Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting....

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by nomiyah » Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:58 pm

Quote:Quote:I use Download.com and search for free mp3 converter.Thanks for your suggestion nomiyah, but I've used download.com before for that same purpose, and the converters I found their were both a) Crap, and b) Full of spy ware.I used a free trial of Sony MP3-Plugin 2.0 that was great with one of my friend's copy of Sony Soundforge 7, but that was last year and thus, the trial is gone. Anyway, it was one of the only mp3 converters that I've used that had a quality close to that of the wave file. Since the sound quality of my songs is part of my argument, I wouldn't want to degrade the quality to much. Is there any free converters out there that can preserve most of the quality? and where to upload? ThanksI have downloaded two different converters (at different times). Both worked fine and only occaisional saw a popup asking if I wanted to buy the commercial version. I'll watch this thread to see if someone has a better idea though.Nomi

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by horacejesse » Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:24 pm

I've got some bitching to do myself, old stick, and I guess this is as good a place as any. I can't address most of your points but many of mine are similar.Okay, I love the concept of TAXI too, but that does not mean I love TAXI anymore. Let me be blunt, I do not love TAXI anymore.I see too many anomalies in the scoring and I have been insulted by TAXI screener #239. This screener accused me of "writing by the numbers" in a recent critique. That is an insult, folks. And what's more, I think I know why it was done.I have called TAXI several times bitching about returns and I have demanded a different screener on one occasion. I got my different screeners according to TAXI. It is my belief that the screeners also received pre-knowledge that this particular piece had been rejected before by other screeners.I do not appreciate being told that I "write by the numbers" by a screener who probably cannot play jingle bells on a goddamned kazoo, especially when the listing asked for traditional country material. It said songs that feature the dobro are "most welcome," so I did that. Not good enough, says #239.I no longer believe that the TAXI screeners know a thing about music or hit songs. How may hit songs have they been responsible for, by the way? One, One, and only One.Ten thousand members sending in songs for ten years or more has produced ONE hit song.TAXI forwards almost NO songs on the big listings for country stars. That is pretty obvious from the numbers. Either that or we members are some of the worst songwriters on the planet earth or that you could even imagine, when 10,000 of us can only produce one hit song in ten years. If TAXI has more to brag about then why don't they do it? Pretty obvious, right?I also believe that certain members get "blackballed" by other screeners if they complain or ask for a different screener. Just like the police, I think TAXI and its screeners stick up for each other and back each other up whether they are right or wrong.Taxi will probably erase this post. Or maybe Laskow will come on personally and chew me out like he did to that girl who had had a song placed in Dirty Dancing or some similar movie years ago. Disciplining that girl was an attempt to intimidate ten thousand other members into obedient silence.As far as I am concerned most of the reviews I have gotten back are flatout hogwash from people who really don't even have a clue what they are talking about.It is also obvious that the screeners write up those reviews while they are "listening," otherwise they would not remember the two or three pet phrases they extract, unless someone is going to tell me they listen multiple times. Try it some time and see if you can fairly listen to a song and critique it simultaneously. They are not listening to a song, they are listening to something they have to critique, which is a lot different.Wave makers don't get far in TAXI, from what I have seen they are quickly gotten out of sight of other paying members who might decide to re-up.I expect more blackballing from screeners as a result of this post and my several telephone rants.I will try a couple of more listings, but after that it is Sayonora TAXI. I was warned beforehand by people who had already tried TAXI out but I would not listen.If they blackball me or throw me out, who cares? Does anyone really want to be part of an organization where you cannot speak your mind when there is even a forum ostensibly for that purpose? Now we wait.

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by andreh » Sat Jul 22, 2006 5:53 pm

Horace-Can you point us to the songs, listings, and critiques you feel have been unfairly written? I'm not a TAXI member yet, and I'm interested in the positive and negative experiences of those who have given it a whirl.I think it can be very hard for us as artists to hear criticism about the music we've worked so hard on and hold so dear to our hearts. In my experience, though, no matter how real I think I'm being about the quality of my work, it almost always turns out to have flaws that I was too [proud, arrogant, excited, deaf, obsessed, crazy, tired, wired...] to notice.This isn't to say that critics always get it right (especially since there is no "right" in our art), and Taxi screeners are surely prone to errors in judgment as well. However, there is usually something to be learned from the open perspectives of others, and I prefer to encourage such feedback by accepting it positively rather than discouraging it by getting all bent out of shape when someone tells me something I don't want to hear.This isn't aimed at you, Horace (at least not until I hear your songs , but so far every time I've seen someone complain about a Taxi review and I've had the opportunity to hear the song in question and see the listing, I've agreed with the screener's points. Sometimes moreso than others, but there has never been as much to fuss about as you'd of thought by reading the artists' posts.Nonetheless, I think it would be a fantastic addition to Taxi's system if songs were to be double checked by 2 or 3 screeners before being forwarded or rejected...this would greatly reduce the chances of a bad judgment, and it would sure give a much greater level of confidence to Taxi members in the fairness of the screeners.Of course, this is all speculation until I join and submit a few of my own tunes...which I still plan to do very shortly!Respectfully,Andre
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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by horacejesse » Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:30 am

Andre,You are right, I got too bent out of shape. I was so peeved I didn't even get the screeners' numbers down correctly. Rejection is hard, you are right there also. There are almost always little flaws when one looks hard enough, you are right again.The perspective of others is good not bad, as you say. A few, but not many, of the Taxi screeners' criticisms contained some truth to them, others seemed so irrelevant they infuriated me.However, I still want to apologize for my angry post to anyone who read it. I can go about this criticism of Taxi in a more logical and positive manner.What I cannot do is provide my actual songs to others on the forum. It is my policy that I do not listen to the work of my fellow competitors and they do not listen to mine. A trade secret thing. I do not have broadband or a website, so it is rather difficult anyway. That is why I posted here and not in the Peer to Peer thread. I have the same belief in my songs I had before I got five consecutive rejections on what I consider a novel and unique country song with obviouis hit potential.Another thing I should have done is confine my rant to the country screeners, since they are the only ones who, so far, I think are blowing it.True, I have submitted only to the most premium listings, a dozen times in all, and been forwarded only once. Some of the instrumental pieces I sent to other genres were old recordings with some hiss and would not pass snuff, I knew beforehand, but I gambled. Still, I think the Taxi country screeners are blowing itLet me start here. The screeners (country) keep nagging "Where's the chorus," or "Where's the bridge?"I think they may not listen to current country. After a long shift at the salt mines their ears may not be up to it.As instructed by the Taxi literature itself, I do listen to the radio and watch the country stations on the tube. I did so just this evening. I watched three video performances of current top country songs in a row. None of the three had a bridge, even the one by Brooks and Dunn called Building Bridges. The other two were The 8th of November by Big & Rich and Hicktown by Jason Aldean. They had chorus like structures that barely tried to pass as bridges with the catch-line at the end. Only in the case of Brooks and Dunn was this fake/bridge quasi/chorus even distinct from the rest of the song, what the Taxi critique form calls "Sectional Contrast."No bridge and a chorus which is a fake bridge with the tagline at the end of it, is very common in today's country music, probably as common as songs which have a full-on developed bridge and a distinct, separate chorus.Like I say, it is very common to combine the bridge and the chorus into one structure. Some songs are a done deal without every well defined section found in the book of Hoyle. That is why you hear them on the radio frequently.Another thing they have said is "Write like your friends converse." This advice can only teach people to write bad songs. I can't even think of a song that is written like anybody converses.The poet W.B. Yeats wanted to write like people talked also, but he was smart enough to know that it was a very distilled version of the way people talk. So it was not actually actually the way people talked. It was the way people would have talked if they were all poets, with every useless world boiled away before the sentence left their lips.In another critique the screener objected my consecutive use of the word "line" as a rhyming triplet. The word was used in three different ways, and the three lines set the song up exactly the way I wanted and very succinctly, I might add. I was having fun, playing with words. But this little bit of originality and word play was met with, "Isn't there another way to say this?" First the screener points out that I have done this, like I was not aware of itNo, sir or madam, there is not another way to say it. Say it any other way and you have said something else.Another recent country listing asked for neo-traditional songs for a male artist, and added that songs featuring the dobro were most welcome. I had two that I figured could not be rejected, since I know they are excellent and timely. The screener admitted the subject matter was very timely in one of the songs, that the dobro playing was what was asked for, that the songs were "pitched correctly in the style as needed," that I had a "whole laundry list of colorful little story bytes, that I "sure got my share of lyrical zingers," but then rejected the songs anywaybecause "musically they are by the numbers," that I needed to "break out," that when they say traditional they still seek songs that find fresh ways of working within these boundaries." Anyone who listens to country music knows there is not anyone saying things in a fresh way, unless thirty year old rock and roll with a fiddle included is fresh.But fresh is what I had given anyway. I had found fresh ways of working within the boundaries, both lyrically and musically, but the screener did not even notice. And by the way, "by-the-numbers is still an insult in my book. Go tell a painter his painting looks like it was painted by numbers and see what reaction you get.Another point is: I assume the people in Nashville know how to juice a song up. Does this screener (named correctly now as # 152) think the folks in Nashville do not know how to put a little distortion guitar into a song on a demo that did not have one? No song is going to be done just as it is sent in. They are going to arrange it, tweak it, interpret it. But my opionion is rapidly becoming that the Taxi country screeners themselves lack the imagination to hear beyond your own arrangement of a tune. There must be many tunes that would have been accepted by the people they were meant for, but the Taxi screeners lacked the imagination to hear this. They seem like chess players that can only look one move ahead but not two.That is all I have to say. I apologized and I explained myself. I have no intention yet of giving up, on either Taxi or myself. Now I will go back to work on the music because I have just begun to fight, and I know what I write is good enough.P.S. You should only join Taxi if you also know damned well that your stuff is better than ninety-five percent of the current music you hear on the radio. That is my opinion. If I did not believe this I would not even bother with it.

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by Casey H » Sun Jul 23, 2006 2:36 am

Quote:...What I cannot do is provide my actual songs to others on the forum. It is my policy that I do not listen to the work of my fellow competitors and they do not listen to mine. A trade secret thing. I do not have broadband or a website, so it is rather difficult anyway. That is why I posted here and not in the Peer to Peer thread... I'm not sure why you adhere to that policy, but that is your decision.You did a good job of respectfully explaining your issues with recent reviews and rejections. Although I don't listen to country radio, I am sure you have some valid points. As you know, placing a song with a country artist is probably the hardest to meet goal for any new songwriter. The bar is incredibly high and Nashville is very closed to outsiders. That doesn't excuse TAXI for every rejection. I think it is fair dialog to discuss how well versed the screeners who screen country music are with current country radio. I suggest that you do write to Michael, explaining respectfully your concerns, and at least open the dialog with him. Hang in there... Regards,Casey

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by horacejesse » Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:28 pm

Well Casey,Maybe my second post was the beginning of that dialogue. Laskow is not adverse to ideas--he asked for them a while back in one of his letters. It was shortly after that that the listings appeared for the company his friend is starting. Any music writer would have to appreciate the approach of that company. They do not tie up your copyrights for life, they only want half the money for whatever they can generate for you. I am hoping this is the new wave among libraries, as Laskow suggested. Personally, it is the only kind of library I would even consider sending to.The fear of being blackballed is a real concern. You have seen the pictures, these screeners work right next to each other in little booths. Of course they know each other and word can get around in a hurrry amongst the personnel in a small office. Alienating one may alienate them all.Still, when I blew off steam I know I was speaking for hundreds upon hundreds of Taxi members and former members who have been similarly frustrated by what they felt were inappropriate reviews.I think Taxi ought to take a few more chances. The screeners and also Laskow seem frozen up by fear that companies will stop listing with them. I doubt if these companies pay a penny to have their listings put up. Taxi could sure as heck take a few more chances and send the oddball novel song once in a while without losing them.The way to lose them, in my opinion, is to keep sending them material that does not hit. If any radio songs were hitting big for Taxi, there is no doubt we would hear all about it.Has Taxi ever received in the mail a country song any worse than Honkytonk-ba-donky-donk? It is one of the purest and most embarrassing pieces of garbage ever to grace any radio format, and yet the (song?) is a huge hit.If you have to write that badly to become a successful songwriter, then I will never be one. If that was my song I would just take the money quietly, I would never admit I wrote something that ignorant and idiotic.I would like to know Laskow's opinion if that song would have breezed by his screeners when mine do not.Taxi ought to start setting trends instead of feeding them. By adhering too strictly to what the listers say, they are feeding the trend of mediocrity instead of setting new trends. They need to take matters into their own hands.Hell, the people who write these listings for their companies in many cases probably do not even know music. They are a secretary or something, a pretty suit. The proof is that they keep asking for "conversational lyrics," which I assure everyone in the world is a misnomer if there ever was one. Since when do people converse in rhyme and meter? Ridiculous, right? No one writes songs that way, even those who may claim to. It is simply a euphemism for "send something with good, understandable lyrics." So when the Taxi screeners start in on this it really peeves me.One screener told me that although my songs were right on target for the listing and did everything asked for, beyond that there was nothing special about them. Uh-huh, they are not special like the ones Taxi keeps forwarding that you never hear or hear about again.Hire some people who know country music, not someone with a long list of credentials. I know doctors with lots of credentials who you would not send your damned dog to.In fact, I will do it myself. I will come to LA and listen to Taxi's country submissions myself. And I gaurantee Michael Laskow that I will do better than his current country screeners, I will find him the radio hits that I know are lying among the piles of submissions right now but will probably not be recognized for what they are by his screeners. Are you hearing me Laskow, because I am dead serious? You have the material within your office right now to set trends in the music industry rather than continue feeding the wave of mediocrity with more mediocrity.Over and out

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by matto » Mon Jul 24, 2006 6:32 pm

Horacejesse,please allow me to respond to some of your comments.Quote:The fear of being blackballed is a real concern. You have seen the pictures, these screeners work right next to each other in little booths. Of course they know each other and word can get around in a hurrry amongst the personnel in a small office. Alienating one may alienate them all.This is an unfounded concern since the screeners will never find out that you requested a different screener. Assignment of songs to screeners is handled by the Taxi staff. If you raise your concern about a particular critique or screener in a polite and professional manner, Taxi will listen and investigate.Quote:Still, when I blew off steam I know I was speaking for hundreds upon hundreds of Taxi members and former members who have been similarly frustrated by what they felt were inappropriate reviews.I know and agree that "hundreds upon hundreds of members" have been frustrated but what they FELT was an inappropriate review...but in the vast majority of cases where a member posted said review and the song under review, I've found myself siding with the screener. Our FEELINGS about our own songs are not always in line with the REALITIES of the music business. Quote:I think Taxi ought to take a few more chances. The screeners and also Laskow seem frozen up by fear that companies will stop listing with them. I doubt if these companies pay a penny to have their listings put up. Taxi could sure as heck take a few more chances and send the oddball novel song once in a while without losing them.The way to lose them, in my opinion, is to keep sending them material that does not hit. If any radio songs were hitting big for Taxi, there is no doubt we would hear all about it.Look...if you waste a high ranking A&R guy's or publisher's time by sending them inappropriate material, they WILL stop listing with Taxi. It's not like Taxi is the only avenue for them to find songs. I believe every song that Taxi forwards to a high bar listing has the potential to be a hit. I've heard enough of them to know that the standard is way up there. There are many reasons those songs don't become hits a lot of times. A veteran hit writer once said that "for a song to become a hit, stars have to collide". Taxi only supplies the songs. What happens after that is out of their hands.Quote:Has Taxi ever received in the mail a country song any worse than Honkytonk-ba-donky-donk? It is one of the purest and most embarrassing pieces of garbage ever to grace any radio format, and yet the (song?) is a huge hit.If you have to write that badly to become a successful songwriter, then I will never be one. If that was my song I would just take the money quietly, I would never admit I wrote something that ignorant and idiotic. My (somewhat educated) guess would be that Taxi receives songs far worse than "Honkytonk Badonk Adonk" on a daily basis. Quote:I would like to know Laskow's opinion if that song would have breezed by his screeners when mine do not. Obviously I can't speak for Michael, but I doubt this song would've "breezed by" the screeners. It might have gotten forwarded to a listing looking for "silly, raunchy bar songs" though.Quote:Taxi ought to start setting trends instead of feeding them. By adhering too strictly to what the listers say, they are feeding the trend of mediocrity instead of setting new trends. They need to take matters into their own hands. I'd have to disagree with this. Taxi is a B to B service. It's their job to make the listing companies happy, in order to keep the opportunities coming for us members. It's up to the artists, the buying public and the record companies to set trends. Taxi (in its current incarnation) is not a Business to Consumer service, and thus not positioned to start new trends.Quote:Hell, the people who write these listings for their companies in many cases probably do not even know music. They are a secretary or something, a pretty suit. The proof is that they keep asking for "conversational lyrics," which I assure everyone in the world is a misnomer if there ever was one. Since when do people converse in rhyme and meter? Ridiculous, right? No one writes songs that way, even those who may claim to. It is simply a euphemism for "send something with good, understandable lyrics." So when the Taxi screeners start in on this it really peeves me. "Conversational lyrics" is an established term widely used in pop music in general. You may feel it's not the "proper" term...but some people might feel "chorus" is not a proper term either (cause it's not (usually) sung by a chorus... ). You've obviously figured out what the term means, so why get bent out of shape about it? Besides I feel that it describes the best such lyrics rather well, because they feel so natural that you barely notice the meter and rhyme.Quote:One screener told me that although my songs were right on target for the listing and did everything asked for, beyond that there was nothing special about them. Uh-huh, they are not special like the ones Taxi keeps forwarding that you never hear or hear about again. Hire some people who know country music, not someone with a long list of credentials. I know doctors with lots of credentials who you would not send your damned dog to. Well...everybody loves their dog and thinks he's very special, but let's face it, some dogs are just way beyond any help. Of course it's always easier to blame the vet.Quote:In fact, I will do it myself. I will come to LA and listen to Taxi's country submissions myself. And I gaurantee Michael Laskow that I will do better than his current country screeners, I will find him the radio hits that I know are lying among the piles of submissions right now but will probably not be recognized for what they are by his screeners. Are you hearing me Laskow, because I am dead serious? You have the material within your office right now to set trends in the music industry rather than continue feeding the wave of mediocrity with more mediocrity.Horace...look I'm not happy with every single critique I get...sometimes I (subjectively) feel that a screeners decision is plain wrong. But I always try to remember that I may not be the best judge of my own material. (And actually I've become a lot better over the years at viewing my own songs in a more objective fashion...thanks to Taxi). I mean no disrespect to you but...well let me just put it this way, I'd rather have my songs screened and critiqued by veteran music industry pros than by some guy that's on here ranting on and on, but won't even let us hear a single one of his supposed "hit songs" because of some "trade secret". My years of being involved in the music business have unfortunately taught me that the vast majority of songwriters who are paranoid about having their material "ripped off" have nothing anybody would ever want to rip off...I sincerely hope you're the exception to this rule and wish you the best in your musical endeavors.matto

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by gunter » Mon Jul 24, 2006 8:45 pm

Quote: A veteran hit writer once said that "for a song to become a hit, stars have to collide".That's the best saying I heard for a long time!

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by Casey H » Tue Jul 25, 2006 4:09 am

Catch more flies with honey... I have to say that whenever someone tells me that TAXI will not acknowledge their complaints and concerns and/or TAXI even suggests they refund their membership fee, it always turns out the party did not address them in a polite and respectful manner.("Acknowledge" does not always mean changing what you want changed)This is not about TAXI, it's about the real business world.Horace, maybe I am reading too much into it, but in your post you referred to the CEO many times as "Laskow" (last name only), not Michael or Mr. Laskow... That projects a nasty tone. (That would NOT be the case speaking to me as "hurowitz" since I use that as my login name).Casey

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Re: Somthing odd? And ranting...Lots of ranting...

Post by toncart » Wed Jul 26, 2006 9:02 pm

I kinda see where horace is coming from though. Speaking from a country music standpoint, if a song is not forwarded because the lyrics were not as "strong" as they could have been, then how in the world does a song like "One Hot Mamma" or "She Thinks My Tractor Is Sexy" or half of the other country hits out there get looked at. Face it, some of the lyrics are just weak in country music songs, but sometimes the song itself (melody, chorus, and structure) is catchy. Is "catchy" a part of the equation at TAXI? I hope so, because I'm better at being "catchy" than being "Shakespere".

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