Music industry upbeat about iTunes Philippines

The music industry is upbeat about the opening of the iTunes Store in the country.

Because Apple’s online digital media vendor is largely identified with music, stalwarts of the industry were the first to react to the news that the service is now available in the Philippines, as well as in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Yeng Constantino, Barbie Almalbis, Rico Blanco and Ebe Dancel immediately tweeted and retweeted the announcement on Wednesday and urged their followers to buy their latest releases from iTunes Philippines.

Ogie Alcasid

Even singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid, president of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit, who launched only last March the similar OPM2Go website that allows the purchase of OPM songs for P15 each, welcomed the development.

“Any avenue where our musicians can sell their music is great!!” he tweeted.

Former record company executive Mony Romana believes iTunes will propel digital sales for the music industry as a whole.

“Because the Apple brand is behind it, they have the advantage of an easy buy-in. That will hopefully help change the public’s attitude towards getting music online,” Romana noted.

Toti Dalmacion

Music impresario Toti Dalmacion has been doing business with iTunes US for years through his company, Terno Recordings. That is how selected releases of Terno artists such as Up Dharma Down have found a market in the US, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand.

“Regarding iTunes being here in the country now and other Asian countries, I actually like that because we can now concentrate on one company for the digital side of things as opposed to having so many local third parties or aggregators,” Dalmacion explained.

“It’s also easy to monitor, from our viewpoint as a record company. So it’s good and that way neighboring Asian countries have digital access to the releases as well and not just for Terno but for other local labels and artists,” he added.

Former band manager, events organizer, and now publisher Teddy Dario is likewise upbeat about iTunes’ entry into the Philippine market.

“It will now be easier to purchase Filipino albums, singles, even classics and make it more accessible to a wider international audience. It will also now be easy for Pinoys in the US and Europe to purchase the latest Tagalog hit singles online as well as older music by artists such as Florante or Hot Dog. I just hope that Filipino artists can easily put their work on sale on the iTunes store and explore this opportunity,” Dario said.

Warner Music Philippines executive Anne Poblador immediately gave iTunes Philippines a whirl by downloading Rico Blanco’s new single, “Amats”.

“We should embrace growth. This is something positive for the industry. It’s a sign that we are moving forward!” she enthused.

Dong Abay

Dong Abay, who will launch his new album “Rebulto” on Thursday at Cubao X, was also in a gleeful mood.

“This is great! Mas madaling ma-access ang Filipino music online. I love Apple. Sana bigyan nila ako ng hi-tech gadgets,” he wisecracked.

And hard rock fan Wo Rosete, an executive of Smart Communications who has been sponsoring some of the biggest major concerts in the country in recent years, said, “Finally! Yes, this should be good for the Philippine music industry.”

Rosete sees a boon for unsigned bands and the back catalogue of veteran artists.

“The traditional ‘record contract’ is already a thing of the past. As a distribution channel, iTunes Philippines can also help resurrect classic Pinoy rock in digital format! How about a digital only compilation of ’80s Pinoy punk bands? Asteeeeg! Digital-only recordings are less costly to produce so Razorback and Wolfgang can now release digital-only versions of a full concert,” he elaborated.

But there are others who expressed reservations about the download service taking off in the country.

Former music blogger Jim Ayson said, “99 cents per track charged to credit cards is not for the masses. Apple should open itself to operator billing so you can pay with your cellphone bill or load.”

Similarly, musician and Radio Repulic Philippines content manager Adrian Arcega pointed out, “I’m curious, more than anything. Not a lot of Filipinos own credit cards, so that’s something iTunes has to hurdle. But hey, they changed the purchasing habits of the rest of the music-consuming world, so who knows? The local online music stores have a headstart and an advantage in that sense.”

And former director of programming for MTV Philippines Andrew De Castro (a.k.a. North Andrew for old fans of radio station 99.5 RT) is a little more guarded with his optimism.

“Of course, iTunes opening in the Philippines is a welcome development. But I’m not sure it will positively impact the music industry in a big way — but I hope it does,” De Castro offered.

“For sure, the AB class will patronize iTunes Philippines because it’s convenient. It’s instant and goes straight to their iDevice. The lower classes, though, will probably continue to download from file sharing sites or go pirated. The 50 bucks per track they’d have to pay at iTunes can get them an entire album on CD at a tiangge,” he said.

Nevertheless, De Castro still sees a bright side to an iTunes presence here. “I think it benefits indie artists most. The revenue goes straight to them and they don’t need to tie up with a label for distribution,” he concluded.

At the moment, there are still more Filipino artists on iTunes US than on iTunes Philippines.

article source: