MORE Churning: Danger! :UPDATE

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MORE Churning: Danger! :UPDATE

Post by mojobone » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:43 am

I want to let my fellow forumites know that I'm deleting my ReverbNation account and why. There is a trend in the industry that I consider to be very dangerous and potentially hurtful to legitimate businesses like Taxi, and I believe it needs to stop. It started at SonicBids, spread to Music Xray and now ReverbNation is doing it, and it's deceitful. (at least potentially) I'm talking about the practice of publishing listings which songwriters and bands can submit to for a fee and sharing the submission fees with the listing parties. On the face of it, it may seem pretty innocuous; after all, nobody is forcing the acts or writers to part with their hard-earned cash, but the problem is in the incentive it provides to listing parties to simply make sh*t up and collect a chunk of change for it. There was a huge uproar a few years back over SonicBids' customers leaving listings up for months after the listed event took place, continuing to collect submission fees from clueless bands. I have no specific knowledge of any similar dirty dealing at Music Xray or ReverbNation, but the potential exists, and history tells me if it can happen, it will. There is nothing that prevents me, as a publisher and label owner, from running listings with any of these companies, charging bands $10 or more a pop to look at their EPKs and I don't even have to look, because nobody checks up, nobody cares, we all just cash our checks while you, the earnest and trusting singer or songwriter get financially raped.

I'll be moving my public profile to other,more reputable sites, such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud in the coming weeks, and I hope you'll do the same. I also hope you will always, always ask anyone you do business with whether they share submission fees with listing parties and if they do, RUN THE OTHER WAY!
Last edited by mojobone on Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by cardell » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:44 am

mojobone wrote:I'll be moving my public profile to other,more reputable sites, such as Bandcamp and Soundcloud in the coming weeks, and I hope you'll do the same.
I just recently read that Soundcloud & Music Xray are partnering. The comments are well worth reading. :o

Read here: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/06/ ... pad%2FDqMf+(hypebot

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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by mojobone » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:29 am

Especially the comment about using SoundCloud's free APIs? Yes, I find the "partnership" troubling, but I won't be linking any accounts or handing any money to either party, and SoundCloud isn't directly involved in this questionable business practice. I beliieve there is another site, with initials BJ, that also engages in this shady stuff.
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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by admin » Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:32 am

Hi all,

I'm kind of damned if I do and damned if I don't as to this topic. If I leave it up, somebody's going to say I'm letting it stay because it shows a chink in the armor of "competitors." If I take it down, I look like I'm squelching free speech.

Maybe the solution is to keep company names out of it and just talk about the practice of splitting submission fees with the listing parties.

I admit that I'm surprised when I see listings that look "real" and wonder why anybody at any company would open themselves up to getting hundreds of submissions that have not been pre-screened. One of my senior staffers was in a label meeting yesterday and the person she was meeting with admitted that she runs listings with one of those companies because "It helps pay for my assistant." This was an Indie label run by somebody who used to work at a major publisher.

NOBODY in the REAL music industry will go through hundreds of unfiltered submissions. If they got 300 submissions, and they spent just two minutes on each, that's 10 hours to go through them all. And that would be for just ONE listing! If the submission cost $10 and they split the fees with the company, that's $1,500 for saying, "Sure, go ahead and run the listing." It's like printing money, hard to resist.

We had to quit using a screener some years back because he approached another screener in the restroom and said, "We both have great resumes. Why don't we just create a fictional publishing company, run a listing with X company, split the submission fees and laugh all the way to the bank. We don't even have to listen to all that ****, who would know?"

The second screener told me about the conversation, and the screener who tried to hatch the plan was retired from TAXI immediately. His "listings" appear on that company's website all the time. It makes me sick, but for me to go public with this stuff makes it look like I've got an agenda to kill the so-called competition, even though they work with unscrupulous people and the motivation to run dummied up listings is certainly there.

I recently saw some ad agency listings on another site and they had deadlines that went for WEEKS and they published the "fees" as being $20,000-$30,000. I know from 6 years of doing audio post on top Madison Ave. commercials every day (before I started TAXI), that finding music is almost always the last thing they do, and the fees are generally decided upon at the last minute and largely by seeing what's left over in the production budget. My direct contact with lots of Madison Avenue agencies for the last year (for TAXI listings) has certainly confirmed that things still work exactly the same way. That's why virtually all of our ad agency listings have such short deadlines!

So one has to wonder, "If TAXI is getting its ad agency listings DIRECTLY from the agencies and they are almost all panic mode, short turn around times, then how does another company get "ad agency" listings weeks or months in advance and know what the fees will be?"

The answer could be that some unscrupulous person sees that TAXI is running ad listings and decides that's a good idea. So he calls company X, Y, or Z and gives them 5 listings requesting advertising music. The company wants the submission $ and so does the person running the "listings," so they get published. At BEST, that person MIGHT be intending to pitch to the agencies, but is the motivation really there if they can collect THOUSANDS of dollars to make one phone call and simply deposit the money a few weeks later? It's like printing money!

Mojo is right. These practices, which seem to be rampant with other companies could spill over and affect the entire concept of independent A&R. How would the uneducated or uninformed person know the difference between TAXI—which vets listing companies, keeps copious records of all listings requested, pre-screens the music, and keeps all communications with our listing companies on file—how would they know the difference if they don't ask the questions?

Can you name one other "independent A&R" company that has REAL industry experts pre-screening every single piece of music that comes through its doors?

If the labels wanted to get bombarded with tons of unfiltered music, they could simply ask for submissions on their home pages. Obviously, for legal and manpower reasons they don't. Some of the smaller music libraries do, but not Killer, APM or the like. And as I've said before, I keep an email on file from one of those libraries, in which the owner says, "The ratio of what we sign through TAXI VS the stuff we get form the street is about 10:1 in TAXI's favor."

So yes, it's unrealistic to think that people at these companies are curious to see what's out there in unfiltered land, unless motivated by splitting the submission fees. And if they go for that, how do you know that the opportunity was even real?

Thanks for bringing this up Mojo. It's always bothered me that people aren't talking about it, and for me to bring it up would have looked like I did so just to grind an axe.

Thanks,
Michael

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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by mojobone » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:06 am

admin wrote:Hi all,

....that finding music is almost always the last thing they do, and the fees are generally decided upon at the last minute and largely by seeing what's left over in the production budget.
LOL, thank you for confirming what I have long suspected. :lol:
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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by billg1 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:08 am

yeah man, that sharing listing fees with listing companies is just plain wrong! The problem is that some of the opps with these places are bogus and some are not & you should really need use your head (and your gut) to try your best to filter out what seems fishy. But it's really conflicting because I know that the majority of the listings there are bogus, which is really a sad, sucky, slimy way to do business.

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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by sethlit » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:36 am

Thanks for bringing the Reverbnation switch to my attention Mojobone. I too, DO NOT want to support such business practices. Back when I was first trying out one of the companies mentioned earlier, I always wondered what would stop anyone from "providing" a gig opportunity then after taking submission fees, "awarding" the spot to a previously selected friend's band. Not to mention (as Michael pointed out) the ridiculous number of unfiltered submissions that "supposedly" get listened to by the party who created the listing.

It's like we are living in a dangerous Independent A&R Snake Oil era. :D

Not to be redundant...but thanks again Michael for all that you guys do! 3 words: Honesty, Integrity, Opportunity.

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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by billg1 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:12 pm

mojobone wrote:Especially the comment about using SoundCloud's free APIs? Yes, I find the "partnership" troubling, but I won't be linking any accounts or handing any money to either party, and SoundCloud isn't directly involved in this questionable business practice. I beliieve there is another site, with initials BJ, that also engages in this shady stuff.
I would doubt if your last statement was completely true just based on personal experience.

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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by mojobone » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:14 pm

One further note: I have on occasion stumbled on "opportunities" on one or more of these sites, [not mentioning any names] that looked as though they'd been copypasted from Taxi's email newsletter. Michael, I'd suggest copyrighting those emails, and googling quotes from listings from time to time to see who else might be using your words, and for what purpose.
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Re: Churning: Danger!

Post by mojobone » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:17 pm

billg1 wrote:
mojobone wrote:Especially the comment about using SoundCloud's free APIs? Yes, I find the "partnership" troubling, but I won't be linking any accounts or handing any money to either party, and SoundCloud isn't directly involved in this questionable business practice. I beliieve there is another site, with initials BJ, that also engages in this shady stuff.
I would doubt if your last statement was completely true just based on personal experience.
It may no longer be true; I know they did at one time, but we are not allowed to mention them, they're Voldemort, around here.
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