Rant: Kpop's a threat to OPM? Puh-lease.

I only recently found out about this TV spot on one of the leading news programs in the country, but damn - I dunno how to feel.
Quick translation for English-speakers:
Girl: A lot of Filipinos are currently going crazy over Korean pop groups, proof of this is their domination of local music countdowns (note: on TV, charts are voting-based, not sales-based), a big threat to Original Pinoy Music that's lent (someone correct me? Ken? lol.) to the revival trend.
Guy: After the Nobody craze, Korean pop music has been getting more and more attention (the guy got his grammar screwed up. lol.) in the Philippines.
4Minute video
Guy: The amount of fans who turned up to 4Minute's recent mall shows is surprising. 4Minute are well-known (note: No, they're not.) for their hits Hot Issue and What A Girl Wants. SNSD's Oh! and Super Junior's Sorry Sorry are also #1 on Myx countdowns. Super Junior are set to perform in Araneta in April. OPM is still popular but Myx Channel head Mia Labendia admits that Kpop is a threat to the OPM industry, due to the fact that there's very little original material coming out. (rest of it ommitted) Kpop is apparently most-frequented in the 13-19 age bracket, according to sales figures.
Summary of the rest: bunch of OPM artists talking about how they're gonna take on kpop and all. Including Charice. Then they show a crappy wannabe Filipino girl group. UGH.

OK. Look. The Philippine music-buying public will buy anything that hits in the US - that's how they think. This supposed 'Kpop invasion' is all because of the Wonder Girls - they hit moderately in the US and suddenly everyone here was listening to it. There are kpop fans who've been fans for a long time now and there are people like me who got addicted to the genre a while before it hit here - I don't contest their fandom. BUT, there are people who listen to/watch these people just to go with the flow - because WG supported the Jonas Brothers and because Nobody kinda caught on to the US, it's suddenly the biggest thing since anything here.

When I was at the 4Minute showcase, a lot of the people around me weren't there because they were 4Minute fans or because they had to write something about the showcase (like me), they were there because they "listened to kpop". The way I see it, Filipino consumers right now see that if it's kpop, they buy it, regardless of whether they actually like the music or not. Which I find really stupid.

If kpop is a threat to OPM, what's American music? There are more American material available here and even if kpop is supposedly 'booming' here, not everyone listens to it. A lot, but not most. American music is an even bigger threat but why isn't anyone talking about it? Because Filipinos worship the Americans and want to BE Americans. Well, music-wise. Some of them.

Personally I think that unless OPM gets a major overhaul sound, concept and system-wise, it's a lost cause. Like the feature said, OPM basically revolves around artists doing third-rate covers of boring, outdated and pathetic Western hits - probably the only creativity in OPM comes from the band bands who play their own instruments, but sometimes even those bands aren't THAT good.

Filipinos are creative, yes, and there are a lot of outstanding musicians here, it's just that the people who supposedly "get big" here sing boring covers for the entire length of their careers. It CAN get boring.

I know this because my dad's in OPM - he pioneered probably the biggest band in OPM history and I saw how hard he fought to make them not just stars but musicians. Look what happened to them - they became legends. Filipinos have the ability to create good music, they have the ability to do these things, but they're not using those talents. That's what annoys the heck out of me.

I just find it stupid that they're even saying kpop's a threat to OPM, 'coz OPM isn't exactly the most productive industry. I honestly think they should stop thinking about all the 'threats' and start fixing our industry first because what good can enumerating threats bring? Nothing - they're just wasting their time.

Kpop here is a fad, no matter how much you say "you'll love kpop forever and ever and everrrr", it will disappear and be replaced by something else - that's a fact. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be a fan, just that some (NOT ALL) Filipinos should re-think the reasons why they're fans. Fads here in the Philippines aren't always genuine - some are really just knock-offs from the West.

15 comments:

  1. I strongly agree on every point presented. I think people are trying to get hold of KPOP is because the media they see always present something that would entice them to listen to KPOP music.

    And the sales? OMG. Ask every Filipino if they would pay for music? Hell no. It's because of the scarcity of legal music. DIGITAL DOWNLOADS are selling like hotcakes in other countries because artists actually consider them. Unlike here, majority of the music-buying public buy only the physical CDs or albums because they're actually a fan not because they're curious about listening to a certain artist or whatsoever.

    If only recording companies would be as generous as they are with other countries, releasing songs Digitally would be a major plus for the music buying public here.

    And yes, KPOP is a definite FAD. Just like when those Taiwanese nonsense hit our shores before, they'll be gone sooner or later.

    ReplyDelete
  2. True, girl.
    You have exactly pointed out my thoughts.

    I mean, I am a fangirl too, and I can't deny my love affair for KPOP.
    But to say that KPOP can topple OPM to death is so "duh".

    I'd have to say that the KPOP fever now in the Philippines will not stay for long. Believe me.

    The Halyu fever is just basking in the sun, at the moment. And the inflow of KPOP artists and groups here are just the K-entertainment companies' way of "striking whilst the iron is hot."

    I can still remember the T-POP days very vividly. Everyone was all about Meteor Garden and F4 for a while. But then, it died too.

    I guess it's because some peeps just dip in the fame scenario and ride on with the popularity of these foreign artists.

    But OPM never toppled down all this time. It is and will still be there on the top. For me, it's still got "homecourt advantage". All it takes is for us, Flips to have some originality and appreciation for our roots.

    And to quote the awesome writer:
    "Kpop here is a fad, no matter how much you say "you'll love kpop forever and ever and everrrr", it will disappear and be replaced by something else - that's a fact. Fads here in the Philippines aren't always genuine - some are really just knock-offs from the West."

    Very well said, Love. :)
    I enjoyed your article, as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  3. True, true and true.

    You guys pretty much said everything.

    Now if we can only get OPM execs to read this article..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amen to that. I know we have amazing amazing talents in the Philippines but if the songs are all going to be ballads and revivals I don't see how the music is going to evolve. Gahh the industry does need an overhaul because it's important to the countries future if they want to to be taken seriously about the music they make. Who knows maybe the new generation may change it but money and people not being motivated enough still will make it hard but who knows maybe in 5 years or so OPM will pick up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You really got nice points and do echo my sentiments

    To answer your rhetoric question

    "If kpop is a threat to OPM, what's American music? There are more American material available here and even if kpop is supposedly 'booming' here, not everyone listens to it."

    I think it's because US music have been staple since the 1920's. In fact, OPM pop, country(the CAR region) and rock are very much 'patterned' from it just as much as Philippine English is(and the fact that the US music industry remains the biggest). It's not only the Philippines but in Asian countries as well. Try Indonesian and Malaysian music(they're really like Filipino music) It's like the US music is not a fad but a staple consumption. It's cultural connect, yknow. I don't really consider it as aping or being American wannabes. It's pretty much like how telenovelas and variety shows are very like those Hispanic countries than Asian countries. No matter how we try to borrow plots and styles from East Asian countries, it ends up being very Hispanic.

    If only the record producers and entertainment companies would take Filipino talents seriously, we could probably rival that of the US and UK music industry. When it comes to supply of talented vocalists, there are too many in the Philippines, even in karaoke bars(who aren't serious in singing. Lol). The main problem is music production.

    It's only when someone outside the Philippines get to recognize the potential, only they could work on their musical identity.

    I am NOT talking about Charice but Lea Salonga(who's been singing Disney songs in the 90's) and Arnel Pineda(Now with Journey). Charice is product of media exagerration. She has a powerful voice but she does not know how to control it. Have you seen her 'showdown'(which was supposed to be a duet!) with Arnel Pineda? You could hardly hear Arnel singing because Charice failed to blend her voice and seemingly concentrating in reaching the highest note. Charice does not know how to sing(although she has the voice), she only knows vocal calisthenics. I live in the US and she really does not get wide airplay here and is just likely known in the Filipino community.

    P.S.: I know you are a K-pop fan but I admire your honestly about it being a fad in the Philippines. Something I rather find rare in many Kpop hardcore fans

    OT: Since your dad works in the local music industry, I want to inquire if autotune is being used in the Phils. I'm not music expert but what my ears are telling me that it isn't used in the Phils(probably because of financial reasons). I mean, the what how our singers sing(even the singer wannabes) in live performances are so near the CD quality(of their voices) something I find rare in the caseWestern/US and Asian music industry. This observation gives me the impression that autotune is not used here...or even heavy processing of vocals. I've seen a couple of local acts live(as in they really are singing) and most of them sound close to how they sing in studio recordings. Sometimes, they even sound better live.

    Another OT: I read in a Korean English newspaper that the major reason why Kpop has been outsourced is because of the dramatic reduction of sales in Korea.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, American music has infiltrated us pretty deep, but it's not ours. It's not a genre produced and made by us and therefore, I still see it as a threat. Filipinos have their own creativity and yes, most of the artists take influences but an influence is an influence - copying directly is different.

    It's partially because 95% of record producers aren't really producers - they don't aid the artists in their music. Most of the time, all they do is order food for the act while in the studio and let the sound engineer produce the entire album. (of course, my dad isn't like that.)

    Charice is overrated, she doesn't sound her age - her voice is too much. Even if she learned good technique, I wouldn't like her. It's a matter of personal preference to me that young girls don't sound like 50 year-olds.

    I'm a kpop fan but I'm also a music writer - I put my biases and my adorations aside and think rationally when I write!

    It is used, mainly because autotune is basically used everywhere. Processing, pitch-fixing and all those others are recording studio staples (you wouldn't believe how much my dad fixed Ely's vocals), but if you're talking about the OBVIOUS processing (e.g., Super Junior's 'Sorry Sorry' or 2NE1's 'Fire'), I don't think so. At least in the mainstream OPM market. I'm not familiar with Filipino R&B, but I think there is some use of it there.

    But then again, heavy vocal processing has never been used here, even the non-obvious type. If you compare what they do here to what they did in the US prior to the Kanye West movement, it's significantly less.

    Well, there's a dramatic reduction of sales everywhere in the world, with the advent of piracy. Record companies have to find new ways to make money, and this is just one part of it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for your response, it was informative.

    I agree about Charice sounding like a fifty year old diva. Lol. There's just too much of the birit culture in the Philippines to the point that they sound like old people and they sound like each other. Even 'pop singers' in their early 20's sound like they're in their 50's. People running the OPM industry should seriously diversify the 'vocals' and singing styles and type of music they offer.

    When Nestor Torres(I think that's his name) wrote an article about the birit culture and mentioned Charice, her camp took it as 'exposure' and Charice even said, she will not change her style of singing because that's where she's known. In short: i don't think she plans to evolve. ^^T. The obsession of the baranggay singing contest mentality is hurting the local industry.

    BTW, I'm glad to hear that heavy vocal processing isn't really a thing in the Phils. I really enjoy live performances where the singer(s) can deliver well, much more to my delight when they sound better live. And I really tend to frown on lip syncing. Well, for singers who lip sync. I don't mind comical lip syncing though

    ReplyDelete
  8. Whoa, nice points in the fray so might as well join the fun and write something that could contribute to this ongoing discussion. I’ll bookmark this so I could also follow the trend.
    OPM had always been what Philippine music is; it cannot be toppled. It is an institution fed by creative Filipino minds to show how rich and deep our culture is.
    I’ve listened to KPop since 2003, listened to old-timers like Shinhwa, H.O.T., FinKL, SES and BabyVOX. I’ve known that even they are not immune to financial strapping (I’ve heard that H.O.T. wasn’t paid well in 1998) and I’ve known that these vocal groups are manufactured and offshoots of 1990s groups. So like every one else in other countries are, Boy and girl groups are manufactured items, festooned, glamorized and packaged by adverts, recording companies, overzealous fanboys and girls, and the like. In short, they are almost, perfect.
    Which is not the case in Filipino music.
    Sometimes I’ve often wonder why Pinoys don’t make boy bands, boybands that sing, dance, act cute, or do all sorts of things like pop stars do. We do have boybands, but they don’t act like the epitome of one, sometimes they are just a sprinkle or dip of one aspect of the “manufactured group” phenomena, and thus drift on one genre. Thus, we have our usual staple of novelty, revivals, rock bands, ballads, rap, and the like. And being people cheated out by the government, ruined by mistrust everywhere, we had to look beyond the curtain in every show, “deconstruct” every known facet of society.
    Perhaps this is why over-polished groups don’t see that much light of the day in our industry.
    They’re too perfect.
    They can make us sing, dance, join to the groove, but that’s that. Sooner or later, they will sound alike, they will use the same synths, the same vocoders, autotunes, the same time signatures, and ultimately the same standard of time for every song which is 4 minutes 33 seconds (god bless John Cage, he could exactly read what Radio execs are thinking.)
    I’ve listened to KPop early in the nineties, had my mind fed with Shinhwa, H.O.T., Fly to the Sky, FinKL, SES, BabyVOX, Wheesung, LeeSsang, and now there’s SM Entertainment’s goods.
    But then, you begin to feel they’re sounding more and more alike.
    Filipinos had come a long way than that. We’ve conquered the Billboard charts way before they did, we’ve had a slew of genres ranging from ‘70s manila sound to raggarock (reggae rock) and now, noise music (which is one of my favorite music genres)
    All it takes is for us to keep on digging for our own music. We don’t have to look at the grass on the other side, who knows, ours may be greener than theirs.
    OT: Since your father is working in the recording industry Niks, do you know any band that uses the Moog synthesizer. This autotune/vocoder is worse than the vocal calisthenics Charice does.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Everyone seem to have overlooked two prevailing facts- 1) the culture of PAYOLA, and 2) how the big guys from record labels (who have all the money and resources) "DICTATE" kung ano ang sisikat.

    Sa Pinas lang 'di umubra ang McDo... dahil hindi pumayag ang Jollibee (Pinoy!) na lumamang ang banyagang foodchain. The bee's business "dictated" what fastfood is best to the mind of the Filipinos. While it is true na huli kasi ng Jolibee ang panlasang Pinoy, have they not pushed Jolibee enough, malalampasan pa rin sila ng McDo.

    I know it may sound a bit absurd to compare fastfood to the local music business, but my point here is that record labels (and now, kasama na tv networks, at lalo ang radyo!) have the power to inject to the Filipino minds kung ano uso. Just as how media has been trying to mold us into thinking how great Charisse is.

    Ask anyone who works closely with top execs of record labels and you'll learn na madalas, nasa kamay lang ng iilang tao (minsan nga isa lang!) ang decision which artists to support financially... and a lot of them still base it on palakasan, pera, regardless of prevailing trends. Sadly, pag foreign ang pumasok as supported by local counterpart publishers/distributors, may pera silang ibabayad for marketing and payola.

    Sana, magpaka-Jolibee ang mga taga record industry. Lalo't KAILANGAN na because the industry is dying. Ang daming magagaling na local artist at magagandang materials (songs) ang hindi nabibigyan ng break, dahil sa maduming kultura sa industriya, kasama na ang mga taga-radyo. Please, let's not think that we have very few good songs that are radio-worthy. Napakarami, hindi lang pinalulusot.

    Lastly... it's a MATTER OF FACT... K-pop as a fad (or whatever you want to call it) as well as other likewise influential foreign music, whether their popularity is staged/planned or not, as I have discussed above, pose as a threat to many PEOPLE in the OPM industry. It may not be true that K-Pop CAN/MAY topple down OPM, but to some extent, OPM recording artists (and professional arrangers/composers like me) feel threatened. Put yourselves in our shoes... as we compare sales and text votes of K-Pop vs. OPM albums/singles, normal lang na madismaya ka.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Everyone seem to have overlooked two prevailing facts- 1) the culture of PAYOLA, and 2) how the big guys from record labels (who have all the money and resources) "DICTATE" kung ano ang sisikat.

    Sa Pinas lang 'di umubra ang McDo... dahil hindi pumayag ang Jollibee (Pinoy!) na lumamang ang banyagang foodchain. The bee's business "dictated" what fastfood is best to the mind of the Filipinos. While it is true na huli kasi ng Jolibee ang panlasang Pinoy, have they not pushed Jolibee enough, malalampasan pa rin sila ng McDo.

    I know it may sound a bit absurd to compare fastfood to the local music business, but my point here is that record labels (and now, kasama na tv networks, at lalo ang radyo!) have the power to inject to the Filipino minds kung ano uso. Just as how media has been trying to mold us into thinking how great Charisse is.

    Ask anyone who works closely with top execs of record labels and you'll learn na madalas, nasa kamay lang ng iilang tao (minsan nga isa lang!) ang decision which artists to support financially... and a lot of them still base it on palakasan, pera, regardless of prevailing trends. Sadly, pag foreign ang pumasok as supported by local counterpart publishers/distributors, may pera silang ibabayad for marketing and payola.

    Sana, magpaka-Jolibee ang mga taga record industry. Lalo't KAILANGAN na because the industry is dying. Ang daming magagaling na local artist at magagandang materials (songs) ang hindi nabibigyan ng break, dahil sa maduming kultura sa industriya, kasama na ang mga taga-radyo. Please, let's not think that we have very few good songs that are radio-worthy. Napakarami, hindi lang pinalulusot.

    Lastly... it's a MATTER OF FACT... K-pop as a fad (or whatever you want to call it) as well as other likewise influential foreign music, whether their popularity is staged/planned or not, as I have discussed above, pose as a threat to many PEOPLE in the OPM industry. It may not be true that K-Pop CAN/MAY topple down OPM, but to some extent, OPM recording artists (and professional arrangers/composers like me) feel threatened. Put yourselves in our shoes... as we compare sales and text votes of K-Pop vs. OPM albums/singles, normal lang na madismaya ka.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kpop here is a fad, no matter how much you say "you'll love kpop forever and ever and everrrr", it will disappear and be replaced by something else - that's a fact. I'm not saying that you shouldn't be a fan, just that some (NOT ALL) Filipinos should re-think the reasons why they're fans. Fads here in the Philippines aren't always genuine - some are really just knock-offs from the West.
    fU
    fad your ass.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Listen, LEAVE people alone if they like Korean Pop Music/Culture. Sure everyone in the Philippines got brainwashed over them because well 99% Koreans are in the Philippines. The Korean Pop Music IS POPULAR IN EVERY COUNTRY!

    no offense but I Philippine Music sucks, its all the same. NO originality people, I hate Philippines its such a poor corrupt country!

    ReplyDelete
  13. *O* commenting here in yr 2012. july 17, KPOP is till at boom. why? *O* why ask? did OPM records/promoters/tv stations/ads etc promote and spent millions of money like KPOP entertainments? NO~~~ -____-

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nah Korean music is so bad. First of all, look at their hairstyle. It seems like they r gay or sth? Ok, there are people who like their styles, but for myself?Blah. Honestly, have you seen a band from America or UK dress like mather fcuker dummies? No. Have you seen them having dumb cuts? No. Seriously if u ask people in UK or America about Koreans, the first thing they come from their minds is that Koreans eat dogs!
    The second thing is that almost 80% of their race have done plastic surgeries! I mean, where is the point of doing that?! God makes everyone to be unique! And now every Korean make themselves into their favorite Korean star! It feels disgusting when the idea of "feel ur face with oil" comes to my mind! I mean, people have their rights to do PS, bt I prefer original. " Life in plastic, so fantastic", is wat happens to Korea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not all Korean music is bad. It's just that you don't appreciate the music they make. First of all, they dress to their own style to catch attention from the public. They do plastic surgery to fix their face or body for the public to notice them. And most of all, they produce their own unique style of music. They don't limit themselves to one type of music only. Their music just keeps on innovating and improving unlike OPM which is into revival , ballads and rock. That is why they're known to be KPOP .

      And just so you know, anybody can write music, it depends on how well you do it. And KPOP does it well. Music isn't about their looks, but it is a huge factor to the music industry. Face it, good looks do have an advantage to this industry. I'm not saying that KPOP depends on their looks alone because there are many KPOP artists that provides beautiful songs with meaningful lyrics. Just like GD's Crooked. First of all his voice is unique, that is what sets him apart from any artist. And many people can relate to the message of the song.

      In other words, KPOP music is beautiful to those who can appreciate it. Unlike you who only sees the physical part. What's the point in criticizing their looks? We're talking about music here not plastic surgery.

      Delete

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