Monday, October 25, 2010

OPM: Outdated Pilipino Music

By Siesta-friendly

Ballads are not bad.  Slow music not detestable.  But all the time? Everywhere?  Come on.  Previously, ballad-heavy OPM (Original Pilipino Music) had to compete with American Top 40 songs, now there’s the undeniably engaging (even if unintelligible) K-Pop that’s gotten much local attention. Canto-pop and J-pop haven’t even crossed over to our shores yet.

Implementing measures to promote OPM, like E.O. 255 (Requiring All Radio Stations With Musical Format Programs To Broadcast A Minimum Of Four Original Pilipino Musical Compositions In Every Clockhour And For Other Purposes) which imposes a paltry fine of P100.00 per violation[1], is laughable. 

First of all, P100.00 is nothing, especially if there’s juicy payola coming from foreign recording companies.

Although the same E.O provides that “[t]he National Telecommunications Commission may, after due hearing, suspend or cancel the Certificate of Registration and Authority to operate of any radio station in the event of repeated violations of this Executive Order or its implementing rules and regulations”, that obviously hasn’t scared radio stations.  When’s the last time you heard 4 Pilipino songs in 1 hour from 1 radio station? 

Second, radio stations are getting away with it also because the audience is not complaining about the lack of OPM.  Why would they?

When was the last time you wanted to endure 4 Pilipino songs in 1 hour from 1 radio station?  When’s the last time you felt like dancing to OPM? Or got excited to hear a newly released local song? How many more times do we have to hear un-original remakes of cheerless OPM classics? When people do get up and dance, isn’t it because there’s a good foreign pop song playing?

Even local bands, which are, at least, trying to come up with original material are not appealing to the mainstream. Of course, they’re mostly into rock but it’s also because their music is generally just not catchy.  No budding Eraserheads nor Rivermaya in their midst.

Maybe we need to revive the Metropop Song Festival, or something like it.  And have them at least 2x a year.  Perhaps also hold a No-Ballad Singing Contest to reintroduce singer and audience together to the lively potential of Philippine pop.  OPM is dying. Certainly, in the wide world of pop, it’s at least outmoded.

If music is the universal language, OPM can survive only if people choose to listen to it, not because it is required on the airwaves.  It has to compete on its own merits against all the other music made available to the Filipino public. We have to play it by ear, not by executive order.

[1]  Sec. 2, E.O. 255.  July 25, 1987.


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