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Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:39 am
Ya know. I'd like to raise a stink. But, I'm not sure you'd understand. I am very disappointed so far, though. I honestly wonder if I didn't spend $300 that should've gone toward my medical bills instead.
Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:48 am
$300 doesn't put much of a dent in medical bills tho, does it?
Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:43 pm
C'mon Steve! I don't mean to be a jerk. But, have you ever been poor, or nearly so. That $300 could also have meant an electric bill, fuel to warm us last winter, more groceries. That $300 was hard earned from a simple laborer's standpoint. And, yeah, $300 would have paid off one or two of my smaller medical bills, which means fewer of those pink envelopes saying, "Your account is now considered delinquent", even when we've just sent them a check.
Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:44 pm
Quote:Ya know. I'd like to raise a stink. But, I'm not sure you'd understand. I am very disappointed so far, though. I honestly wonder if I didn't spend $300 that should've gone toward my medical bills instead. Well, let's be honest here. I've been a member of Taxi since June of 2004, and doubt very much that anyone on this board has had as many returns as I have. Sincerely. I've had to borrow the money to pay for my membership (and I still owe that wonderful friend for their trust & belief in me), and sometimes, in the first couple of years, I had to call my credit card co to double check I could cover the cost of submitting another song. I've been frustrated and angry with my lack of success many times in the past 3 years. Like many others, I thought my music was wonderful when I joined. And it was good in the sense of it expressing something in me. But it certainly wasn't commercial. I submitted my stuff to all kinds of listings (whether it fit what I had or not), and was stunned at all the returns. I still often shoot wide of the mark & I can tell the screeners are thinking but I hope they will be patient enough to listen to the next submission anyway. (When I send in something really good I imagine them standing up and yelling "hey - finally a decent piece from Hummingbird" and the whole place cheers )Even now, I'm not sure what commercial is in terms of hit songs for the next big artist, but I do know this: pitching potential, commercially viable hit songs to artists is the most competitive and difficult things a songwriter can do. You are competing against all the pros who write full time... the Jason Blumes, the Diane Warrens, the Ralph Murphy's, et al. Your demo doesn't have to be perfect - but it does have to be good. Your song has to kick ass. I mean, if it took Jason Blume years of living on $10,000 a year (and getting down on his knees begging to be retained as a staff writer for yet another year) to finally pen that first big hit... why would it be any different for the rest of us?In any case... let's talk about being led astray. All Taxi can promise you is the opportunity to submit to listings. Matto said it better than me a while back: ....it's not up to Taxi to assess your capacity to produce commercial work before you join. You have to figure that out on your own. You can use the critiques as a way to learn, and the forum as a way to grow. And if you are unhappy - just call Taxi in the morning - they will refund your money, no questions asked. Do what you need to do, Walter -- take care of yourself first. It's okay to rant - we all do - but take action if you need to.If you can, I suggest perhaps checking out SongU. They offer on-line courses in all aspects of songwriting and the business of songwriting, and you might find their courses helpful. They also offer instructor feedback. I think you can join for free for a trial period to try it out.Don't know if that helps at all. I do understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, from all I've learned, success in songwriting requires long term dedication, willingness to listen & learn, willingness to get back up and try again, and a few truck loads of patience.lvHummin'bird
Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:17 pm
Quote:In any case... let's talk about being led astray. All Taxi can promise you is the opportunity to submit to listings. Matto said it better than me a while back: ....it's not up to Taxi to assess your capacity to produce commercial work before you join. You have to figure that out on your own.Kind of piggy-backing on what Aub said earlier, there's no real way to prepare for the realities of the music industry in general, how much time it takes for things to happen, the "bar" you have to rise to for the various opportinities, what's "current", what works, what doesn't, etc.I know Taxi isn't going to be hiring me as their Vice-President of Marketing anytime soon, but the value of Taxi in the ads is focused on the deal whereas I believe that the value of Taxi is the learning process that leads up to the deal, the whole Taxi thing with the critiques, the Rally, the forum, etc . Like Vikki, it's been a real transformation from my first Taxi submission to what I submit today although I still have a long way to go.I don't report a whole lot of this stuff that I get outside of Taxi but I just finished the film score for my twelfth film, working on number thirteen at the moment and have films fourteen through seventeen waiting in the wings. Now most of these are low budget "shorts", films running anywhere from three to thirty minutes long, but the experience I got with those made it so that I was ready when a nice Taxi opportunitity came my way. So it doesn't always translate directly like "Membership Fee -> Taxi Deal". Sometimes it's the long way around.One thing for sure, getting a grip on the music business is like trying to pick up little puddles of mercury. Without the forum here and all the advice, postings, rants, etc, getting even the most rudimentary understanding of "how the industry works" would be impossible.DavePS - One thing that's changed around here... Matto used to be the only guy on the forum with a Taxi deal. Now he's got LOTS of company.
Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:32 pm
Quote:One thing for sure, getting a grip on the music business is like trying to pick up little puddles of mercury. What a great quote!!! (although you may wish to note -- mercury is extremely toxic.)
Posted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:38 pm
Quote:C'mon Steve! I don't mean to be a jerk. You're not a jerk, but I have recently been called an asshole. Quote:But, have you ever been poor, or nearly so. Walt, I have played piano all my life, it's been my only income. Do you really think those of us here, on this Taxi forum (for ALL of us wannabees) are strangers to being poor or destitute? 5 years ago, my wife and I declared bankruptcy. So yeah, we've been poor. I've also learned along the way that poor, is a state of mind for me, not a bank balance. Both the love I have for my family and my love for music, keep me within an arm's reach of God's abundance. He still slaps me with reality backhanders, fairly often. Your situation is deeper and scarier than anything I have imagined could happen to me, yet. But I'm no spring chicken. I expect to have another 15 years to make my mark, if I'm lucky. Quote:That $300 could also have meant an electric bill, fuel to warm us last winter, more groceries. That $300 was hard earned from a simple laborer's standpoint. And, yeah, $300 would have paid off one or two of my smaller medical bills, which means fewer of those pink envelopes saying, "Your account is now considered delinquent", even when we've just sent them a check.I would bet Michael will give you a refund, if you really want out. As far as I'm concerned, $300 isn't really that steep a price for me personally, to find if my dream of making a living with my studio can happen. I didn't have any other way to find out if my shite was any good. But we are in different situations, you and me, because I write, play, sing, and record talented friends. And I'm kinda feeling like I'm riding my wave into the future. I guarantee you I have been laughed out of more banks than you have! I have lived many years without a car, my family w 3 kids hasn't bought a house yet- many things we do without. So what. This is my dream. And honestly, getting to know you, and feeling inspired by your story, and your comments about one of my songs, that is also part of the dream. There's a place in my heart for you. What I can tell you, is that I have been very cautious about sharing my feelings about Taxi's marketing methods. And I am really only starting to understand what high-bar means. I've spent least $1000 on submissions since Dec 2006, with 2 contracts and no return on my investment. The only person that I have never seen disenchanted with Taxi is Matto. That's obviously for good reasons. I do wish there was a place where we could see the intimate details of a few success stories. Imagine a forum thread that was a kind of song growth journal, all the advice, how it was recorded, the forward it got, how it got used, and how much money a piece of music earned. Would information like that that discourage new members from joining? I don't really know. Taxi is certainly not a Get Rich Quick Club. As songwriters, we hear the stories about how much song X earned, and we drool a bit - like we're gonna win that lottery.The truth is - you are making music, and competing for attention. So your music has to be better than GOOD. If you're just doing songwriting guitar/vocal demos - you better have a freaking killer singer and awesome acoustic guitar track. If you're submitting to Hip Hop listings, everything has to be almost perfect sounding, then it still has to be perfect for the listing... I now believe if you're submitting to country listings, they better be done in Nashville or these screeners are gonna tell you to do just that. I would imagine every listing category is very clearly defined in the minds of the screeners, but I shoot the darts pretty wide sometimes. There are a lot of quality issues that don't get acknowledged or clearly explained, in terms that really make sense, until we hit the rejection wall. Then you (and I too) rant, 'til we are forced to face the facts from our cohorts here, and those nasty screeners. Are you pissed at Taxi, because they should have told you not to spend the $300? You DO have a fair amount to be angry about lately. If you're angry because creating great sounding music is expensive, for a non-musician/non-producer/non-engineer, you're still learning stuff that is essential to making money with music. All of those jobs have to be done, by someone capable of doing a great job. I have spent my whole life entertaining by playing music in front of people. Many were high pressure gigs, some were loaded out of my tree gigs, some were challenging just to keep up with the other musicians. And quite a few gigs, have recently been so boring I wonder why I even bother anymore. But every gig's music went into my soul, and helped me prepare my internal library for today's marketplace. I've been making up songs and recording them for 20 years, probably over 1000 by now. You are competing with lifers like me, Walter. You are competing with every Taxi member, for the attention of screeners whose job it is to turn away music that is unacceptable to their needs. So if you're telling us that Taxi should have told you you weren't ready to spend the cash, how would you even have figured that out without spending the dough? Did you do any due diligence to post songs on this forum before you joined Taxi? Who convinced you that joining Taxi was a great idea for YOU? Well, you did. The same as everyone else here. We can't blame the fact that we chose to spend money, on a pretty clear-headed service that wades through very murky water. This post is simply in the spirit of long posts that Aub has started today. You and I have no quarrel whatsoever. I just thought it was time to tell you a little about the way I see things. Spending $300 can be a drag, in any circumstances when you don't feel like you're getting your money's worth. I just don't know of a BETTER training ground for learning about what kind of music earns cash, and how good it needs to be. When you write a lyric and/or melody that I dig, I'll be happy to put it to music, if you like. I just haven't seen it yet. Then, you might even find out that I suck, as a collaborator. kick ass daily, don't waste your time on anything that doesn't give you joy
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:53 am
Outstanding Responses from all...Walter...trust me...we are all in the same boat, and mine is as leaky as yours...we all get discouraged some times...but I hear the music in my head and know that I'm on the right road fer me...where ever it goes.I do hope ye read these responses.The clarity and honesty from these people are pure gold.
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:54 am
WaltFirst, as always, I wish you the best with your health issues. I have a good feeling you can beat this thing.Unfortunately, making and pitching music is an expensive venture no matter how you slice it. You either have costs for home studio equipment or costs for demo services. And then there is the cost of pitching services like TAXI, tip sheets, and others.If joining TAXI was a mistake for you, ask for a refund. If this is your first year, they (as far as I know) will honor their guarantee.Since you are a non-performer like some others here (me too), you have some challenges. You do need better demos. I suggest you seek out collaborators who can co-write and also produce the demos. I listened to your Americana track ("In America") and thought the song was pretty good. However, the demo quality was too poor to use. I couldn't even make out the words. There's a song for which you might collab. on some lyrics, work with the co-writer on the demo, and pitch it on your own. I could see pitching it to conservative radio and TV talk shows, local stations, etc. They might eat something like that up.I see you've already had at least one collab. offer right here on the board. I'm sure there will be others too.Feel free to contact me any time. Warm regards,Casey
Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 5:20 am
Folks, I'm truly sorry if I sound bitter. The critiques have helped. But, I guess I'm shot as far as any real chance at getting a song out there through Taxi (Hold on a minute!!). I can't afford a killer singer. I would feel terrible about using someone's services, Steve, without being able to pay them. Yet, I wish I could find someone to sit down with, go over bunches of my songs, decide what's TRULY good material then work on it together. But, that hasn't happened. We are in way over our heads with the medical bills and the insurance company is fighting us tooth and nail. I could die, go blind, have a stroke or any number of things a growth on the brain could cause( Not to mention everywhere else it's infiltrated). They've got my money and don't want to provide the service I pay them for. Another fun part is watching my wife as she feels the weight of alot of this stress because it is happening to me, her husband. She's afraid of losing me; She's feeling helpless as she watches me go through test after test; She's watching the bills pile up; She's watching our chances of saving any money for retirement blow right out the window. Man!!, that's killing me. In my eyes, she didn't sign on for this. But, she sticks by my side, wonderful, strong, faithful woman that she is.I am absolutely desperate. I see the potential for music to help in bailing us out, as well as winning the lottery . Yes. I have put this in God's hands. I just don't know how to stop meddling(sp?) and give up control.You're right. Maybe I am taking my frustrations out on Taxi. I apologize for that. But, I really do feel lost in all this. It's so much, and I'm so confused. I'm so tired of fighting the insurance co..I just E-Mailed Hummingbird and told her I would continue to try until my membership runs out. I only have the five songs to go on. But, I don't know if we can muster $200 to continue after that. Hell! It's hard enough to muster the strength it takes to get out of bed. Okay, that's feeling sorry for myself and is a no-no.I've made a long story longer and need to stop. But, please accept my apologies for picking on Taxi.