For only 15 pesos, a Pinoy can now download—and even share—his favorite OPM hit.
This is what Ogie Alacasid's latest business venture hopes to achieve.
At the press conference held yesterday, March 14, he said, "Ang gusto naming mangyari, magka-access ang masa. Kasi yun yung problema, yung masang Pinoy, hindi sila makabili ng kanta kasi mahal, e. Mahal ang CD.
"Ngayon at 10 pesos, 15 pesos per copy, if they're able to download ringback ringtones for 15 pesos, what more a whole song using their phones?"
OPM2GO, as the singer-comedian explained, "is not in any way connected or related to OPM (Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit)," where he is president.
Ogie added, "Although it goes with the advocacy of promoting Filipino music and it also [fulfills] the advocacy of trying to help our musicians...it is an independent company, which now has 15 staff members."
PINOY iTUNES. The idea was inspired by Apple's iTunes, which is the world's biggest music store.
A nudge from his wife, Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez, propelled him to pursue the project.
The Kapuso star related, "When I started this kasi, parang nagising ako, sabi ko sa asawa ko, 'Alam mo, Hon, ang problema natin kaya patay ang negosyo, kasi nga, yung transition from CD to MP3 has not been established.'
"'Kailangan meron tayong iTunes natin,' sabi ko. Sabi niya, 'E, oo nga, e. Ba't di natin gawin?'"
So he set up a meeting with the telecoms and PARI (Philippine Association of the Record Industry, Inc.).
The former gave him positive feedback.
According to Ogie, "They said, 'Yeah, we can do this.'
"And then, they said, 'We can come up with a system wherein downloads can be done on the phone and we can monetize it using the prepaid cards or through postpaid.'
"E, sabi nila, 'Teka, puwede nating gawin ito pero wala namang company...'
"Sabi ko, 'Sige, popondohan ko.'
"So, along with my partners, we put up this company because of that vision."
INITIAL BUMPS. However, not all record labels were acquiescent to Ogie's proposal.
"Even my own music record—Universal [Records]," he remarked.
The award-winning performer elaborated, "The others we've spoken to, [said] they're still thinking about it. I think they're a bit wary about the price...
"Well, I think [that's a lot to] consider. I think when I talked naman to the labels, they saw the advocacy behind it. And then, they're really supportive talaga.
"Yung pag ano [sali], 'Okay 'yan, okay 'yan, kaya lang, wait and see muna kami, siguro.'
"But that's okay, wala namang problema dun.
"I think iTunes started that way also. There was a lot of reluctance from the music labels, too..."
But he's hoping that all the major recording companies will eventually jump on the bandwagon.
"It is important for us to have them really...I'm just praying that they join.
"[Pero] hindi ko siya pinuproblema kasi mas mahalaga sa akin na masimulan ito," he said.
To date, "Vicor and Viva are the only angels we have so far," and OPM2GO has so far included 12,000 songs and 80 independent musicians.
And propagating the site (CLICK HERE) is currently his priority.
OPM2GO. ComeMarch 28, the project will be formally launched.
It will feature the OPM classics of Eddie Peregrina, some greatest hits of Ogie himself, including Sarah Geronimo's new songs.
It also aims to entice independent musicians who want to release singles but are not affiliated with a record label. Jet Pangan is in charge of making this community grow, Ogie says.
Soon, it will also have a spot for indie films, plus, sound bites from his famous TV character Boy Pick Up.
But more than the revenue part, OPM2GO is an attempt to address the country's piracy problem.
Ogie mused, "Piracy is here. It's an evil that exists and we have to learn to live with it.
"That, you know, it's like robbery...It's people who copy Louis Vuitton bags...
"So yes, the government will keep trying to curb piracy. Yes, they will try to encourage people not to buy pirated stuff.
"But then again, consumer is king. They'll do anything and everything they wanna do.
"Now, ang thinking namin, at 10, 15 pesos a copy, bibilhin mo na iyan, e...Hindi mo na...Although you can choose to share it..."
Ogie believes that people will not think twice about investing in something they really like.
His lengthy explanation: "I read a blog just recently about this person who's saying, 'You know what, just stop telling us not to buy pirated stuff because that's our right.
"'Why don't you just create music and if we really like it, we'll buy it.'
"I said, 'Wow, that makes sense.'
"Sabi ko, 'Yeah, like for me, pag gustung-gusto ko talaga yung kanta ay dina-download ko talaga, kung gustung-gusto ko yung pelikula, dina-download ko.
"That's what I'm saying...We can keep trying, we can keep lobbying, uhm, that is actually ongoing in Congress.
"We've lobbied for stricter, better anti-piracy laws but it's languishing in Congress. There are bigger things they're talking about right now, like, the impeachment."
And while local musicians and loyal fans of Pinoy music are waiting for the government's next move to address the problem, Ogie has chosen to become "proactive."
"Fifteen pesos lang sa OPM2GO, may song ka na, nakatulong ka pa sa industriya," he said.