Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pinoy Music Summit 2014: Collaborating with Key Music Industry Stakeholders to Revive OPM Greatness

Wazzup Pilipinas!

OPM is dead.

So many of us would think that is the harsh and very unfortunate reality. FILSCAP President and Conference Director Noel Cabangon, during his introductory talk at the Pinoy Music Summit 2014 held at the Landbank Plaza in Manila last March 19, 2014, may be treading on realistic and undeniable facts that we have earlier predicted to eventually happen when the Internet boomed into a massive source of information that is easily accessible to everyone. There was information overload coming from all over the world, including access to information and content that should have been private or not intended for public consumption.

We could have won in the battle against bootleg copies because there is nothing better than the original album especially when signed by the artist himself, but when downloadable MP3s began proliferating among music lovers, it became a nightmare too hard to wake up from.

Aside from libraries going extinct and is now more like a museum for the new generation belonging to the digital tribe, video shops and record bars have tremendously suffered as well. The pirates boasts "Why buy original when you can easily download for free your favorite songs and videos on your computers, music players and smartphones?"

We did try to embrace technology by offering digital distributions, but the pirates are just too smart, creative, and able to outwit us again. Digital distribution could not fairly compete with the ingenuity of determined pirates.

But would you agree that OPM is dead?

When PhilPop Executive Director Ryan Cayabyab showed us the statistics pertaining to the sales of records indicating an abrupt decrease from Php 2.1 Billion from the year 2000 to a low of  Php 600 Million during the year 2010, that somehow made us frown.

Thus the Pinoy Music Summit should have happened several years ago.

We are grateful that such a gathering of stakeholders from the music industry was graced by no less than the President of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, or more popularly known to us as PNoy, and other notable guests from the government including Senators Teofisto "TG" Guingona III and Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, plus Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Intellectual Property Office Director General Ricardo Blancaflor.


It is somewhat humorous to hear them use portions of the lyrics from popular OPM songs to include in their speeches, and would have been more joyful if they wrote it themselves so we could truly say they meant what they say. But we are hopeful that their presence at the event signifies their full support towards our endeavors. We truly hope it elevates highly into more concrete movements and results.

Actually, I preferred if they stayed and joined us during the afternoon discussion in trying to identify the problem sources and to come up with action plans that could help alleviate the weary industry. Many of the issues discussed that afternoon needed government acknowledgement and support. The industry can only do this little and could do so much more if our leaders, lawmakers and government agencies could firmly execute and implement appropriate laws that will help bring back the glory of the music industry.


Among the artists that were part of our group was teenage rapper Abra. He was among the lucky ones who made mainstream and maintained his presence as a promising music artist. Later he revealed why and that was because he was such a creative individual that he invested his own money by adding it to the allocated funds of the record label company intended for his albums, just so he could come out with an output that will stand out  and become a worthy collectible. Something we should be more than willing to do to uplift our own personal masterpieces.

They say we should invest first to eventually reap our just rewards later on. There is a risk to lose everything, but the moment we hesitate, it only means we are not confident of our works.

The discussion also pointed out that music appreciation should start from the moment we are still in school. The youth needs to be educated that to love our own is crucial, and that there is a big difference between a musical spectacle and those that can really belt out a respectable tune. "Sintunado" artists like Anne Curtis are forgivable if treated more like novelty and not to be taken seriously as part of the professional music industry. The youth should be able to recognize real musical vocal prowess and not be contented with just a pretty face.

Included in the discussion is to help promote the music industry by using new media to reach the new generation born with a smartphone in their hands. We should start using local digital distribution sites so in turn we help our own local entrepreneurs instead. We should implement stronger information dissemination by forming an alliance with the blogging community to help strengthen awareness. There are many that have already been using social media and blogs to share the announcements of new albums, emerging artists gigs, TV guesting, concerts, competitions abroad, partnership with advocacy groups, etc., but these efforts should be further sustained and creatively improved.

There have been many existing efforts made by both private firms and government agencies to enhance the experience towards appreciating OPM. There are already several noteworthy initiatives like the Performers' Equity Program in the Philippines discussed by OPM President Ogie Alcasid, and collaborations like the Elements National Singing/Songwriting Camp discussed by the 7101 Music Nation COO, Twinky Lagdameo,  but it is not this often that many major stakeholders have agreed to join forces at the Pinoy Music Summit.


We've learned about how the Hallyu or K-Pop phenomenon shared by Ateneo De Manila University professor Sarah Jane Doingo-Lapura, have learned nuggets of ideas from Intellectual Property Office Director Ricardo Blancaflor, and heard how PhilPop is encouraging Pinoy Music creation and promotion through the revelation of their top 12 songs that will be included in their album for 2014.

But I guess it is obvious that we should be doing more than what we are currently doing already because we haven't really competed at par with how aggressive the foreign acts promotions are conquering the admiration of our countrymen where majority of the youth are hooked. Hell, kids used to know no one else but K-Pop and anime artists, but when I started bringing home albums from our very own Pinoy talents, they realized that our singers have the potential to be better than their foreign counterparts.

We know it is not at all bad to appreciate music from neighboring countries, but as what we have learned from other countries' efforts, they have made significant ways to ensure that they highlight and secure the career of their local talents. They have made efforts not to make their local music look "bakya" and displeasing by incorporating quality add-ons to their local music. Our kids deserve more than rushed, low-budgeted, all revivals music hits. We are hurting our industry more if we revive foreign hits as majority of our album.

We can do the same if all stakeholders are united, sincere and firm to uphold our very own. We may still be struggling to find our identity, and the state of the music industry may somewhat look decaying because of the overwhelming popularity of foreign acts among us especially our youth, but music has been intrinsically linked to our culture long before everyone present in the summit has been born, so I am positive that we would soon find ways to perk things up to everyone's advantage.

Set aside big profits for the meantime to invest more on our talents. Each and everyone of us could contribute to the welfare of the Filipino music industry if we would only be able to accept that the only way to convince others to prioritize OPM as its preferred entertainment is by producing and coming out with the most outstanding product we can be truly proud to call uniquely our own, to recognize opportunities to use quad media to work in our favor and not against us, and finally to unite towards a more elaborate and sustainable project geared towards the promotion of OPM not only within the Philippines but also in other countries.

On a lighter side, I guess it may take the likes of a Congressman Noel Cabangon to setup an OPM party list and run for office in the next election so we could really have a champion within the government that will fight for our just deserves....or instead of having a "Selfie" Capital of the World recognition, maybe Ryan Cayabyab and Senator TG Guingona can encourage all the Filipinos to take a "selfie" holding and promoting the original OPM album that they recently bought. If everyone of us will grab one album from the record bars, then that would make a significant contribution to the OPM industry.

Seriously, I believe that it only needs commitment from all of us to ensure that everyone is given the chance to hear quality and well-made Pinoy music,... and everything else expected will follow.


Enjoy looking at your favorite artists present during the Pinoy Music Summit. Contrary to popular beliefs, they will never become extinct like the dinosaurs as long as there's a considerable number of us who work hand in hand to elevate the OPM industry to its highest glory:

Congratulations to teh Pinoy Music Summit for spearheading this project. Sana naman hindi lang ningas-kugon because we are very much anticipating the part two. So you you all at the Pinoy Music Summit 2015, and may we all have many fruitful achievements to share by then.

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