Why Filipino Music is Dying

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mangaawit is a joke and does as more damage to the local industry in the name of helping out.

Earlier this year, President Ogie Alcasid announced that OPM will be pushing for higher taxes for Foreign acts, in order to protect the so called "welfare" of local acts. Because of this, a ticket for a foreign artist's performance here in Manila would often be at least 20% higher than in Singapore or Hongkong, not even considering the fact that these are first-world countries we are talking about.

While this "might" help out the government in terms of additional revenue, I'm pretty certain foreign acts and local acts usually cater to a separate social status bloc. Putting on more taxes will hardly convince people who would rather see foreign concerts to watch shitty local ones just because they're "cheaper". You know what else is cheaper? Watching TV. If you do it from outside your neighbor's house, it's even for free. People watch concerts not because they can afford it. It's because they actually WANT to see the artist perform.

Killing competition by tax chokes is both underhanded and unsportsmanlike. Instead of trying to improve their acts, OPM pulls this, something tad step short of artistic fascism. So pull out a gun and take us hostage already. To make things worse, OPM refuses to eat its own cooking by SUPPORTING THE FOREIGN ACTS AND WATCHING IN THE VIP AREA OF EVERY FOREIGN ACT CONCERT. If OPM really wanted to compete, they'd take the foreign acts as a challenge to up the ante. If ever, foreign performances might even develop the local industry by inspiring up and coming acts, who might otherwise be too poor to watch it because a certain organization wanted poor people to stop wasting their money on useless concerts of foreigners and waste it on their useless concerts instead.

There's probably some other reason behind this move. Raising taxes on the grounds of fostering the community is a lie. No startups would be threatened by foreign acts. Why would your bar gig be sidetracked because Bruno Mars wants to come here to sing and snort cocaine? Only the ones who've been in the industry for so long would see that as a problem. Think about it.

And why is it that people have stopped watching local concerts anyway? Let's just put it this way. The two highest ranking officials in OPM is Ogie Alcasid and Gary Valenciano. I have a lot of respect for the talent of these two guys. But! Both of which released albums last year that were just 80% covers, a good number of them from foreign artists. While covering is understandable and quite entertaining, let's not forget that the OPM is supposed to stand for ORIGINAL PILIPINO MUSIC. For people who advocate so strongly against piracy, originality seems to be so lowly regarded. Why bother watching covers when you can go for originals?

Ogie Alcasid was nice enough to say this during an interview:

What are his plans for the revival of OPM? “Siguro, we have to assess the problems affecting the music industry before we could offer any solution. Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, ang isang problema ay ang kawalan ng sigla sa bentahan ng music. Wala kang naririnig na bagong music. ‘Yung paggawa ng bagong kanta bihira na. Tapos ‘yung batas na dapat four Original Pinoy Music (OPM) songs ang pinapatugtog every hour hindi na rin nasusunod. Siyempre nariyan pa rin ang problema ng piracy. Then the taxes sa mga concerts,” said Ogie.

So to keep it short. He complained there's not enough originals out there and THEN went on to release covers anyway. Man's gotta earn a living, I guess. Fuck principles. Later in the interview, he went on to propose drafting policies to foster the community through mandated airings of songs and other politically charged bullshit that likely wont solve anything but the OPM's personal problems. You don't solve sociocultural issues with political solutions. It's never worked that way and it probably never will now.

To be fair, to show that OPM does care for artists who AREN'T groomed by the big publishers, they have launched an OPM-Pagcor search for talents. And I have no qualms about this. A lot of good talent are out there just waiting to be discovered. Of course, there's still the fact that even with this contest, you can see where OPM's emphasis lies. Instead of trying to address the issue of not having enough people composing new songs, they're just trying to bring in more people who can PERFORM. From the mouths of the organizers, the objective is to find the next world class performer like Charice and Arnel Pineda, BOTH of which became famous for singing other people's songs. Gone are the song-writing competitions. I can't remember the last time anything like that was even televised. Which is too bad. I thought a lot of the better songs from the 90s came from those competitions.

What we have now is an archaic organization ranting about the clear problems of the industry, while at the same time grossly contributing to the problem and taking steps that are backwards-drunk away from solving the issues at hand.

Since when has the OPM become a part of our government?


Anonymous said...

I agree on all you've written on this blog...this should serve as a challenge for Filipino composers/singers....we have a lot of talent but why keep on "reviving" songs... look at K-Pop..they are being recognized not only in Korea but almost all Asian countries because they have their originality and "upgraded" way of making music....I mean...the world is crazy on Pop.....or RnB..and still we keep our pride of making obsolete ....im not saying "ballad" is not good music but we are creating wrong genre in the wrong time or if we still insist of making/singing ballad, we should do it in a competitive arrangement.....and of course filipino singers/producers keep on doing concerts with the same old concepts again and again...not considering the excitement the crowd is looking for......but Charice has the excemption on the way she started her career of singing ballad because she is beyond amazing, her voice quality is undeniably international caliber.........just sayin'----www.twitter.com/iceG_officiaL


Hear hear! There's not much to be attained in getting good in doing covers. I don't think anybody ever gets remembered in history for ripping other peoples songs. If Freddie Aguilar says the lot of the artists nowadays are monkeys, he's rude, but he's coming from a very good point of view.

Matanglawin said...

This might interest you.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you! There are so many things about the music industry in the Philippines that need some major updating!! Unfortunately, they don't seem to notice and those who do notice it do not do anything. I grew up here in the US and it's really sad how music from the Philippines seem to have been left behind. I'm just going to take this time to vent out my frustrations on this topic:

1) The industry does not invest enough in the search and the training of new artists. Every time I turn on the TV or go on the internet all I see are the same old artists singing songs from decades ago. ABS-CBN, GMA...doesn't matter how big they are, they are filled with washed-up artists of bygone days who no longer speak to the modern population! Note: I do not credit them for Charice and/or Arnel Pineda..both of whom were discovered by OTHER people. They only showed up in the industry AFTER they "made it" outside.

2) When they do debut new artists, they often look like it's their first time singing/dancing/performing. You can see the raw talent there but you can also see that they were NOT trained or prepared AT ALL! They end up embarrassing themselves on stage. It's amazing how they can still garner fans with their lackluster performances.

3) Everyone seems to think that 'OPM' strictly mean ballads, novelty songs and alternative/rock genres! When new genres come about people always end up bashing them and labeling them as "copy-cats." This is what I don't understand...why do they always speak of "world class" and "pang-international" and yet also criticize songs that attempt at foreign sounding genres. YOU CAN'T BE SINGING BALLADS AND NOVELTY SONGS FOREVER!

4) Producers, directors, etc. ALL those people in charge of presenting a song/music video/artist to the public are scared to invest!!! What they end up with are tacky looking music videos, old sounding instruments, and artists who look like they've only learned to perform last night. Also, when a song actually sounds amazing they often are not publicized enough!

5) "The technical stuff": I want to know how old exactly are the video cameras, studios, lighting, software, etc. that are being used because the end product is usually very sad looking.

6) I know piracy is a big problem in the Philippines but you have to ask, how the heck did K-Pop become so popular overseas? Answer: the internet, youtube, etc. Fans made it ACCESSIBLE to the world! And it was in HD!


Search This Blog

Most Reading