Making It In the Music Biz

Musician/producer Adrian Martinez overcome obstacles to thrive in competitive environment

By Jesus Martinez Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: December 19, 2000

Making It In the Music Biz

Think of Latin music and you think: Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez or Gloria Estefan.
Think Rock en espa?ol and you pause and then might say Jaguares, Caf? Tacuba or Man?.
But did you know that there are literally thousands of Latino musicians trying to make it in this ever-competitive industry? But, there's a lack of interest by local record companies in the young artists trying to make it. Big companies aren't willing to give new talent a chance unless they've done something for themselves like creating a buzz or just making their name prominent within the industry.
As Los Angeles continues to grow, so does the list of young Latino artists that are coming out of this big city. And, though this city can be hard on aspiring musicians and their dreams, like any goal you set out to accomplish, it takes perseverance.
There's not a lot of help for these beginners to further develop their talent. Most record companies won't even take your music for consideration unless they're accompanied by a reputable music attorney.
Meet Adrian Martinez, Founder and CEO of Morusa Records. Morusa Records is Latin music record company here in Los Angeles. Adrian started his record label a couple of years ago because many companies either turned him down or didn't even bother to see him with respect to his music. After showing up with his press kit to several record firms, he would still be refused assistance.
Even though Adrian had produced three music CDs on his own, it was always "We'll call you." He was just another example of how hard it really is to break into the music business. But, Adrian was not going to let anyone stop him from becoming a successful music producer and musician.
While working in a law firm in Downtown L.A., Adrian continued to market his music anyway he could. And by the end of 1998, he had sold thousands of CDs online and by word of mouth. Adrian had proved that you don't really need big companies on your side to get your music to the public.
"1998 was the year when I said: 'There's no stopping me now!'" says Martinez. "Almost everyday, I wondered if I was going crazy with all the things I would do. I use to perform at local venues and the crowed either loved me or hated me! It was really funny, actually."
Soon after selling more CDs, Adrian Martinez was financially able to leave his job and pursue his career full time. He purchased a couple computers, up-graded his recording studio and went online with his music. Through online distribution, Morusa Records has sold CDs worldwide.
"I love the Internet." he says. "I don't know how we lived without it! We've sold our Spanish CDs in Romania. How does that happen?" His website can be found at www.MorusaRecords.com
Having signed a local Latin band called Grupo Sentir Latino, Martinez prepared a music tour and was off promoting the music again. "You have to constantly be marketing yourself," he says.
But aside from writing, recording and producing the music, Adrian works close with all business aspects of the company, including finances, marketing, distribution and artist relations. With this, he has received several awards including "Micro Business of the Year" this year from La Opini?n and dubbed "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Hispanic Business Magazine. Most recently, the city of Los Angeles presented Adrian an achievement award for his commitment to the Latino business community.
"It's not easy," admits Adrian who sometimes works 14-hour days. "I've learned one thing -- you have to work really hard and stay focused."
As things look bright for Morusa Records, Martinez says he is ready to take his company to another level. He plans on signing a few more artists in early 2001. At the same time, he hopes to continue to grow as a musician and a business owner.

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