I understand your frustration, but just keep in mind that there are always two sides to every story.
*personal opinion time here, so moderator hat off for a sec*
Now I'm not personally involved in the RBN scene, being a PS3 player and living in Europe and all, and know nothing beyond what has been said in this thread, but I do know and like several authors from different authoring companies from their presence on these forums. Noble is a righteous dude, and I can understand his frustration because tracks he and his group have worked hard on are stuck in peer review limbo. That's no fun at all, especially when all you want is to enhance the play experience of other RB players by getting new bands into the game with barely any profit for yourself.
But on the other hand, and this is a big but (and I cannot lie), from my own work experience I can relate to and understand any for-profit authoring group that has an issue with the way TAG does things as well. Cool Story Bro time:
I'm a an independent translator by trade, and although I've found myself a nice niche to work in that provides a steady source of income, when I just started out I was mostly dependent on small businesses for projects (the big clients are already scooped up by big translation agencies, and I wanted to stay independent). The problem with small businesses, however, is that they almost never calculate translation costs into their budgets, and tended to balk at the rates I was charging (which were about average when compared to other independents and agencies). Then came the second part of the problem: there's always someone in any small business that knows 'a guy' who 'speaks a little German/French/English/Russian/Etc' who's willing to do it on the cheap. Now the quality of these 'amateur' translations not only tends to be pretty poor (as any decent translator will be able to tell you, knowing a second language and speaking two languages well enough to accurately translate any meaning, subtext or idiom thrown at you are two very different things), but what's worse is that it perpetuates the line of thought in small businesses that you don't need a professional to get a decent translation done, and in some cases forces professionals industry-wide to lower their rates to a point where they're really not being compensated fairly for their efforts. It's easy to charge a pittance when it's something you only occasionally do on the side, but when it's your sole source of income, it's another matter.
What that lengthy yarn was meant to illustrate is that even when you're doing 'amateur work' (which is in no way a dig at any quality standards of TAG, mind) for the noblest of intentions, it most likely will have a very real effect on the music industry's perception of what the authoring of a track is worth, which in turn affects those charters that do want to make money with their work and do have a profit margin to think about. Because even if TAG doesn't need to make a profit for what they do, they'll have to realize and respect that there are other charting groups that do.
In the end, nobody benefits from boycotts and/or rates that are too low: both give the impression that RBN charting is an amateurish affair that might not be worth a band/label's time and effort. I think that rather than airing any dirty laundry on public forums, all authoring groups would be better served by having a private discussion amongst themselves and working out a compromise that suits everyone. And such a compromise might have to include the raising of rates up to a point where some bands/labels will simply say no. That's a shame in individual cases, but in the long run I think it will be better for RBN charting as a whole and the way it's perceived by the outside world.
While I agree, Der_Lex, I think that having a low-charging person in the RBN scene would only negatively affect the bigger guys if they were allowing people who WOULD pay over $1000 for a song to do it for dirt cheap, rather than allowing independent musicians who are saying "I cannot do it for $1000, but if someone will charge me less, I'd be happy to put my music in"
Learning a lot here. I thought most charting companies worked on commission by earning a percentage of the sales, with little to no payment from the artist. I guess all those comments about artists being "hesitant" make a lot more sense when a down payment is involved.
Help me keep track of any price changes of RBN Songs in this thread:
I understand that some people want to make this their major income and make money from it, but I personally fully support TAG's choice to offer the lowest rates possible to get bands who otherwise might not have been interested or couldn't afford the sometimes extremely high prices (just going off prices I've heard).
For instance, if I would have been told it would have cost even $100 upfront for me to have "Stereo Stereo" done and put up it would have not been worth it for me. Even with the great rate TAG gave me I have not made $100 yet. Heck I haven't gotten any money yet at all (ahem, buy TAG tracks so I can finally get paid! Thanks.)
I Am King Tony - "Stereo Stereo" available on RBN!
IAmKingTony @ Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter
I feel like this issue comes about because of the 70/30 RBN profit split... when that last 30% is split between the authoring company, the band, and the record label (in some cases), I don't understand how anybody can make any money at all here. Not trying to veer the thread off topic with that, I'm just saying that this situation leaves me with tremendous sympathy for the people trying to make their authoring company profitable, but at the same time it just seems to make more sense as a hobby than as a job, so I completely relate to the cheap-as-free hobbyist people as well. Hopefully they can work something out.
And I wonder if Noble should change his name back now? Just to ease confusion, if nothing else.
You will never get a compromise that suits all parties, just the ones at hand. It's a market with competitive stakes (each company, especially the ones depending upon the income, has interest in its own survival/success). It would be impossible to find rates and fees that everyone can agree on, mostly due to the artist's themselves and the author's background/lifestyle.
A hobbyist may chart for the fun of working with the music, and doesn't look for the money. Because of this, they may attract enthused indie musicians who mainly seek to display their music in a new media, but cannot pay for the costs of some of the larger authoring companies. It's because of these small authors and companies, that even the smallest of indie artists can get a chance of getting into Rock Band. By their ethics, these authors will not want to charge higher rates, and you cannot force them to.
And this of course will anger the occasional larger authors/companies on occasion. These low-rate authors can be stealing away their potential bands and paychecks, especially with larger artists, bands, labels. This is not saying that the large authors are greedy, but instead dedicated to the system so much that they are relying on it to put bread on the table.
The Rock Band Network is not a large industry. It will not make anyone rich beyond their wildest dreams. To some, it's a hobby. To others, it's a job capable of providing for their own well-being and survival. We all author on different levels of involvement, and we all have different goals in RBN. You cannot change the views, ambitions, or ethics of others, and it's foolish to try. As authors, we need each other for the system to flourish. We may not know it, but the larger companies rely upon the smaller companies to some extent, and vice-versa.
Boycotts won't accomplish anything, except making the problem worse. Blacklisting other companies, will only cause tension between authors and lead to problems down the road. You may like the methods of another company, and that's because you don't understand the reasons of said company. We're not all cut from the same cloth, and we don't have the same ethics and goals.
Personally, I have no problem with publicly airing your problems. I don't necessarily agree with it, and I do find it more unprofessional than private discussions with the targeted parties, but I don't have a problem with it. Just don't complain if the problem gets worse and the public reacts aggressively towards you or the targeted party, because that's exactly what you're expecting.
As someone who is involved heavily in RBN I would like to comment. Please keep in mind I only represent myself and my band so this in no way represents the entire RBN community. Noble, I feel the negative picture you are painting of the RBN community is somewhat biased and not particularly beneficial to your situation. The "authoring companies" you refer to in the "hostile RBN environment" are very hard working people that have played a large part in keeping RBN alive over the past year. They are some of the best and most talented people at charting content for RBN. I have learned a great deal from their feedback and they have shown nothing but support for everyone that is involved in the community. I'm not sure why you continue to attack them, especially in a public forum such as this one. The picture you depict of the RBN community definitely hurts all of us, and since you are being so vocal about it I felt the need to at least give another point of view.
The authoring process is extremely time intensive. It takes me around 6 weeks to get 1 ROJ song through the process and that involves me working on the song almost every night. with 40 songs, even the largest authoring company would take months to get the songs through with full time staff. I'm not sure what you are hoping for.
I understand that you are frustrated and that a lot of this is just venting. But what bothers me is this "me vs. them" mentality which I don't feel is there. What bothers me most is that I am part of this community (as well as many others) and I feel grouped into this "hostile environment" that you describe which is just not the case. If the the big authoring groups represent 50% of the community there is another 50% that has no issue with TAG and helps whenever possible. I personally just do not have the time to commit to RBN. I wish I could have more but being a musician is a lot of work. When you voice yourself in such a way please keep in mind you are representing an entire community to its customers and I have to say that I feel mis-represented in this case. Please consider this in the future.
Also i want to say that this may come across kind of heavy-handed and I don't mean for it to be that way. I know you have been with RBN from the very beginning. the dedication and work you have put into the community has helped not only myself but many others. many of the practices that are now regular processes (the weekly pr/playtest) were started by you. I'm not sure how we've gotten so de-railed from your original goals but I hope we can get back there.
Download our music on RBN: http://www.rockband.com/songs/artists/Rose%20of%20Jericho
Contact ROJ: matt at roseofjericho dot com