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Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:59 pm
by ckbarlow
A respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

In business, rush jobs cost more. That's pretty much the rule, whether you're talking offset printing or dry cleaning or consulting work; you name the trade or professional service, and you can count on there being a surcharge for "ASAP" response times.

So I'm curious: Do TAXI's Dispatch-listing clients pay more? Secondly, since we as composer/musicians are the service providers (along with TAXI), why do we pay more for Dispatch listings when the "rush" aspect is utterly and completely the client's issue?

I want to reiterate that I'm trying to pose these questions as respectfully as possible. Surely TAXI has its reasons; I'd just like to understand what they are. As it stands now, with me knowing the little that I do from the member/musician side of things, it seems backward that I would pay more. Seems like the burden should be on the client who requested the rush job.

As testament to my open mind on this question, I'll add that a compelling answer from someone at TAXI might get me to spring for the Dispatch upgrade next time I see a listing that's a good fit.


Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:31 pm
by jfraizer
Great question CK and your inquiry is stated very well.

I wonder also....

Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 7:04 am
by Casey H
I'll leave the explanations about Taxi's business model and fee structure to Michael but I just wanted to mention that (my understanding is) Taxi's listing parties do not pay to run listings. So the onus being on them to pay more for rush jobs doesn't fit here. Taxi has full time A&R staff seeking out listings for their members. Don't forget, there is not exactly a shortage of good music out there with today's home recording technology. Taxi has to seek out new listing parties who already are getting tons of music thrown at them, convince them to run listings, and win them over with the quality of the forwards.

:) Casey

Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:32 am
by mazz
I agree that it "should" work that way in the music business (client has emergency and expects to pay top dollar for professional work in a hurry). The reality, from my experience so far, has been somewhat different.

For instance, the daytime TV show gig: The client (big name production company that likes to throw their weight around) has a brilliant idea at the last minute for a special show and puts out the call for special music. They may only call one or two providers at first, but it's in their best interest to cast a wider net, and because they are who they are, there are hundreds of composers who would drop what they're doing to do a rush job for these folks. In fact, just to get their name on their resume, these composers will do it for nothing or next to nothing. And if you're one of the first call providers, knowing this, are you going to ask for a premium on your time knowing that they will just go elsewhere, where there is a line of composers waiting to work on this last minute gig? I'm not saying it's right, but it's a glamor business (from the outside anyway) and people want to be in it, to the point where they'll completely devalue their music, and by association the others of us who provide it, just to land a (seemingly) prestigious gig. Of course, the carrot of the back end royalties dangling in front of the composer's face is always in play, and is a valid consideration here. Your plumber doesn't get a royalty every time you flush the toilet that they came out at 3AM to fix!! :o

It's supply and demand and there's much more supply than demand and unfortunately there's no license or testing one has to go through to hang up a shingle to be a composer so any joe with a laptop can charge 10 bucks for a piece of music. Unfortunately, as a group, we've done it to ourselves to a certain extent. To be honest, I say yes any time one of these gigs comes along and I think I can juggle it with my day gig. My goal is to get my name more recognized within the production company, so I'm just a culpable as anyone in this!!

So for Dispatch, it's designed as an "upgrade" for composers who either can write quickly to specs, or already have a sizeable back catalog that they can draw from quickly. But the clients are still in the power position here, at least until the composer reaches the level where they have some clout and actually having that composer's music in their show would be good for the show's reputation. Most of us, unfortunately, aren't there yet.

Also, if most of the regular listings were quick turnaround, it would be very difficult for many members to ever get anything submitted just due to the time it takes to get something done, for whatever reason.

So if you're already a pro and can write quickly (which you are on both counts), Dispatch is actually a good investment, because there will, by nature of the quick turnaround, be less competition, at least from within TAXI. If the client needs something quickly, it's possible that they've exhausted their regular channels and are getting desperate. If you can deliver to them what they need in a hurry, you might become one of their "go to" people.

I've had some good success from Dispatch listings.

Probably not a good answer to your question, but that's been my experience and perspective, for what it's worth.


Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:52 am
by ckbarlow
mazz wrote: Probably not a good answer to your question, but that's been my experience and perspective, for what it's worth.


On the contrary, a very good answer, and very sensible. I'm a logic-driven kinda gal, and your response makes perfect sense. I have paid up for Dispatch before and likely will again (that "sinister" forward was a Dispatch listing, I think....) if something suitable comes up. Your explanation makes me feel a little better. I remember my gigging days in Boston -- the bottom line was that it was virtually a "pay to play" environment because there were more than 2,000 *registered* original-music bands (so there were probably really 4,000), and just 10 or so clubs willing to host them. Same idea.


Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:12 pm
by mazz
And I think TAXI is very fair with their membership structure with Dispatch. It's pro-rated so you don't have to join until a listing comes up that you want to submit to, at that point you pay whatever would be left for the year. That's what I've been doing and it's just fine for me.

If you think of TAXI as music business school and that you're really only a few degrees of separation from actual music business real world stuff as a member, the cost of tuition is pretty cheap, even if you join for several years. Imagine how much one Berklee class costs, and you still have to do your own promotion (and/or join TAXI anyway) if you want to get that close to potential deals.

Logically it makes sense to me too!!

Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:51 pm
by ckbarlow
No doubt -- and funny you'd bring up the Berklee comparison. Maybe you heard me mention it, but I spent my "downtime" at last Nov's Rally working on a song-analysis paper for a Berklee class! Critical Listening 1. Did wonders for my ears. For credit, $1300. I got $1000 of that in a grant from UNM, where I teach, but still... All in, I spent more on that class than on a two-year TAXI membership. What I always tell people is that at $150/year, it's about the same as the Sunday NY Times! And, uh, better for the environment, and more fun! yeah!

Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:38 am
by jlizerbram
Thanks, Mazz for answering CK's question - I posted a similar question yesterday, but deleted it because CK worded the question much more respectfully than I did! It was definitely a hard question to word with tact! My question was more specific to Music Libraries and Dispatch. I've seen some very enticing Dispatch listings come through recently from music libraries. I wanted to know why some music libraries request music through Dispatch, while other music library listings can wait a month or so to receive very similar type music. Your answer is starting to make sense to me now, why Dispatch works for both composer and production library.

I would like to request from Michael, perhaps during one of his broadcasts through UStream, his take on Dispatch and it's relationship to music production companies.

Thanks again,


Re: Respectful inquiry re: the Dispatch model

Posted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 12:03 pm
by ckbarlow
I just joined last night to get after that Epic Instrumental listing.

I want every chance I can get, and yes, it was another $140, which not everyone can just throw at this stuff. So maybe that reasoning doesn't work for everyone, but it's my reasoning right now.