Laughter and plenty of tears marked the Rivera family's frank discussion of their musical dynasty today (Oct. 8) at the Billboard Regional Mexican Music Summit in Los Angeles.

The family patriarch Pedro Rivera and his children -- artists Jenni, Lupillo, Juan, Gustavo and Pedro Jr. -- took the stage at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza to discuss what made each of them successful in their respective careers, and how they think the music industry should adapt.

The self-deprecating Riveras frequently said that it wasn't their singing ability that made them (they all described themselves as bad singers), but rather persistence and the hardworking example of their father that kept them forging ahead despite rejection from many labels early on.

Pedro Rivera, an entrepreneur who started out selling cassettes at swap meets and created Cintas Acuario, a label that launched several eventual stars, frequently broke down in tears when he spoke of his children. He revealed that his daughter Jenni once played a show for a mere $300 -- only to be told she wouldn't get paid unless she slept with the promoter.

Jenni was ready to quit the business after that, but recorded one last album on her father's encouragement. "It's the reason I'm here today," Jenni Rivera, who is prepping the release of her much-anticipated mariachi album "La Gran Señora," told the packed house.

Lupillo Rivera said the days of artists performing for free at radio festivals in exchange for airplay should end, because airplay isn't moving albums -- and criticized label executives for sitting behind their desks rather than hitting the road in search of new talent.

His sister concurred that the industry is facing a disconnect between what consumers want to pay for and what labels are releasing. A recent radio festival, which wasn't free and had many well-known acts, was nearly empty, said Jenni.

"People are tired of hearing the same thing over and over. They want something original and different," she said. "There were a lot of top artists and nobody went. Something's missing."

Her brother Pedro Jr., a pastor and Christian artist who self-releases, didn't have such concerns.

"I don't have the same level of success or fame or money that my siblings have," said Pedro Jr. But "just like my siblings, I don't know how to sing very well, but I do it with all my heart."

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