As of 1 January 2019, OPM has garnered nearly 10 billion streams on Spotify globally, cementing its place as an immensely popular genre — especially in the Philippines. Spotify continues to show its support for the thriving OPM industry by zeroing in on the Pinoy Rock genre and the talented artists who have been dominating Spotify’s Top 50 charts in the Philippines.
Today, Spotify brings Filipino fans closer to their favorite artists with the launch of its three-part Pinoy Rock video series that puts the spotlight on Pinoy Rock musicians of the past and present.
Available on Spotify Philippines’ Facebook page, the series brings together timeless musical acts such as Sponge Cola, Hale, and Callalily, with up-and-coming talents like This Band, December Avenue, and I Belong to the Zoo to chat about the OPM rock scene, their struggles as artists, and what they want to see in the local music scene in the next few years.
On Pinoy Alt Rock
Sponge Cola credits the rise of Pinoy Alt Rock to the groundwork laid by bands like Eraserheads, Rivermaya, and Parokya Ni Edgar, who performed in Manila’s iconic Club Dredd during the ‘90s. It’s a sentiment echoed by Callalily and December Avenue.
The members of This Band describe Pinoy Alt Rock as “saktong lungkot na may galit” [the right balance of sadness and anger].
On the best song they’ve ever released
This Band considers “Kahit Ayaw Mo Na” as the best song they’ve released to date. The track is their first single, which hit #1 on Spotify’s Philippines Top 50 and Viral Charts and has consistently trended on the Philippines Top 50 Charts since its release. It even entered Spotify’s Global Viral 50 Charts in December 2018 and has more than 54 million streams to date.
For Sponge Cola, “The best song we released would have to be ‘Jeepney,’” says frontman Yael Yuzon, “I think it embodies who we are. We’re very sentimental people.”
Callalily says 2006’s “Magbalik” is their best song because of how “life-changing” it was, while Hale jokes that their 2005 hit “The Day You Said Goodnight” changed their lives so much that they “had to stop school.”
On the Alt Rock music scene in the ‘00s and today
I Belong to the Zoo credits technology for changing the way he sees fans listening to his music. “May resibo ka na. Dito pinapakinggan, ganito pinapakinggan, dito ako gusto ng mga tao. [Now, you can see who listens to you. I can see where they’re listening, how they’re listening, and where I’m most listened to.]”
“Back then, it was very traditional. You really need to be signed by a big label because everything is expensive when produced,” says Hale frontman Champ Lui Pio.
“Before, for you to be able to release something, it has to be part of an album,” says Callalily. “Pero ngayon, magsusulat ka ng kanta, ang layo ng mileage kaagad because of Spotify. [But now, you can write and release a song, and the mileage gets so far because of Spotify.]”
December Avenue also shares their experience as an independent band. “Wala kaming radio presence, wala kaming TV presence. Kailangan lang namin mag-resort sa mga tools na available sa amin, like the Internet. Sobrang laking tulong ng Spotify, actually. Parang ‘yon na yong naging form of distribution namin. [We don’t have radio or TV presence, so we resort to the tools available at our disposal, like the Internet. Spotify is a huge help, actually. It became like a form of distribution for us.]” December Avenue is currently Spotify’s second most-streamed local artist in the Philippines in 2018.