Debunking Myths: K-Pop is “Killing” OPM

The late 2000s saw the increased popularity of K-Pop in the local music scene. Not a day would pass by without hearing Wonder Girls’ “Nobody” or 4Minute’s “Muzik” on the radio stations. MYX would play music videos of Super Junior, 2NE1, Big Bang, and Girls’ Generation upon fan requests. Recently, BTS, EXO, Black Pink, and MOMOLAND songs managed to penetrate local charts. We’re pretty sure almost every household had PSY’s Gangnam Style during their Christmas party and everyone, including parents and teachers, did (and are still doing) the viral Bboom Bboom challenge.

However, not everyone hospitably welcomed the Hallyu wave. Some people even claim that K-Pop has contributed to the “death,” if not is killing, Original Pilipino Music (OPM).

Did OPM really die?

On the contrary, OPM is very much alive thanks to the rise of digital music. While we may hear Momoland’s “Bboom Bboom” on daily basis, local songs dominate not only the airwaves but also the music charts. You may see your friends dancing to Black Pink’s “Ddu Du Ddu Du” or screaming over the latest music videos and performances but ask them and they can actually sing along to Moira Dela Torre’s “Tagpuan” or Shanti Dope’s “Nadarang. “

Is it covers you’re looking for? Just search for Michael Pangilinan and KZ Tandingan covers on YouTube and Spotify! A radio station also has a program featuring local singers performing covers as well as their original compositions. If you think there are no more active local bands today, it’s not true. Bands such as Up Dharma Down, Ang Bandang Shirley, and Parokya ni Edgar promote OPM by regularly holding gigs in various parts of the country. Drop by clubs and bars and you may spot a band or two performing their hit singles. How about hip-hop? We have Gloc 9 and Ex-Battalion to name a few, and there are a lot more in the underground scene. Missing the Manila sound? Spotify has a playlist dedicated to this genre. Also, remember last year when the ASEAN Music Festival had to be cancelled because too many people attended the event and the venue could not accommodate the crowd anymore?

To sum it up, OPM neither died nor disappeared from the mainstream scene. In this digital age, local music is more alive than ever thanks to various platforms on the internet allowing both active and aspiring artists to share their music. We just need to look beyond our social media timelines to appreciate homegrown talents (because let’s be real, the internet can be deceiving at times).

The OPM scene still has a lot of growth potential and this does not mean that it has never recovered, or at least never tried to recover, from its slump. With this, it is unfair to blame K-Pop for this assumed “death.” Filipinos regularly consume Western music but the blame seemed to have undeservingly shifted to the “new genre” in town. Maybe, we just need to unlearn the colonial mindset that is pretty much still ingrained in our society, or perhaps even the internalized discrimination against Asians (with the elevation of the Western culture as always the “better” one) and against our own cultural products which many people tend to relegate to the “baduy” and “kadiri” category.

Or maybe, we have to start realizing that in this digital age, music appreciation can no longer measured by physical album sales.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying K-Pop — or any other foreign artist for that matter — and it doesn’t make you less of a Filipino. However, it is still nice if we listen to OPM at the very least once in a while because honestly, the talent we admire from foreign artists is just as present in our own Filipino music scene.

With this, check out this amazing playlist of the most recent OPM songs that you might like!

Irish Valdez
Irish is a 20-something fangirl who still dreams of receiving a letter from a famous magic school or becoming a pilot of a giant robot. She also believes that milk tea and pudding are a perfect combination. When not spazzing over her favorite KPop groups or writing articles, Irish is watching anime, or reading books. You can check out her Tumblr!

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