Returned song

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jhewitt79
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Returned song

Post by jhewitt79 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:42 pm

Hey all,

I'm not sure if this is the right forum but here goes.

I was surprised and disappointed that my song did not get forwarded and I'd love to get some feedback from all of you to help me in future listings. Where did I go wrong?

The listing was for 80s-style pop instrumentals. I based my track on the first reference track they gave (see below for the original listing). My song is here:
https://soundcloud.com/music-for-film-5 ... arty-theme

Here's the Taxi listing.
**************************************
Y190419OP
ORIGINAL 1980s-Style POP INSTRUMENTALS are needed by FRIDAY for an (up to) $10,000 placement by a Top-Tier Music Publisher that’s pitching directly to a big Animated Feature Film!

They’re looking for Mid-to-Up-Tempo Instrumentals (Recently recorded but retro-sounding OR Vintage Recordings can both work) in the wheelhouse of the example below:

Key & Peele - Aerobics Meltdown

To be clear: They’re NOT looking for clones or soundalikes! Similar tempo, energy, and overall vibe? Yes. Clones? No!

Please submit original, well-crafted, slightly “Cheezy” Pop Instrumentals with a clear 1980s sound, style, and influence. Your submissions should have retro-sounding melodies, danceable rhythms, and infectious grooves throughout. Dated sounds and production could actually work in your favor for this pitch!

Important info from our Source: “Please listen to the part around 0:25. You need to have the same tempo, similar tone, etc. Your Instrumental should feel dated and cheap, sort of like Devo's "Whip It," which is another '80s vibe that could work.”

“Whip It” by Devo
***************************************
Thanks,

Jim

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Re: Returned song

Post by johnlewitt » Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:37 am

It would help if you include any comment from the screener.

The production seems appropriate to me, so all I can do is guess....

Sometimes they return these retro listings if one of the patches was not from the era.

Perhaps there was not enough variation in your cue for the screener?

'Top-Tier' music publisher jumps out at me. Every adjective and adverb in a Taxi listing is very well chosen. So maybe they set a really high bar on this one and you didn't hit it?

Finally, it could be that there is nothing wrong with this cue and that another screener might haven't forwarded it on for the same listing. That happens.

Hope that helps.

John

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Re: Returned song

Post by jhewitt79 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:11 am

johnlewitt wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:37 am
It would help if you include any comment from the screener.

The production seems appropriate to me, so all I can do is guess....

Sometimes they return these retro listings if one of the patches was not from the era.

Perhaps there was not enough variation in your cue for the screener?

'Top-Tier' music publisher jumps out at me. Every adjective and adverb in a Taxi listing is very well chosen. So maybe they set a really high bar on this one and you didn't hit it?

Finally, it could be that there is nothing wrong with this cue and that another screener might haven't forwarded it on for the same listing. That happens.

Hope that helps.

John
Good point. I'll post the critique below. You bring up some interesting things including the wording. In your response, you used the word "cue". I'm still new at this but I thought they would use the word cue if that's what they wanted. Since they did not, and the references were songs, I used a song format rather than a cue format.

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Re: Returned song

Post by jhewitt79 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:12 am

Here's the critique I received.

"I like the cheesy tone in your track but the style and vibe aren't rhythmically interesting enough or has a contagious groove that makes the track more danceable. You're in the ballpark but the vibe comes up a little short of the listing expectations."

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Re: Returned song

Post by johnlewitt » Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:21 pm

So basically it sounds to me like they returned it because it's not danceable, which is a judgement call on their part, but I can see what they mean. Your track is missing that rhythmic energy that makes one want to get up and dance. So where did you go wrong? You didn't really. Your song just didn't hit all the boxes they needed.

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Re: Returned song

Post by HowlingUlf » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:15 pm

jhewitt79 wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:12 am
Here's the critique I received.

"I like the cheesy tone in your track but the style and vibe aren't rhythmically interesting enough or has a contagious groove that makes the track more danceable. You're in the ballpark but the vibe comes up a little short of the listing expectations."
I think this comment is spot on.
They mention "Whip it" by Devo and that had an almost new wave punk attitude and energy that's kind of present in the a la song and absent in your song.
The chord progression and the melodies in your song is also reminiscent of an era before rock'n'roll with nice and proper changes obeying the rules.
The a la song has a more modern chord riff popular at the time kind of thing going I guess you could say.

Your song is also bone dry and that doesn't really help with getting the 80s vibe right, does it?
It's a little more like a demo song in a Roland Soundcanvas unit and that's not a bad thing in itself.
I've heard surprisingly convincing songs made for the Soundcanvas.

I guess what they're getting at is the equivalent of computer graphic images from around Y2K that looked nice but had no chaos and dirt which was a dead give away that it wasn't the real deal.
Same thing with what you can do these days with overdrive and distortion plugins
"Key & Peele - Aerobics Meltdown" wasn't squeeky clean, right?

So your song was nice and nice wasn't what they were looking for this time.
write, submit, forget, repeat :D

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Re: Returned song

Post by devinwalker7 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:51 pm

Hi Jim,

Thanks for posting your return. As a newbie myself it is educational to hear your track, and read the comments from more experienced members. Though I do not have the years of Taxi experience, the prominent differences I hear which are part of the references, but are not found in your track are as follows:

1. Prominent reverb saturated snare drum (Though "Whip it" is a drum machine it still has that prominent reverb saturated snare -very typical of 80's music), your snare is very quiet, and as already mentioned, there are no affects on the snare or anywhere else in the mix.
2. Electric guitar -Both references have guitar riffs, and rhythms along with synth lead, yet your track sounds like it was all done on a keyboard.
3. Your mix is somewhat heavy on the bass line, which is a modern production technique, but was not nearly so common in the 80's. Both references have a balanced approach to bass, kick, rhythm guitar, with synth lead on top.
4. Your track seems to speed up going into the chorus, I'm guessing you pushed the tempo a bit to create more energy for the chorus, but tempo changes are very uncommon in dance music, and could be a deal breaker for an animated film, where characters are dancing, and scenes are shifting.(It could also be exactly what they want for another listing/scene.)
5. Rhythmic variety - the other pieces have a bit more variety, melodically, and rhythmically, especially the realistic claps in the Key and Peele.

It may seem picky to talk about the mix, and the reverb on your snare, but there are many full time professional studios who submit music to these kinds of listings, and some have engineers who worked through the 80's, so they know exactly how to reproduce that sound. They even have old tracks recorded in the 80's, with 80's technology, so they are exactly on target = bullseye! They are the competition that the rest of us have to compare to.

We can point out many subtle differences between returns and forwards, but we can only guess at why something is returned, and why something is forwarded. On Taxi TV, I have heard things that were returned that seemed perfect for the listing to my ears. We just heard a song on Monday's Taxi TV that was not forwarded, but all the listeners were saying it was great, and Michael said, "It's perfect." Ralph Murphy agreed. The song writer was in the chat room and told us it was not forwarded!

I have also heard things that had serious problems in my ears, but were forwarded. You can look at forwarded material on the forum and find the same thing. In the end what matters is:
1. What tracks were the very best(they can't forward all of them even if they are good) for the listing -screeners are experienced experts in the genre for which they screen, and they most likely know more about what is needed for a listing than what is said in the listing. We ARE guessing at what they want when we submit. They are NOT guessing at what is needed for a listing when they choose what is forwarded. In my limited experience, I can already tell that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, that you and I as members don't know about.

2. It also matters how many submissions were received for that listing. Your track is fun, and in many ways fits the listing. Great job! The screener said, "You're in the ballpark." That's more more of a compliment than I've received on many occasions.(Not complaining - I've had many compliments, and really appreciate the screeners input) Your song might be perfect for certain situations, but maybe not for this listing. For example, the Key and Peele piece is playing in a scene with a live stage band which is playing the music for a live Aerobics competition in a large, fairly reverberant room with an announcer on a PA. Your piece just won't work for that scenario. If in the animated film they pan over and show the band, the music has to sound like it has all the instruments that the characters are playing, like electric guitar, which is missing in your piece. That or many other details could be the deal breaker and the reason for your return. You submitted for an animated film, it's complicated! ;)

You may be thinking, "So why don't they just tell us exactly what they want?" Because, sometimes they don't know exactly what they want. They have a vague idea, and they want to see what the net brings when they cast it out to sea.

Sorry for being long winded, but the process of analyzing your return is helpful and therapeutic for me with all of my returns!! :| Maybe no one will ever take time to read my analysis, but it helped me, and I hope it helped you. It's a cool song. Don't give up, set words to it, or use it for something else. That way you have not wasted any time in creating that piece. (Or any other piece which is not forwarded.) Create music you are proud of, and you'll never be sad you created it, whether it is forwarded or returned, it was still worth creating!
Devin
[highlight][shadow]Devin[/shadow][/highlight][https://walkerlegacy.com/home][/BBvideo]

jhewitt79
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Re: Returned song

Post by jhewitt79 » Wed May 01, 2019 4:31 am

devinwalker7 wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:51 pm
Hi Jim,

Thanks for posting your return. As a newbie myself it is educational to hear your track, and read the comments from more experienced members. Though I do not have the years of Taxi experience, the prominent differences I hear which are part of the references, but are not found in your track are as follows:

1. Prominent reverb saturated snare drum (Though "Whip it" is a drum machine it still has that prominent reverb saturated snare -very typical of 80's music), your snare is very quiet, and as already mentioned, there are no affects on the snare or anywhere else in the mix.
2. Electric guitar -Both references have guitar riffs, and rhythms along with synth lead, yet your track sounds like it was all done on a keyboard.
3. Your mix is somewhat heavy on the bass line, which is a modern production technique, but was not nearly so common in the 80's. Both references have a balanced approach to bass, kick, rhythm guitar, with synth lead on top.
4. Your track seems to speed up going into the chorus, I'm guessing you pushed the tempo a bit to create more energy for the chorus, but tempo changes are very uncommon in dance music, and could be a deal breaker for an animated film, where characters are dancing, and scenes are shifting.(It could also be exactly what they want for another listing/scene.)
5. Rhythmic variety - the other pieces have a bit more variety, melodically, and rhythmically, especially the realistic claps in the Key and Peele.

It may seem picky to talk about the mix, and the reverb on your snare, but there are many full time professional studios who submit music to these kinds of listings, and some have engineers who worked through the 80's, so they know exactly how to reproduce that sound. They even have old tracks recorded in the 80's, with 80's technology, so they are exactly on target = bullseye! They are the competition that the rest of us have to compare to.

We can point out many subtle differences between returns and forwards, but we can only guess at why something is returned, and why something is forwarded. On Taxi TV, I have heard things that were returned that seemed perfect for the listing to my ears. We just heard a song on Monday's Taxi TV that was not forwarded, but all the listeners were saying it was great, and Michael said, "It's perfect." Ralph Murphy agreed. The song writer was in the chat room and told us it was not forwarded!

I have also heard things that had serious problems in my ears, but were forwarded. You can look at forwarded material on the forum and find the same thing. In the end what matters is:
1. What tracks were the very best(they can't forward all of them even if they are good) for the listing -screeners are experienced experts in the genre for which they screen, and they most likely know more about what is needed for a listing than what is said in the listing. We ARE guessing at what they want when we submit. They are NOT guessing at what is needed for a listing when they choose what is forwarded. In my limited experience, I can already tell that there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes, that you and I as members don't know about.

2. It also matters how many submissions were received for that listing. Your track is fun, and in many ways fits the listing. Great job! The screener said, "You're in the ballpark." That's more more of a compliment than I've received on many occasions.(Not complaining - I've had many compliments, and really appreciate the screeners input) Your song might be perfect for certain situations, but maybe not for this listing. For example, the Key and Peele piece is playing in a scene with a live stage band which is playing the music for a live Aerobics competition in a large, fairly reverberant room with an announcer on a PA. Your piece just won't work for that scenario. If in the animated film they pan over and show the band, the music has to sound like it has all the instruments that the characters are playing, like electric guitar, which is missing in your piece. That or many other details could be the deal breaker and the reason for your return. You submitted for an animated film, it's complicated! ;)

You may be thinking, "So why don't they just tell us exactly what they want?" Because, sometimes they don't know exactly what they want. They have a vague idea, and they want to see what the net brings when they cast it out to sea.

Sorry for being long winded, but the process of analyzing your return is helpful and therapeutic for me with all of my returns!! :| Maybe no one will ever take time to read my analysis, but it helped me, and I hope it helped you. It's a cool song. Don't give up, set words to it, or use it for something else. That way you have not wasted any time in creating that piece. (Or any other piece which is not forwarded.) Create music you are proud of, and you'll never be sad you created it, whether it is forwarded or returned, it was still worth creating!
Devin
Devin,

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate you taking the time. I will take more time to go through everything you've said but wanted to mention the tempo change.

There was no actual tempo change although it most definitely feels like there is. I've solo'd every track and nothing changes tempo but together it sure feels like it changes. I can't figure that one out.

Jim

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Re: Returned song

Post by jhewitt79 » Wed May 01, 2019 4:58 am

Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply. Really appreciate hearing the feedback.

Jim

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Re: Returned song

Post by jaywilliams » Wed May 01, 2019 9:04 am

devinwalker7 wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:51 pm
Though I do not have the years of Taxi experience, the prominent differences I hear which are part of the references, but are not found in your track are as follows:
Devin hey, I just wanted to jump in here and commend you for your analysis skills.

This ability to listen to the reference tracks and hear what's close and whats off in regards to the listing request, will serve you well.

Getting a Forward means you created a Key that will fit a certain Lock.

Then the people further up the chain will decide which of the various Keys fits the best.

This week's TaxiTV, as you mentioned, offered up as good an example of that as any.

There's a difference between critiquing a track in isolation - is this track "good" - what could make it "better" etc - than critiquing a track in relation to a listing.

If it does not fit, you must acquit!

Jay :)
see you at the top!

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Jay Williams Productions
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