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Whatâs the present state of the music industry?
Jed Madela (above) has been in the music scene for over 15 years now, while Jonathan Manalo is a consistent Original Pilipino Music hitmaker and he is currently the creative director of ABS-CBN Music. Both are aware of the impact of the ongoing health crisis to the recorded and live music industry.

What’s the present state of the music industry?

DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - June 10, 2021 - 12:00am

It’s interesting to learn from Jed Madela and Jonathan Manalo about the present state of the music industry in this time of pandemic.

Jed has been in the music scene for over 15 years now, while Jonathan is a consistent Original Pilipino Music (OPM) hitmaker and he is currently the creative director of ABS-CBN Music. Both are aware of the impact of the ongoing health crisis to the recorded and live music industry.

Jed doesn’t hide the fact that the shutdown of concerts, festivals and corporate shows has caused a frightening dip not just in live music revenues but in the artists as well. Singers, like everyone else, suddenly lost their jobs and started living on their savings.

“When the pandemic started, everything stopped,” began Jed. “It’s really tough, especially if your business is the main source of your income. You really have to adjust big time.”

During the height of the pandemic, everyone had to find ways to earn a living. Jed observed that most people, including artists, are now forced to learn the ropes of going online and using social media platforms.

“The good side of social media, it’s very accessible to everybody because I’ve been seeing a lot of excellent performers who, if not for the pandemic, won’t have the opportunity to come out.”

Jed pointed out the reality that performers on social media do not receive as much pay as compared to the days when they were still doing concerts or corporate events. “With us performers and singers, we don’t get the entire monetization because, of course, you get to share it with the copyright owner, and the platform as well. Unlike when you are a performer in an event, you get the whole talent fee. So, it’s really a big adjustment but we have to keep on living our lives. Hindi p’wedeng mag-hintay lang. We have to find ways.”

Jonathan agrees that the pandemic has dealt a catastrophic blow to the music industry. More so, to live music than the recorded music. He said that famous singers used to have weekly shows with hefty talent fees “and so it was truly a big loss for them.”

What’s good, Jonathan said, that the local music has already adjusted to using digital streaming platforms even before the pandemic hit.

“We already have digital shows but they are not paying as much compared to actual live concerts. The live music is struggling but on the brighter side, buti na lang ‘yung recorded music has transitioned to digital before the pandemic happened because if we were still in the time na kailangan mo pang pumunta sa music bars to buy a CD, well, good luck na lang kasi parang sinehan ‘yan na nag-sara.”

Spotify and YouTube are among the most convenient streaming platforms available for performers to showcase their talent. A recorded music, Jonathan disclosed, can earn a lot online if it becomes a hit.

With the pandemic, Jonathan said the digital revenues increased due to the music consumption of people. “Since everyone has nothing much to do, there is the tendency to watch on YouTube or listen to Spotify and create a playlist so there’s a great potential for artists to be creative in putting out their recordings and turn them into hits.”

Kim Chiu, he added, was able to make an accidental hit. Remember that Bawal Lumabas issue that later on became a meme? She then turned it into a song and became a hit.

“That’s the best example of creating a hit because Kim was able to monetize that and based on the momentum it has gotten, abot ng millions (views).”

With so many new faces and voices on social media, professional singers should also make an effort to step up.

“This is not the time to be complacent,” said Jed. “New voices kinda give old-timers that push to work better. You need to come up with something else or if not, talagang makakalimutan ka,” Jed said.

Ever wonder why there is really not much who truly becomes popular? Jed said that there are a lot of factors, among them is consistency.

“The performer is always there, all right. But the listeners or viewers parang maikli ‘yung attention span na they gonna listen but if the singer keeps on giving the same amount of performance, the listeners would look for other performers since they have the option kumbaga to ‘shop’ sino pa ‘yung susuportahan.”

Overall, Jed said everything depends on the matter of strategy on how you will stay long and succeed in your craft. “You should plot your goal, target a specific time to achieve that goal and know your purpose.”

But an egregiously unpredictable pandemic like COVID-19 can just easily discombobulate a clueless world like ours.

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