If the international music scene is all about packaging, what had happened to our very own OPM?
I get sick and tired of the same old OPM songs being played over the radio nowadays. An artist who came fresh from a contest is highly predictable to release another revival of an OPM Classic. How many versions were there of the songs ‘Ikaw’, ‘Ikaw Lamang’, etcetera?
The music industry is now controlled by another medium than music. Usually, to be able to sell, they have to link it to a movie or a teleserye. The quality and it being up to date may have been compromised. In our efforts to make money out of it, the artistry and quality suffer.
I am, however, thankful for a few artists who still try to make efforts to uplift the current status of the OPM. A very good example is Sam Concepcion’s ‘Dati’, the rapper Quest and, of course, Sarah Geronimo’s ‘Ikotikot’. Artists mentioned still try to produce music that are up to date and has the subtle merging of something old and new. It is, maybe, an effort to achieve musical transition instead of getting stuck in the old OPM. They are slowly trying to redefine the cliché music we have now. Because if they do it very sudden, people would perceive it as trying-too-hard-to-sound-like-an-international-artist.
In terms of saleability though, I don't think the masa market is the market.. That’s why I find it difficult to grasp why producers would continue to make music based on the masa appeal. Of course, these are just in my own point of view. Why? The masa market would surely rather download it from torrents, of course. The Pinoy market is harder to convince. And basing from the history of bestselling OPM albums, the identified market is the middle and upper class, I assume.
I remember back in the day, people would get excited when they hear South Border, Freestyle, Side A, Regine, Nina or Kyla would release a new album or do a concert. There is a certain premium into it. Something they can play in their cars without the shame of being dubbed as jologs. What do they have in common back in the day? They produce good quality music, something fresh and innovative.
Why is Nina Live so successful? It was when recorded revivals were airing and all up in the radio that she released a live album. Live but polished so people can admire her vocals and the song arrangements well. She must have learned that Pinoy pop and R & B bands were selling big in that arena so she smart them out with a sort of unplugged album of her own. Next thing we knew, it became a diamond record just like that. People see that it is worth the buy. And these people are usually the middle and upper class of the society, someone who can afford to buy a worthy Pinoy album or pay for a concert ticket. It is a misconception to produce music based on the masa market. Look where it brought us. The music we have now had very little progress, in my opinion. Instead of us going head to head with the quality of the international music like before, we were left behind with the usual OPM classics. It is disappointing specially if we realize how talented and impressive Pinoy singers are. It is good, but too much of it is annoying. Don’t you think?
Take the band Freestyle for example, why were they such a hit back in the day? They were able to produce songs that sounded current with the international music back then. They slowly and successfully penetrated the Pinoy market with their international sound and introduced Tagalog songs that were of equal quality. Pretty much the same formula as that of South Border and Side A.Of course their time has passed but at least I’m hoping the music scene can give us something of that magnitude now. Last time I got so excited about OPM was when I heard of the song ‘Dati’ by Sam Concepcion over the radio. I thought it was current, fresh and how the new OPM should sound like. It is still locally relatable but the lyrics were innovative and the sound is definitely current. I had only wished he could have produced a whole album full of tagalog songs in that caliber. That way, he has served both the old and new market rather than try hard to copy the international sound we have today. His album may have been a reflection that we can still go head to head with the current international music; but at least produce more tagalong songs to make it innovative and at the same time cool.