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Colonial mentality and lack of gov’t support prevent Filipino music industry from flourishing

“Ang pinakamalaking problema ng Pilipinas ay commodification that, we’re under a colonial mentality, kaya number 42 lang tayo sa industry, eh papano nga, our colonial mentality is so attuned to the US, kung ano yung sikat sa US, yun ang pino-promote natin,” Professor Felipe De Leon Jr., member of the national committee on music of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), explained one of the reasons why the Philippine music industry ranked only 42nd, lower than Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia in the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Felipe added, “Masyadong American-made ang klase ng music natin, yung OPM natin is too Americanized, there’s not enough variety, there’s no creativity, there’s no originality, unlike Indonesia, Brazil, and Sweden, kaya ang dami-dami nilang klaseng music that they can promote, that’s why they sell, even Korea.”

The status of the Philippine Music industry was among the four researchers presented at the “6th Annual Basic Research Symposium: The Filipino Music and Indigenous Culture Communicating Basic Research Results to the People,” of the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on 20 October 2022.

The Musika Pilipinas project, one of the studies presented at the symposium and funded by DOST-NRCP, involves 700 survey participants and 80 music related companies and organizations. The project analyzed the country’s music market, its current state, and suggested areas for development, such as the government support needed for the music industry’s growth.

The profile shows that the music industry is largely composed of young adults, 25 to 34 years old, single, males and mostly college degree graduates. Over 23 percent of the respondents has been with the industry for six to ten years, while over 21 percent have been with the industry for over 21 years. Over 70 percent of them work as freelancers.

Another striking finding of the study is that most people in the industry are from Manila, making it Manila-centric, which means US-made type of music, making it less interesting to the whole world because it’s a very uniform, mass produced type of music. “The moment you commercialize music, we become so standardized, unless we look at the wider model especially coming from the regions.” Felipe added.

Among the recommendations of the Musika project research team is the creation of a centralized music coordinating council, bigger support for the Philippine music industry, and the study of the regions’ music economies and cultural assets as prospects for music tourism and development of music communities and cities.

By Geraldine B. Ducusin, DOST-STII

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