Aspiring songwriters need to "stick with it" was one of the messages they heard Tuesday (March 10) at the first ever "New York Sessions," staged by the American Society of Songwriters, Composers and Publishers (ASCAP). The event panels aimed at helping songwriters learn what they need to advance their careers.

In a panel on how digital streaming can help new music creators, Rick Eberle, who co-hosts radio show "Unlabeled, where unsigned local music lives," which is heard on Sunday night at WMJC-Long Island, said online radio doesn't have the power to break music yet, but its an important part of the overall marketing strategy. If a song gets into the top 25 on a web channel, a press release can be issued and other bloggers might notice and review the album. Moreover, the Internet also ties in metadata, which helps get out information about artists, he added.

When pitching music, Eberle suggested that sending a song digitally and a small electronic file of biographical information saves money. "I hate going to a MySpace page that can take an hour to load," he said. But Toolshed CEO Dick Huey said to send a link instead, so that the recipient doesn't have their e-mail "blocked-up" by a large song file.

Later in a panel on the "Crossroads of Creativity,” Adam Schlesinger of Fountain Of Wayne gave advice on whether to sign a co-publishing deal, or keep ownership control and do an administration deal. "When I got a co-publishing deal, I was totally broke," so the deal allowed him to put money in the bank, he said. "At the time it was the right move to make. But at the end of eight years, I couldn't wait to get out" of the deal. Now, he owns songs and has signed an administration deal.

The latter panel mainly focused on the creative aspects of songwriting. Schlesinger said that its important to treat songwriting as a job with definable goals. One goal should be: If you have a sound in your head, how do you get others to hear it the same way.

But Kristol "Tytewriter" Oliver, who was involved with "Show Stopper" and "Diddy Rock," said of Schlesinger's approach. "He sets it up like its going to work; I set it up like I'm going to play." She added that she keeps a list of 1,000 things that can be used to build a song. On the other hand, Ivan Barias who along with Carvin Haggins form Karma Productions, said he doesn't have a list or set way of writing a song. If a line comes first, and if its not a first verse line, he says "ok, its a second verse line" and writes from there and then goes back and fills in the holes.

Schlesinger, who wrote music for "That Thing You Do" and Nico Muhly, who composed "The Reader" film score discussed the art of writing music for films, televisions and plays. When Muhly gets instructions for how a film score should sound, "I write down the rules and its like building walls," he said. That process allows him to envision what the score should include and it helps to clarify what should not be in the music.

Schlesinger said that sometimes it’s hard to understand what filmmakers want in a movie's film score. For "That Thing You Do," they told me they wanted the music to sound like an American band imitating a British band in 1964," he said. "My own backgrounds had 60s influences and the publishers said take a shot, it was kind of a lucky break." But another time, he was told that a movie wanted a workout song. "I thought they wanted something like the ‘Neutron Song,’" he said. "So I wrote a song with 80s-like cheesy keyboards, but that is not what they wanted."

The panelist also helped songwriters to have the right mental state for pursuing their chosen profession. "When someone says your music sounds like something else, don't take it as a knock; take it as your song is relatable," said Karma Productions Haggins.

Moreover, panelist Sam Hollander, who was discovered by Carol King and contributed songwriting to one of her recent albums, said, "Stick-to-it-iveness is the entire game." But Schlesinger countered, "You have to be tenacious, but you can't be in denial. You have to listen to people's opinions on your music."

When asked by a female audience member what role sex plays in breaking into the music business, Oliver, the only female panelist, advised, "You can't be too friendly or too flirty; you don't want to put yourself in that position. If you put out the right signals, it won't happen."

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