Music Composers Unite!
Paying to get your music heard seems the world upside down to me...
Yet another scam trying to rob poor musicians. I'd stay far away from it.
Well in the 10+ years I have been releasing music I never ever had to pay anyone to get 'valuable' feedback. My publisher pays me in advance, not the other way around, and that's the way it should be.
Paying $ 300 just to have some random 'a&r' give you some insights still sounds like a scam to me, the general mindset in the industry is random anyways, I once presented the same track to a label with a year in between and didn't change anything about it. The first time it was 'not bad' , the second time they loved it... These were the same people I worked with for years already but like anyone else they let their mood influence their decisions.
Feedback about technical topics could be valuable to a beginner I guess, to get to know what the 'professional' sound really is and what dirty psychological mixing tricks you can use to blow an a&r out of his chair. Once you reach a professional level though it's more a matter of finding the right place at the right moment.
So Chris, did you ever earn those dollars back from them ?
You do have a point indeed. When I started my music carreer the early signs of the current situation where already surfacing but it was still possible to 'get in' the traditional way .
When I was 18 I was producing electronic dance music and through a combination of people I happened to know and I guess a good portion of luck I ended up at my first label and publisher. A few years later I got signed to another label because of 2 tracks I sent them by email... I still can't believe I got in that way. That's why I said it's all about the right place at the right time.
Nowadays I talk to so many young producers in the scene who when they finally get some attention by a label or publisher get rip off deals and doing things like remixes for free etc. And now I started venturing beyond the borders of the electronic scene I see a similar situation everywhere . I always get a bit agitated when I see services like taxi.com or others that are using this grim situation for their own profit, maybe it's not a scam but it's also not something I agree with at all. I do understand the need for something like this of course but I think the best networks are the ones you build slowly yourself. I don't think shortcuts like taxi.com are a real solution... I wish it was easier but a modern composer/producer/musician just needs to have some social skills as well and develop a good nose for oppurtunities.
So long story short, I certainly understand the attraction of something like taxi.com and I may have been a bit too harsh about it but I have seen too much nasty behaviour in the music business already to not be suspicious.
I'm not a Taxi member, but I do follow their listings and watch their live video via ustream.tv that Michael Laskow puts on every Monday. I find that most of their guest's (Kavin Hoo, Kara DioGuardi, etc.) information valuable and interesting. You can go to ustream.tv and search for "Taxi Music" and watch their previous shows and see for yourself.
Also, if you get on their mailing list, they will email you when their listings are updated (twice/month) and you will receive some listings that they are expediting -- directly to your email as the one below that I received today:
I thought I'd insert it since you were interested in "instrumentals" -- which this is. What I've seen over the last few months is that they have a mix of listings in various genres, but they do seem to have a number of them.
Also, they do has an "A+" Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) rating and they are a member of that organization.
Now, to keep from sounding like a promoter for Taxi -- again, I am NOT a member or affiliated with them in anyway. I'm just an 50 yr old banker/exec type trying to figure out how to make some $$ with my music.
I'm still getting my studio and workflow together, so I'm not ready. But I do plan to try taxi as part of my strategy to break into the business. And in reality..., I've probably gotten $300 in value already -- just from taxi TV. And, as I recall, they do offer a 12 month 100% money back guarantee.
I'm not saying that taxi is for you and I certainly don't know anyone who has made $$ from it. But for someone new who is trying to learn this "morphing" and dynamic business -- it has been a great resource -- and it has cost me NOTHING -- other than my time.
Now... since this is my first post on this forum -- I hope they don't kick me off for providing my opinion (that has the flavor of advertising) about Taxi. :)
Hope this helps, and sorry for the lengthy response.
All the best,
Thanks, guys, for your insights into the current state of the music business.
People have access to technology and become so infatuated with the sounds they can get and immediately think, "this should be out there!" I mean, it used to be that we had to hire an orchestra or band, but now, anybody can make a very close approximation of sounds that used to be out of reach for most people. It seems similar to what happened when pianos first became available to the general public: suddenly everyone could play their own "symphonic" sounding pieces and although they usually played music already written by well-known composers, plenty of innovative home grown music resulted. But they also had to spend years and years gaining the skills to play decently, whereas now, even that isn't necessary, and the Fear of Performing factor doesn't even need to hold anyone back.
It will indeed be fascinating to see how it all sifts out. I kind of like the more egalitarian nature of things, but I also think (and maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy) that a deep training on one or more instruments, and an understanding of music theory and composition still counts for something. I mean, music can explore deeply in multiple directions and mastering technological sound is just one of those directions.
As for the business of music, I find it extremely baffling. Lucky for me, people still want piano/composition lessons, but it's not like I'm swimming in money, either.
I too joined Taxi for a year but decided not to renew as I only had one licensing placement. However I now have the 'ears' of the company which licensed my track (an instrumental) and I can deal directly with them for any future tracks so in that respect it wasn't a complete waste of money.
I would say for someone just starting out who has a large catalogue of pieces and some spare cash, it may be worthwhile but as ever it's a crowded market and you do need a fair amount of luck.
It's best to join up if you have a lot of tracks ready to go and then wait for a suitable listing.
There is a company called musicdealers.com who do the same sort of thing but for no fee. They just split 50/50 on any revenue that their placing generates.
It's all a bit 'needle in a haystack' but if you've got tracks ready there's nothing to lose. You can always pull the track if someone else looks interested.
Generally I'm a bit dubious about this route and you are probably better off contacting people on twitter and pointing them to a bunch of your tracks on a website.
Like any area of the arts, it's a lot about who you know and who the people you know, know.
I always think the writing is the easy bit!
The thing about music is that different kinds need different skills.
You can be a dance music icon without knowing a G sharp from a No 10 bus. Or do an oscar winning film 'score' without ever seeing a sheet of manuscript.
If you plan to compose for the concert hall you can expect to make nothing.
It's all about what people want and who can give it them.
Hi Brian -
Thanks for your input. I did see those listings, and that was the first thing that I was wondering about, because the music I write doesn't sound like anything they were advertising for. I was actually wondering if there was a niche I could fill with my more "classically" composed pieces.
I have send them several emails with questions but never had any reaction. I wonder if the people of their A&R service are dumb, deaf and blind chimps with smartphones(which they can't handle) or if they are just a small company abusing the rights of composers and musicians.
I don't trust them.
In case anyone is interested -- I just received the Taxi TV LIVE email. They put this on almost every week. I typically find it helpful. I have no idea who "Kevin Houlihan" is, but maybe some of you in the business may know of him.... Hope you enjoy:
By popular demand, we're doing another show where we screen music that came in for one of our recent listings. This time we'll be joined by Kevin Houlihan, one of our top Film and TV screeners!
See you at 4pm (PDT) / 7pm (EDT) TODAY!!!
Click this link to watch the live show:
Years ago I was sitting in my then A&R guys office at Interscope. I noticed a huge box filled with CDs in the corner with "Taxi" written on the box. He told me they send a tremendous amount of CDs out to all the labels etc... and no one really listens mainly because of time issues.
I don't pay for love, and I don't pay for listeners.