

I am happy that we got to hear from various people on the forum and the chat during the RR give off positive vibes about their experience. There seems to be a favorable response which is great.

Because of my limited time, my experience was viewing a few panels and a few other segments which I enjoyed. I thought all of the guests/experts were entertaining and provided a wealth of information. There was a good spirit in the chat room so I think the Road Rally set out what it was supposed to - to offer its customers value in competing in the music sync market. A secretive, behind the scenes market is suddenly a bit more knowable thanks to the Road Rally.

My only other comments have to do with how the panels were run. This has less to do with the actual content (again very helpful) and more to do with structure:

1) Time Limits

This is a major one. There is only 75 minutes and songs are pulled out of a vat of 400 songs. Obviously, there is no chance that anywhere near all of the songs are going to be covered. Taxi did well to relegate the remainder of the songs to its screeners. Good move! The structure on the panels has to be tightened up though. The songs were not reviewed equally. There should be a format that is employed where each chosen song gets equal treatment. A timer could be used. One could use a verse and a chorus before fading the song. I would not stifle the feedback but I would be mindful of the time. Perhaps a goal could be to do a set number of songs....like 20 for example.

75 minutes is chosen based on 23 years of prior experience in watching how long the audience stays engaged, how long the panelists stay engaged, and being mindful that the panelists are giving us their time, so we have to respect that. We want them to feel good about the panel, and not dread doing one again in future years.

We tried a timer more than a dozen years ago on a listening panel and the audience in the ballroom booed it when it cut off great songs or songs that felt like not enough was heard to judge well. Sometimes the panelists need more time to see if the song/track develops. Sometimes it's a great example of where the bar is set and you want to hear more. We've tried just a verse and chorus, but get emails after the Rally that say, "But they didn't hear the bridge!"

Sadly, we can't please everybody all the time. Prior to going live, we tell the panelists to raise their hands or give a nod when they've heard enough. I watch for their cues to guide the fade, but it's hard to tell if they forgot to cue me or they're still interested and want to keep listening. It WAS harder to gauge when the panelists had heard enough in the virtual setting VS in the physical ballroom. I watch for cues (writing of notes, them looking at me, as if to say, "We've heard enough"), but that was harder without the benefit of looking at them in the ballroom.

I know this won't "sound good" in print, so know that it's not intended to be sarcastic: How would you feel if we told screeners to use a 45 second timer when listening to submissions to listings? Our mandate to our A&R team is to listen to at least the bridge, so they've hard all elements. Don't submissions to the Rally panels deserve the same treatment?

If listening to an instrumental track, don't we (and the panelists) want to see if it builds and has a stinger ending?


2) Genres

I found that in each of the panels of the road rally, some genres were simply over-represented. One suggestion around this would be to compose a list of say 30 songs that have a variety of genres. You can do this by choosing a random 40 songs and then whittling it down to 20 or 25 by taking out the over-representation of certain genres. This would give a nice impression to the visiting panelists that Taxi offers more diverse music...which it does. There was virtually no representation of Contemporary Pop or Dance. EDM is increasingly in demand by music supervisors simply because it is the sound of today.

For argument's sake, how many EDMs should be played? How about Country? How about Death Metal? How about AfroBeat, Gospel, Romani, Kelzmer, Holiday, Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Americana, New Age, etc., etc.? You get the idea... We do our best to be egalitarian, and there's no way to do that if we're deciding which genres get played and which don't., and which songs FROM each of those genres GETS played. Which ones do we take OFF the list? Somebody will always feel cheated in the process. Choosing randomly is the only way to do that, and we never know what form that will take. There were a lot of the same this year, and other years it's the opposite.

As far as the panelists leaving with an impression based on the genres they heard. Don't worry about that - not even a little bit! Virtually all of them get music from TAXI on a regular basis, and they love what they get. They know the music on panels is randomly chosen, and not representative of what they'd get running listings with TAXI. Frankly, I think several of them commented about how great the quality of the music they get from TAXI is really strong, and our members keep getting better every year. You would have had to watch all the panels to hear all those comments.



3) Favoritism-Free

I want to express this from a purely business point of view. The submitters are Taxi members who are paying for the chance for their songs to be heard. Customers always like to feel they are treated special but more importantly with fairness. Everyone in the first panel was really amazed at Debbie Ward's entry and she totally got the praise she deserved. Her song was played at full length during the first panel. At the second panel, the last five minutes were given to her song which was played to the panelist in its entirety again. This was at the expense of possibility of one other Taxi member being heard. I completely saw the support and praise that came out of the chat room but there were 400 viewers of that channel. Who knows how many customers were frustrated by that decision to play the song again when another one could be heard. This absolutely could have been worked out behind the scenes afterwards. Taxi's many screeners and contacts could have been consulted on this special song but not during a panel. You want to make sure that all of your customers are satisfied, not to feel second rate or pushed aside. Customers will leave in droves if they see favoritism and one will never know because they don't announce it with the same exuberance as those with praise, if at all.

I knew some people would be upset, feeling like they we cheated out of THEIR chance by me playing that one 4 minute song a second time during 25 hours of broadcasting. I made the decision because it pointed up a REALLY big thing I want every TAXI member to know: You can have the greatest song in the world, but sometimes the market isn't there, or the number of times something like that is needed is really tiny. We all loved that song and were super impressed, but alas, it's a tough pitch.

I decided to make that point, knowing that the one song NOT played would ALSO have a chance of being sent to the panelists after the Rally. That's why we DO that.


These points I make should in no way take away from the hard working effort given by Michael and the rest of the Taxi gang. Like many others, I was sad that the real Road Rally had to be canned due to COVID. I am very appreciative for the valiant efforts by all who made this event a success.

Thank you! It was incredibly hard to pull off 25 hours of live broadcasting (plus the Prequels), and we did our level best to make it the best it could possibly be.

Cheers!
Robert
I can see your points on the time limits. You have had years of experience with that so I guess you know what works. As far as the genres concerned, I am not convinced of your point there. If you generate a large random list, you can reduce it just to make sure there are more genres represented. Every genre does not have to be represented, just a healthy variety. Nobody would feel cheated because the list is randomized. How would they know to feel cheated?? For a first time Taxi customer going through the songs on the panels, one could easily get the impression that Taxi mostly gets submissions from Country and Folk with small splattering of 80's retro.

I am not sure I follow your last point but it is okay. My points were only there as suggestions to either be taken or discarded. I think if you had everyone wildly praise you in a cult-like atmosphere then you would have no outside references to possibly use to improve.

All the best!

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by AlanHall » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:15 pm

Hey Robert,

I submitted one cue to one panel. Didn't get heard, but my chances were about 1 in 400 or so. I'm not bummed. A screener will listen, and maybe the panel will get to hear it later - in all its Hi-Fi glory. Or not. I didn't skip or refuse to listen to the other panels on the basis that my music hadn't been submitted to them. But Rather, I tuned in because I was learning something. Yup, the listening panels are a sure-fire draw for each of us eager to be heard; the road rally is here to help us get better, regardless of how many songs get auditioned during the panel. That's my take-away from this.

Alan

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by CTWF » Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:52 am

Hi Rob

I did not even submit anything because of the low chance of being played. But IMO opinion the RR panels are not really about TAXI members' songs being played and reviewed. They are about learning how this profession works and how professionals listen to music. So, for all intents and purposes, all tracks listened to could have come from the outside (i.e. not from TAXI members) and the whole experience would have been just as useful. That a few members got feedback on their specific songs is just a bonus.

Regarding genre - great to see hardly anyone submitted EDM. That means you got a much better chance writing for this in-demand genre while everyone else is piling into less-in-demand genres. 8-)

An outlier song was picked and discussed in more detail? I don't care. From my point of view, this could have been a Dua Lipa song and the discussion about it would have been just as useful to listen to. 1/400 vs.1/400,000,000 - not that much of a difference in this case, chance to be heard is close to zero.

Getting equal and fair feedback - that is what the TAXI submissions to listings and the custom reviews are for.

Just my thoughts. :)
Tom
https://soundcloud.com/ctwf Optimizing the beat... O|°_°|O

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by Casey H » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:13 pm

Hey all
Thank you ML and the Taxi gang for pulling off this virtual rally. :D It showed an incredible commitment to giving members your best despite the difficult circumstances of the covid pandemic. 8-) Kudos! 8-)

Robert... Just a note based on my 13-14 straight years of Taxi rallies. People are always anxious to give feedback and suggestions right after the rally closes. It's only natural since it's all fresh in your mind. However, what I've learned is the worst time to give it is usually right after the rally closes. Why? Because ML and the Taxi staff are completely exhausted as they work around the clock for a very long time to put on a rally. You presented your points respectfully and I'm sure that's appreciated. :D However, I found it is better to make all your notes and hang on to them for a while so as to let the Taxi folk rest up and recover.

And like ML said, no matter what they do, they won't please everyone. :shock:

Sending my best wishes for health and safety to all. :D

Warmest,
Casey

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by deankripp » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:27 pm

Just want to add my GREAT BIG THANKS to Michael and staff for pulling off a really cool online rally. Becoming a functional, interactive TV/Media network in just a couple months - can't be easy.

This was Rally #15 in a row for me and although I greatly miss hangin' with everyone, this year's rally fed both my pandemic weary soul and I learned a few things too (as I always do).

I was able to attend many of the "workshops" and panels (as well as most nights of Robbie's thing), and all were excellent.

Bravo to everyone.

Hope to be able to give all y'all 'in person' hugs next year. :-)

dean k

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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by ronnie35 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:33 pm

Thanks to Michael and his great staff for an excellent job. Hopefully next year we will be in person.
God bless, Ronnie 35
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Re: Road Rally Feedback

Post by neilmctavish » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:49 pm

Thanks to everyone at Taxi. You managed to make the virtual Road Rally a great experience. It will never replace hanging in the Westin bar with all my Taxi buddies. But how could it. There were some really cool panels though where you leveraged the power of chat. The ones where the speaker pre recorded the presentation and hung out in the chat to answer ALL questions. That was truly awesome and really couldn’t have been done live. So, so cool.

I think it’s been 13 straight Rallies for me. I’m so grateful that youse put in the efforts to make it happen this year. It was awesome!!!

Neil

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