Kuh Ledesma et al not up to competing with Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber

Looks like the anemic Philippine showbiz industry and the economic aspirations of the broader Filipino public are on a collission course. While President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and his henchmen in the "Communication" business scramble to re-direct blame to former President Gloria Arroyo's administration for the dismal showing of the Philippines in a global ranking of "economic freedom" (coming out 115th in a list of 117!), various local artists are calling for a further regulation of the performing arts industry to stem the entry of foreign acts into the country's concert circuit.

Earlier this month, Ledesma made her opinion on the matter of foreign artists "flocking to the Philippines and other Asian nations due to insistent public demand" known to the Media:
In an interview, Ledesma said lawmakers must study how to protect the interests of Filipino artists who are being challenged by concerts of international singing stars such as Swift, Mars and Justin Bieber. She said the foreign artists are now holding concerts during the traditional "concert seasons" in the Philippines such as Valentine's Day and Summer.

The more important issue, however, is more along the lines of the economic freedom issue that has Noynoy's mouthpieces on damage control mode. One of the challenges we face in our efforts to become more competitive globally is to reform a regulatory framework described as "burdensome" in the Heritage Foundation report.

The Manila Standard Today Editor put it quite aptly:
I am surprised that [singer Kuh] Ledesma and company are raising the issue of protectionism at a time when Filipino artists are finally penetrating the global market. Charice Pempengco, Arnel Pineda, Lea Salonga are just some of the Filipino artists who have successfully built a global following. There are actually quite a number of other Filipino musicians and entertainers who are also making waves abroad although may not have stars that shine as brightly as those of Pempengco, Pineda, and Salonga.

So on one hand, we aspire to be a more open economy and then on the other, our noted performing arts celebrities call for a more closed one!

The scary thing to consider here is how many of these protectionist local "artists" provided pro bono "services" to Noynoy's campaign back in 2010. That will again put Noynoy in a tight spot as he balances the interests of Kamaganak and Kabarkada Inc and his government's "reform" agenda.

The funny thing with Filipinos is that we are always so quick to call for a "level playing field". Kelangan pantay ang laban -- provided that it is pantay (levelled) in our mediocre favour.


  1. Is this the "dapat mas malaki ang tax sa mga foreign artists" comment?

    I find it funny that they want to milk foreign artists instead of promoting and improving the appreciation of the local music scene.

    What, the local scene isn't that lucrative enough because of these "new blood" artists?

  2. This is rich coming from someone who's performed in a number of international venues. According to Wikipedia, she toured in New Zealand in 2009.

  3. Its the market Ms. Kuh, its the market's demand and do not tell me you do not like performing in the cities of good old USA for decades. You had been listening to the rants of Socialist hate America, blame
    America, and all that class warfare hogwash agendas.

  4. The editor's claim "Filipino artists are finally penetrating the global market" is a bit misleading. It is the foreign-based companies these Filipino artists work for who have penetrated the global market.

    It's as silly as saying OFW Pinoy factory workers employed at Toyota have conquered the global automotive market.

    Conquering foreign markets is something we've never achieved... well unless we're talking about bibingka, banig and walis tambo markets. Aren't we the top (top among no other competitors) global exporter in those fields? heheh

  5. Gambit,

    You are wrong. Filipinos artists have penetrated the global market in spectacular fashion lately.

    A few examples:

    1. APL of the Black Eyed Peas
    2. Vanessa Hudgens
    3. Arnel Pineda of Journey

    Case closed. Stop hating yourself. Be proud to be Filipino!

  6. @Bayanihan: Yeah, but those artists you cited were identified, backed, and developed by the US entertainment industry. So by all intents and purposes, they are creations not of Filipinos but of Americans. They prospered despite of and NOT because of their being Filipino. Pinoys latched on them just on the basis of ethnicity and not on the basis of much else.

  7. Benign0,

    Martin Scorcese, Sophia Loren, Robert DeNiro were backed by the US Entertainment industry and does that nullify the contribution of their Italian roots? How about Bob Marley and Shakira? Do you apply the same argument that they were only great because of the US entertainment industry? If both can claim their native roots as the source of their strength why not the Filipino Artists I mentioned above?

    Why is it when there are other foreigners are proud of their cultures we accept it as valid? But if its APL, Vanessa Hudgens, and A Pineda, hindi pwede?

    I sense a hypocritical double standard here. In fact, let me just state the obvious that you guys are just not willing to accept the greatness of Filipino culture! I don't understand where all this hatred is coming from. You should be proud to be a Pinoy!!!

  8. @Bayanihan, you miss the point. Have you seen apl.d.ap, Charice Pempengco, and Vanessa Hudgens perform? Are you able to detect evidence of Filipino cultural influence in their performance? What is it about their being Filipino that accounted for their success. In fact, take the case of apl.d.ap. He was virtually an outcast in the Philippines and spurned by his very own teacher in school as a hopeless case.

  9. @Bayanihan, take it easy on the "greatness" slogan and Get Real. Give me an example that originated in Ph that the world benefited like science? In US one's heritage is recognized as such. They are Americans period who has heritages. Then you have the so called hyphenated Americans aka multiculturalist who latch back to their roots akin to regionalism in PH; that belief remigrated back to PH by its proponents where the idyot peryodistas who suffer's ADD or kulang sa pansin picked up and exploited to the max. Italians have bragging rights but they don't brag, only Filipinos brag justified by their ADD no other country I know has the habit of latching, only idyot peryodistas in Ph. The known people would not have made it if they stayed in Ph, they are nobody wherein the idyot peryodistas will latch. Benigno's arguement is precise hombre.

  10. That's exactly it. Your Filipino entertainment "heroes" could be Martians, for all anyone can tell. APL's schtick is to recast himself as a hip-hop ghetto habitue, Vanessa Hudgens (who to my knowledge has never said one word in a public context about being "Filipina") is a packaged Disney product. Arnel Pineda is a hired singer rendering tunes that some other non-Filipino wrote a long time ago.

    The heritages of other Americans are reflected to some degree in their work, in entertainment or other fields. For example, NASA probably wouldn't have gotten to the Moon, or at least not as soon as they did, without the Teutonic personalities and work habits of a bunch of reformed Nazi scientists. Filipinos, on the other hand, for the most part are copycats. Some of them are individually very good at it, but that reflects positively on them as individuals and not the entire culture.

  11. Filipinos would rather patronize foreign acts because of their quality. Taylor Swift and Justin Beiber songs really sound good.

    Now OPM music these days are almost below MEDIOCRE. Most acts are just lame copies of american/british mannerisms. On the forefront of this mediocre madness is Rico Blanco, Urbandub and Franco. They defy the very essence of OPM by sounding like a foreigner.

    If the Eraserhead reunion takes place during Miss Swift's concert, I am pretty sure people will still flock the Eheads concert, mainly because Ely Buendia's songs arent mediocre. But rather convincingly authentic OPM.


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