Palace assures support to Philippine music industry

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Friday, March 21, 2014


MANILA -- Acknowledging the challenges faced by the Philippine music industry, President Benigno Aquino III assured the country's music industry stakeholders of his government's backing and support. 

The Philippine recording industry has faced obstacles such as music piracy, technological advancement and foreign competition causing marked drop in sales revenues. 

The Philippine Association of Recording Industry (PARI) blamed piracy as one of the main culprits for the 75 percent drop in record sales of local artists over the past 10 years, accounting for P1-billion.

“Hindi lamang tayo ang may hinaharap na hamon sa pagpapaunlad ng industriyang mahal nating lahat,” Aquino said.

Aquino challenged the recording industry to embrace the digital age and find how to use the new technologies to promote and market original Piilipino music or OPM. 

He said he recognized the challenges posed by the rapidly evolving technology, but this should not discourage songwriters and other artists from sharing their music, especially with younger audiences.

Aquino said that there were many ways in which technology can become a friend to Philippine musicians rather than foe.

Aquino mentioned that some American companies decided to make music more accessible to a larger market, using technology that helped boost the sales of many artists to the point that even the production of vinyl has been revived.

He added that the young nowadays can purchase single tracks and enjoy the music that they want without buying the entire album. 

"So sa madaling salita, ang mga nag-e-experience ng growth ngayon ay ‘yung mga nakinig kung ano ba ang hinahanap ng merkado nila; hindi pinahirapan, hindi pinagdamot ang produkto nila na gustong ibenta naman… At ang nadidiskubre po nila sa Amerika, among other areas—isa sa pinakamalaking merkado siyempre ay ang Amerika—tumataas ang pagbebenta ng plaka. ‘Yung lumang catalogues nire-revive,” the President said.

The constant decline of record sales over the past 10 years has been attributed to the digital age.  The 2010 Nielsen Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report estimated that 37 percent of Filipinos download or upload music files online.

The PARI, however, said that 95 percent of listeners download songs illegally, thus making it difficult for music producers to thrive despite the estimated 400 percent increase in digital music revenues from 2005 to 2010.

But some independent artists and record labels would rise up to this challenge by experimenting with different ways of marketing their music online, relying on alternative platforms like YouTube and social media networks, for example, to reach a wider audience, Aquino said. 

Aquino even said that he himself was aided by technology at some point, particularly the mobile application "Soundhound," in searching for song titles that radio jocks failed to mention on air. He said he also finds the idea of remixing songs enjoyable.

“Nandiyan po ‘yung kagustuhan ng sambayanan na ipagpatuloy na tulungan ang industriyang ito. Kailangan lang po natin siguro ng diyalogo: Paano nga ba natin mapapadaling ibenta sa kanila ang gusto naman nilang bilhin? Ano ba ang gusto nilang mabili at maibigay natin ito sa kanila? At doon po matutulungan at mapapanatili itong aspeto ng ating kultura na talaga naman pong malaki ang inambag sa kasaysayan ng ating bansa at pati na rin sa pag-aasam sa hinaharap,” he said.

The President also identified the government’s effort to uplift the state of the Philippine music industry, saying that his mother, former President Cory Aquino signed Executive Order 255 in 1987 requiring all radio stations with musical format programs to broadcast a minimum of four original Pilipino musical compositions every hour.

The President said that the government has tasked National Telecommunications Commission to ensure all radio stations abide by the rule.

Aquino also said that the government is implementing the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties that directs all countries to come up with a framework of basic rights of those who are in the music industry.

Besides these, Aquino said the government fully supports the anti-piracy campaign of the Optical Media Board (OMB).

“From 2011 to 2013, the OMB has confiscated over 1,100,000 pieces of pirated optical media products, estimated at more than P3 billion,” Aquino said.

Aquino added that the joint teams of the OMB, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) inspected in clearing operations more than 2,705 establishments selling pirated products.

Aquino recognized the power of music in shaping the Filipino culture, thereby assuring his administration’s help in developing the country’s music industry, especially in its anti-piracy campaign through various government agencies.

Aquino said his government continues to support the efforts led by the OMB in cracking down establishments that either manufacture or sell pirated optical media products.

He reported that the OMB seized pirated goods estimated to cost over P9-million from 2011 to 2013.

Aquino, meanwhile, added that his administration also upheld and strengthened Executive Order 255.

“Bilang pagpupugay sa kakayahan ng mga Pilipino, pinirmahan po ng aking ina ang Executive Order 255 noong 1987. Ang layunin po nito: ipalaganap ang sarili nating musika sa pamamagitan ng pagpapatugtog sa radyo ng hindi bababa sa apat na kantang Pilipino kada oras. Pinaigting naman po natin ito sa pag-aatas sa National Telecommunications Commission na bantayan ang pagsunod ng mga istasyon ng radyo sa batas na ito,” he said.

The Chief Executive, moreover, stated that the government is currently implementing the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, which “require countries to provide a framework of basic rights, allowing creators to control and/or be compensated for the various ways in which their creations are used and enjoyed by others.”

“Batid naman natin, marami pang balakid ang kailangang pagtulungang lampasan upang tuluyan nating mapaarangkada ang industriya ng lokal na musika. Sa kabila nito, mulat din tayo: Mag-iba man ang mga kasangkapan o paraan ng pakikinig sa tugtugin—mula plaka, cassette tape, CD, DVD, hanggang sa online media—hindi kukupas ang pagmamahal ng Pilipino sa musika," the President said. 

"Hangga’t may kababayan tayong lumilikha ng awiting may himig, laman, at ritmong tugma sa kaisipan, kultura at damdaming Pilipino; hangga’t may mga kompanya at organisasyong naniniwala at handang mamuhunan sa talentong Pilipino; hangga’t nariyan ang sambayanan, nakikinig at tumatangkilik sa sarili nating musika, at buo ang suporta sa buong industriya—kumpiyansa po tayong hindi tayo mauubusan ng mga komposisyong kukurot, kikiliti, magpapakilig, magpapaindak, o magpapaalab, hindi lamang sa damdaming Pilipino, kundi maging sa buong mundo,” Aquino said.

Aquino also urged various stakeholders in the Philippine music industry to find ways to adapt with the digital age. (Jun Sarmiento)

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