Recording FAQ Misleading

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olbones
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Recording FAQ Misleading

Post by olbones » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:51 pm

In the FAQ section of the Recording topic, TAXI responds to questions about how good the recordings have to be. In general the answers to the FAQ indicate that a very simple "raw" home recording will do since many artists like to put their own style to the song. Since I am new to TAXI and just received my first reviews of two songs I submitted, this is very confusing. The reviewers panned my songs and spent most of their critique telling me that my vocals are sub-par and pitchy, lack feeling, and that my recording could be improved with more professional engineering. What was lacking in the critiques were comments regarding the quality of the songs, the structures, the hooks, the appeal, the lyrics and things that a "songwriter" like myself would find helpful. I am not an aspiring superstar or even consider myself a singer or professional musician. I am just a songwriter who was laying down two songs on my keyboard at home. Since the TAXI reviewers refused to pitch my songs to the advertisers after I paid for it, I wonder if the pitch TAXI uses to lure new members is really accurate.

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mazz
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Re: Recording FAQ Misleading

Post by mazz » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:29 pm

I feel your pain! Why can't we just record our music and have the brilliance of the song shine through!!

The reality is, there are many great writers that have also developed great production skills, and as a result, the customers expect that. Gone are the days of an ad agency picking a song on the basis of a demo and then paying to have the piece re-recorded. The advertising pitches via TAXI are expected to be ready to broadcast because there's a really good chance that your recording would end up on the air. There are standards of quality that are expected, and before you ask what those standards are exactly, turn on your TV and listen to the music behind those commercials. What you hear there is the standard of quality expected.

Another way to look at it is this: Your productions from writing all the way to the mix are your calling card and your resume. If you are applying for a job, your resume can't have coffee stains on it and your can't show up in shorts and flip flops (for most jobs, anyway!), there are minimum standards expected for a person showing up for a job interview.

Because of the wide availability of home and semi pro recording equipment, there's no longer any need for a client to have to use their imagination to "fill in the blanks" when someone stands in front of them strumming a guitar and humming a melody, they expect a full blown production from the get go. And it goes double for high end advertising pitches. Some folks can't or don't want to learn the production aspect. At that point they need to decide if they want to pay someone to produce their demos, collaborate with someone who has the production chops, or scale back their vision for their demos and masters.

Another way to look at it might be: The fact that they didn't mention your songs is that your songs are fine, they just need to comb their hair and put on some nicer clothes. (sorry for the analogy, I was trying to tie it back to the job interview thing).

Stick around and ask some questions and post your stuff on Peer to Peer for some feedback from folks that have been there and are on the same journey with you. We've all felt that pain of a return or a critique we may not agree with or understand. A little group therapy every once in a while is a good thing!

Good luck!

Mazz
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Re: Recording FAQ Misleading

Post by Eric Bolvin » Sat Nov 13, 2010 1:05 am

Good points Mazz.
I think the type of listing may also be a variable here. You mention an ad agency listing. For that type of listing, you should submit broadcast quality stuff. Finished master quality tracks.
On the other hand if the listing is looking for songs for an artist, then your demos may be good enough. After all, they're gonna re-record the song anyway and I think that record producers and publishers looking for hits may still prefer raw versions over fully produced tracks. Of course your playing and singing should be good on the demos.

Eb

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Re: Recording FAQ Misleading

Post by olbones » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:57 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I'm starting to understand how this works. Obviously, I have to read a lot more and this forum is a good place to start.

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Re: Recording FAQ Misleading

Post by Casey H » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:17 pm

Mazz summed it up well. The bar for the production quality for demos of ANY kind has risen dramatically this past decade due to advances in home recording.

The good news is people meet here all the time and form relationships-- collaboration, hiring each other for demos, etc. If you can write a great song, there is a way to get a better demo. Also, demo services are a bit pricey but they are often a necessary part of the biz.

Best of luck!
:) Casey

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Re: Recording FAQ Misleading

Post by rnrmachine » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:01 pm

olbones wrote:In the FAQ section of the Recording topic, TAXI responds to questions about how good the recordings have to be. In general the answers to the FAQ indicate that a very simple "raw" home recording will do since many artists like to put their own style to the song. Since I am new to TAXI and just received my first reviews of two songs I submitted, this is very confusing. The reviewers panned my songs and spent most of their critique telling me that my vocals are sub-par and pitchy, lack feeling, and that my recording could be improved with more professional engineering. What was lacking in the critiques were comments regarding the quality of the songs, the structures, the hooks, the appeal, the lyrics and things that a "songwriter" like myself would find helpful. I am not an aspiring superstar or even consider myself a singer or professional musician. I am just a songwriter who was laying down two songs on my keyboard at home. Since the TAXI reviewers refused to pitch my songs to the advertisers after I paid for it, I wonder if the pitch TAXI uses to lure new members is really accurate.
I have said it before and I will say it again... Imho, Taxi needs to update that. Because it is VERY deceptive (MANY have felt misled because of it including myself) and of course you don't get the reality check until AFTER you coughed up the $$$... In Taxi's defense, they do offer a money back guarantee SO if you feel like you can't reach the required quality. I am sure they would refund your money. Personally, I think if you believe in your songs strongly enough you should consider investing a large amount of money into pro gear OR pro recordings like some on the forum do... they hire a studio, musicians, etc...

Rob
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Re: Recording FAQ Misleading

Post by vikvik20 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:50 am

I went through this same scenario. I love being a TAXI member and have learned a lot, but I think they should do a "Before you decide to join TAXI" checklist and it should be something like this -- because honestly, pretty much every submission needs to be "perfect".

There is no more "raw" this or that anymore and clients don't need to use their imaginations when everyone is producing stellar sounding stuff. There is wayy too much supply for the relatively small demand. IMHO here is the checklist that should be considered before joining TAXI or a similar service. Feel free to add your own.

- Can you create excellent & clean sounding and instrumental or vocal recordings?
- Do you or someone you know have excellent mixing and production skills?
- Do you have access to professional grade DAW applications? Garage Band will not do.
- Do you have access to professional grade sample libraries? They can't sound like MIDI junk.
- Are you capable of creating and producing a composition on very short notice?
- Do you have access to extremely competent musicians and vocalists in several genres?
- Are you ready to compete with the best of the musical best?
- Are you capable of handling rejection and constructive criticism?
- Do you currently have at least 10 high-quality songs?
- Are you capable of composing at least 20+ songs / year?

Again let me reiterate I love TAXI, but I admit I joined a little too soon. It took me two years after I joined to get up to the level of being even able to POSSIBLY even consider competing with the abundance of talent here. (I've been lurking.) The first time I submitted it was all very raw and demo-ey and it's just not going to fly. I finally felt confident enough to submit again last week.

I'll be renewing and I can't wait for RR 2011.
I'll settle for 5 minutes instead of 15.
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