Answered by: Michael Laskow
I recently had my song "Her Choice" returned by TAXI for a Country listing.

The song received all "9s" in every category.

I would like to see that when a song is this close to being forwarded that it goes before a panel of five other reviewers for a majority vote.

The feedback was helpful and may or may not be needed, and I think other reviewers may have passed the song on. One opinion may not be enough.

This is not my first time having this happen. I have another song, "Minivan," that received all "10s" in every category and still was returned. I also have submitted the same song twice to the same listing and one reviewer returned it and the other forwarded it.

I'm not complaining, just putting in a suggestion.


Thanks for your time and consideration.
Joe Piasecki


Dear Joe,

I love your question because it gives me the chance to answer a question that I'm sure is on many other members' minds as well.

Without having the critiques in hand it's a little bit hard for me to answer this, but I can tell you that most of the time when a question like this hits my desk and I review the situation, I find that while the song may have been really good, it might not have been right on target for what the listing asked for. That being said, it's also worth noting that we don't forward or return songs based on the numerical scores, those are only a reference point. There are plenty of times that a song may score some "4s" and "5s" and still get forwarded for a TV request because we know the bar is often lower for those and the subject matter of that particular song was ideally suited for what the TV show needed. TV shows will frequently just take a line or two, or maybe a chorus, from a song, and put those in the show, or even a film, and they don't really care about the overall song as much.

However, if the listing request is for a major star – let's say, Faith Hill – even though the song scored all "9s," we don't forward it because the song could be about a subject that Faith Hill might not want to talk about. For example, a song about wife beating or possibly abortion could hypothetically be subjects that an artist like Faith Hill, who is big on family values, might find too controversial.

As always, we're very happy to review your particular circumstance with the songs you mentioned in your letter, and I would suggest that you contact our head of A&R, Chris Baptiste, to look at the particulars of your situation more closely.

Warm regards,

Michael



I might join TAXI. My songs may be hard to classify in any one genre. Do your people listen to them and recommend a genre, or is it up to me to pick a genre for each song?

Jon Remmerde

Dear Jon,

Ah yes… another "Dear Jon" letter ;-)

We actually do have a way for our members to find out what genres their songs best fit. It's called the Custom Critique. These are more in-depth critiques than one would normally get from submitting toward a regular TAXI listing, and all you need to do on the submission form is make a note asking the screener to suggest the genre that he or she feels best suits the song.

However, and this is a big however, the people that you're competing with are not your friends, or other TAXI members. Your competitors are the people who are currently on the charts. Those are the people that you're trying to knock out of the box, and in order to do that, you need to know what they know and be better than they are. I think it's a safe bet that virtually all of the top songwriters and artists who are on the charts today know what genres their songs fit into. Unfortunately, the music business isn't only about music, it's also about the business. And in order to compete in this business, you have to know all the rules and regulations just as you would if you wanted to quarterback an NFL team in the Super Bowl. We make it easy for you to learn more about genres by looking at the TAXI Listings in the genre sub-heads area. You will notice a link that says, "Click here to reference artists." You can look at the list of artists that we use as "a la's" and click links that will take you to Amazon.com where you can easily listen to samples of their music. Our members tell us this feature has been a tremendous help. The reason the music industry cares so much about what genre songs are in is easily explained by the formats of radio stations. Obviously, we've got Rock, Pop, Country, Urban, Adult Contemporary, etc. The people at labels are much more likely to sign an artist or use a song that fits clearly into a format that works at radio. The bottom line is that if your music falls between the cracks and doesn't work well within the industry's pigeonholes, you're really hurting your chances of having success.

I know this can be frustrating for artists and songwriters because they're creative people who just want to create great music and not live by the confines of some dip-wad sitting in an ivory tower. But sadly, if we want to play ball with them, we've got to play by their rules and on their playing field. I truly wish that musicians could simply create what they love and not have to worry about the rules and regs, but unfortunately, I don't own the entire music industry. But I promise to give you a call when I buy it. :)

Happy New Year!

Michael



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