Page 1 of 2 Should I?

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 11:20 am
by joshhowatt
Hi Everyone,
So I've heard some things about (both good and bad), and am considering signing up. However, what I understand from others is that though my songs themselves may be ready to pitch, the quality of my production may not quite be up to snuff in comparison to what I would be competeing against on I guess my question is: is it worth it lay down the $299 and use what I have (would I be able to compete? - links below), or should I wait until I'm able to fund a professionally done demo (which may very well be never)?
Thanks for any advice.
Josh ... 67660&q=hi

Re: Should I?

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:51 pm
by davewalton
Hi Josh,

You're definitely approaching this in the right way. Usually the "bad" rap on Taxi comes from people who jump in without really looking at the listings or evaluating their music in some way, shape or form. They spend the money first and then later discover "Oops... I don't have the right equipment" or whatever.

I pretty much just do instrumentals so I don't know much about lyrics and such. But, I thought I'd throw out something for your ears to compare in terms of the overall quality of the sounds and samples that you're using. I did (more or less) the opening piano riff from your first track (Photograph) using one of the virtual pianos that I have (QL Pianos)... ... noDemo.mp3

If you'll listen to your opening piano and this one, you'll notice a pretty big difference (and mine isn't even the best of the best). And of course it has nothing to do with composing, musicianship or anything like that. It's just using a higher quality piano sample and is just meant to be an example for your ears in terms of how things need to sound for submitting to the vast majority of Taxi listings.

There's pretty much just two types of songwriter/composers here that have had some measure of success. Either they pay for demos thorugh a recording studio or they have an investment in a home recording studio and do everything themselves. Either approach is fine but the bottom line is that the music that comes out of the process really has to sound top-notch. In many cases it'll be used "as is" and therefore has to be top quality. Even for demos for artists (which will obviously be re-recorded) there's just so many people producing top-quality demos that anything below that CD-quality/broadcast quality really has a hard time making it through.

The cool thing is that while you're deciding on what to do, etc, the forum here is free. You can spend your time here as you head down whatever path you decide to take. Listen to some of the music when people post about their music getting forwarded (past the screeners to the listing company). You'll be hearing where the music needs to be in order to do that.

Hopefully someone else can/would comment on the lyrics and such so that you can get some feedback on the songs themselves, not just the production quality. My opinion is that from a production standpoint, you'd need to invest a bit to upgrade what you have or have the songs professionally demoed. Just one guys opinion though. :D

Hope that helps,


Re: Should I?

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 2:24 pm
by kitchensinkmusic
Hi Josh...Dave is one of our most successful composers and his advice is really spot on. That said your chops are definitely there from a compositional standpoint and your productions are better than some of us here. I invested in a studio and some excellent libraries but 3 years later I still suck - but I'm learning. One thing to keep in mind is that if you can learn to produce a guitar/vocal or piano/vocal track well you're in the running and that doesn't take an extreme investment - especially if you have to pay somebody $40 -$50 an hour just to tweak this or that - which you'll always want to do.

As far as lyric writing goes TAXI is VERY PICKY.


Re: Should I?

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:23 pm
by cardell
Welcome Josh,

I like your work quite a lot!
If you post a few of our tracks in the "Peer to Peer" section of these forums, get some feedback then make a few (relatively minor) changes...I really feel that you'll be well on your way. :)

"I'll never know if I don't step out on that ledge and take that step. I don't wanna run from my shadow wondering what could and might have been" - Until There Was U by Josh Howatt ;)

2012 - the possibilities are endless!


Re: Should I?

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:35 pm
by burpo
I've found that joining Taxi and participating makes you get better,
as opposed to waiting until you get better to join.

The critiques and forum feedback are priceless.

Re: Should I?

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:39 am
by Kolstad
If you can mount the fee, there's absolutely no drawbacks from joining Taxi, it's all good.

Even if you don't get a single forward it's worth the money, if you have a winning attitude, because if you engage sincerely in delivering what the clients/listings want, you will learn tons about what the contemporary requirements are for different genres, uses and markets in the music business. It's about learning-by-doing - for me, that's the real "USP" of Taxi!

You can't get that anywhere else, and if you can deliver what they call broadcast quality (you CAN from a project setup at home, but you will also be pushed to boost your producing skills), you will be forwarded, get deals and get chances to build relationships that can put you in serious business, no matter what level you started out from. And I haven't even mentioned the rally (never attended, sorry).

But, there's simply nothing like Taxi, highly recommended!

Re: Should I?

Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:45 pm
by mojobone
Dave Walton's advice is golden; Burpo added a very good point, as well.

It sounds to me as if you've been paying some attention to Taxi's listings and following the forums a bit already; I listened to Photograph/Don't Leave, (I like the latter title much better, "hook in the title" is a phrase you'll hear a lot) and it seems well-targeted for a Bruno Mars listing, and we do get those. If I were screening, I'd most likely forward this for an artist listing, but probably return it for TV/film, and here's why; you've nailed Bruno Mars' music style, but the production style is slightly weak in just a few areas, like the reverb on the vocal being too large and too wet, a modern production tends to use very little reverb, if any. This might be related to item two, the vocal is slightly weak; I can hear edits, where you would have naturally run out of breath, and it doesn't sound as though you nailed the performance in a single take; you should study up on modern vocal production and work on your edits to make it all appear seamless. (even where it ain't) That's some damn fine singing, (and a great voice, nothing to be ashamed of, so don't hide it behind effects, please) but you need to kick it up a notch, imo; in other words, the vocal performance is demo quality. Item three might make the song slightly iffy, even for an artist pitch; there are some slight prosody problems, where you cram just a few too many syllables into a given melody note. Even for a great singer like Bruno, melisma can only cover so much; I think you should re-write the lyric with an eye toward streamlining it a bit to make it smoother and easier to sing. And as mentioned above, that piano could be better.

All of the above puts you at about the ninetieth percentile, which is really, really good, until you realize that if there are a thousand submissions, there are still a hundred tracks as good or better than yours. If you're up for the challenge, I think you could do very well, cuz you're in a great place for getting better. :D

Re: Should I?

Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:18 am
by Len911
First thing Josh, is that you are not really competing with other taxi members, they don't put a limit on how many songs they forward for a listing. This isn't a competition like American Idol or X-factor,lol! I think there are a few tweaks that could be done to put your songs above great into the hit territory, you definitely have the chops. I don't think your production is as much an issue. I understand the $299 is a large investment at this time for you, and because of that, it doesn't make any sense at all imo to have "professionally done demos". The problem with that is that if you need to make a few tweaks to your songs, you have to spend a pile of dough to get them re-recorded. It makes the $299 look like pocket change. There could be a problem when you say "use what I have", and "my songs are ready to pitch". That implies that you aren't able to do any tweaking to your songs,that they are set in concrete, and any constructive criticism wouldn't be invited or appreciated. As Dave said, the forum is free, and the more time you spend here, and watching the videos and "live" shows the more you will understand and have your question answered yourself.

Re: Should I?

Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:18 am
by joshhowatt
Wow! Thanks everyone for all this feedback.

@Len - I am COMPLETELY open to revisions and whatnot. These songs I've recorded myself in my home studio, so adjustments really aren't all that difficult as far as rerecording. My main concern is that I clearly do not have the production chops that the pros do, and if that's what I'm up against I'm a little intimidated, to be honest. I'm also curious where I can find these videos and "live" shows.

@Mojo - I sincerely thank you for the advice. I agree, I think I was hiding behind the reverb somewhat. My mic is absolute crap, and granted my voice might be decent enough (thanks for the compliments), but I certainly don't think it's radio or studio recording quality. Thanks for the encouragement; as daunting as those numbers sound, it's still a pick me up. :)

@thesongcabinet - thanks for the advice. Let me ask you: so when submitting, does Taxi provide feedback to the artist if it doesn't get forwarded on? If so, how detailed is this advice? I think that alone could be worth the price

@cardell - Thanks Stuart. :) Under which forum category can I post my stuff for listening/critique?

@kitchensinkmusic - Thanks for the advice!!

@ dave - Thanks Dave. Yes, I was assuming that the stuff that gets the most forwards is most likely the stuff that souds the most polished. I'm thinking I'm going to save a bit and take the dive. I really appreciate the comparison, and YES I TOTALLY can hear the difference. I think my sample was from SampleTank; it gets the point across but that's about it. What do you guys suggest if I were to "upgrade?" Or would I be better in the long run having things produced by a demo house?

In the end...thanks everyone for the feedback. It really means a lot. Can I ask if any of you have had any level of succes through Taxi? What does it pay (I'm sure it varies, but would love to hear success stories), how is the payment/credits dividied up, what would you say is your "success rate" as far as submissions and whatnot? Thanks again.

Re: Should I?

Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:36 pm
by brentmagstadt
burpo wrote:The critiques and forum feedback are priceless.
One read through this thread says it all!