In part two Latin Business Today’s Tina Trevino and Tito Rodriguez Jr spotlight advice for entrepreneurs in the music industry.
Editor’s note: This is part two of a two part series. Please find part one here Tito Rodriguez Jr- Making His Own Legacy Part 1 [Podcast]. We wish to thank Tomas Algarin a respected latin music historian, educator, writer, radio producer, stage performer/concert Emcee and also a steadfast Latin Business Today collaborator who helped facilitate this spotlight on Tito Rodriguez Jr. by author Tina Trevino. Access the Tito Rodriguez Jr, podcast part 2 at the below. Enjoy!
I asked Tito about some of the most positive advice he could share with people trying to succeed in the music industry.
He says to believe in yourself—when people tell him no, he is more likely to try and prove them wrong. He’s been turned down a lot. Although he had a hit record with “Eclipse” and no one would sign him to their label. Part of it had to do with the genre of music and approaching American labels who didn’t quite understand how to monetize this type of music…even the Latin label, Fania records wouldn’t bite.
Tito felt defeated but now feels that it was meant to be as the music industry has once again morphed into a different entity and has opened its doors to everyone. He is a big fan of streaming music feeling that it makes music accessible to so many people who would never even know about certain genres of music. It is a music outlet that is more positive than negative.
Just as his parents taught him, Tito believes you can do whatever you want as long as you do it well. Don’t just go in halfway. His mom said, “if you’re going to do a job, think about something you enjoyed doing as a kid that made you happy and if you can find a job that is based around that, you’re going to like what you do. Sometimes it doesn’t work out exactly how you hoped it would but eventually you’ll get there.”
I think Tito’s lengthy journey to where he is today proves that. He is full of energy, excitement and passion about the future of his career.
Tito’s father created the second largest independent Latin record label company next to Fania, called TR Records. Because of this , Tito Jr., has been around the negotiations of the music industry, he’s aware of the nature of contracts, the royalties, etc. This gave him an edge in understanding the nature of intellectual property.
The knowledge Tito aquired early on in his career, was not anticipated by many labels affording push back on quite a few of their contractual demands. He always knew that owning the publishing rights of music was where the money was and many young struggling musicians are willing to give this up just to get into the industry.
The money is not in the sales of music these days; it’s in the touring and the publishing rights.
Tito currently works at CBS News doing video editing and then dedicates his evenings to interviews, promotion, getting musicians lined up for his gigs, and writing contracts. He’s fortunate that CBS has been so supportive of his music career and he doesn’t look at it as being work. It’s truly a love.
He is looking to segue from his video editing career and be able to release more of his own music more often, possibly an album a year as well as producing other artist’s music. He wants to help other people get their vision out there, make it profitable both for him and the artist while also allowing the artist to maintain their publishing rights. With his hypersensitivity to the business of music and how many labels have taken advantage of artists, he feels passionate about this.
I asked Tito what he would advise entrepreneurs in the music industry….
- If you are a songwriter, retain your publishing rights. Don’t give them to anyone.
- Try to financially back your own product so you can maintain control
- If you can release product on highly effective distribution platforms—Tito uses CD Baby–they can provide marketing insight about where the music is being sold, what region it is being sold, the demographic of who’s buying it, accounting information every day, and payment on time.
In our conversation,Tito shared how he gets new ideas for his music. He feels that when he approaches many companies for music content, they don’t seem to have anything appropriate for his style. Because of this he finds himself collaborating with his singer and producer as well as other singers and writers to create music.
Currently he works with his singer, Sammy Gonzales Jr., who has been with him for 23 years and happens to also be a great song writer. And he always chooses one of his father’s songs to do a new arrangement on as a good luck charm.
Tito also writes some of his music, playing guitar and a bit of keyboards. He finds himself inspired in the wee hours of the morning when he jots down his ideas and he also finds himself inspired in the middle of the night getting out his phone to hum and record what he remembers so he can go back to sleep and wake up with his new inspiration safely stored. He already has lots of ideas for his next album.
Next page: Tito shares musicians who inspired him, technology impact on the music industry and a few more inside stories.