Most people equate the success of the local music industry with album sales, or the number of hit songs it can produce. But for “OPM Means”—a new movement that aims to cultivate and promote Filipino music—OPM (Original Pilipino Music) is, more than anything else, about love, expression and cultural identity.
“There’s been a lot of talk about OPM being dead. We’re here to erase that notion by mounting projects that will help propel OPM forward,” Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM) vice president for external affairs Noel Cabangon told the Inquirer.
“We want to encourage more people to embrace and support original Filipino mu sic, and inspire more musicians to continue writing music,” Cabangon added.
Working hand in hand with OPM is the campaign’s prime mover Radio Republic, and other music organizations and stakeholders such as 7101 Music Nation, Rock Ed Philippines, MediaNation, OPM2Go, Kopiko and Lenovo.
“The whole objective of this movement is to tell people that we all care about OPM,” said Cabangon.
Asked why the group came up with an open-ended title for their initiative, Radio Republic chief of strategy and business development Twinky Lagdameo said it was because OPM could mean different things to different people.
“Music plays unique roles in our lives, and we don’t want to offend, antagonize or compare. We’re not forcing anyone to like a specific genre,” she told the Inquirer. “It doesn’t matter whether you like mainstream, indie, classical, rock or pop. At the end of the day, you’re still supporting our local artists.”
For Lagdameo, personally, OPM means love and respect. “I have complete deference to our artists because they do something that I can’t, which is creating something that can touch people.”
Fest within a fest
To jump-start the campaign, “OPM Means” is mounting “We are One”—a music festival within the 18th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival to be held tomorrow until Feb. 23 at the Omni Aviation Complex, Clark Freeport, Pampanga.
Set to rock the two-day event are solo acts and bands such as Ogie Alcasid, Dingdong Avanzado, Joey Ayala, Ryan Cayabyab, Color It Red, Yeng Constantino, Ebe Dancel, Jay Durias, The Dawn, Gloc-9, Mike Kosa, Quest, AJ Rafael, Salamin, Spongecola, Julianne Tarroja, Urbandub, Wolfgang and Jessa Zaragoza.
“We called it ‘We are One’ because we wanted to relay the message that, whether you’re a musician, a stakeholder or simply a fan, we can all stand united in support of OPM,” said Lagdameo.
“We are One” is just one of many activities lined up by “OPM Means” for this year. Lagdameo said they’re also planning to hold campus and community tours. One of the more
interesting projects is the construction of a mobile music stage called “music bus.”
“The music bus will be driven to different towns. We’ll be the ones bringing the music to the people,” Lagdameo explained. “Aside from being entertaining, it’s also going to be educational.”
And aside from concerts and shows, “OPM Means” also hopes to stage a music summit later this year, with the intention of gathering stakeholders and music organizations to discuss pertinent issues about the local music industry, said Cabangon. “Two of the main topics will be OPM as an economic driver and cultural identity,” he said.