Philippine Music: Comprehending The Idiocy Of A Platinum Album
Just recently, I read about how Pilipinas Got Talent winner Jovit Baldivino received a platinum status for his debut album entitled Faithfully. According to ABS-CBN news, because of Baldivino’s recent success in reaching platinum, ABS-CBN will now host a major concert featuring Jovit Baldivino at the Aliw Theater on November 13.
Performing with Jovit Baldivino are the likes of Yeng Constantino, Melai Cantiveros, Jason Francisco, Kim Chiu and Sam Milby as special guests.
OK – so what does a platinum album really mean in the Philippines? In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) declares an album reaches gold status when it has sold more than 500,000 copies. It reaches platinum status when the album has sold more than 1,000,000 copies. That’s in the United States.
Here in the Philippines, the equivalent body of the US RIAA is the Philippine Association of the Record Industry (PARI). Now, the PARI has its own set of rules. The PARI awards a gold status to an album if it has sold 10,000 copies, and it awards platinum status if the album has sold 20,000 copies.
20,000 copies for a platinum album? That’s a far cry from the global standard of 1 million. Those 20,000 copies can be easily bought out by the recording company. In the case of Jovit Baldivino, it is plausible that the 20,000 copies were paid for and bought by ABS-CBN, and were probably given for free during Wowowee or whatever noon time variety show they have. Of course, I merely allege.
ABS-CBN news does well to self-promote their own talent. After all, it is ABS-CBN who manages Jovit Baldivino as a talent, gave him his recording deal, and will be in charge of promoting his career further. They play his songs from the album regularly on their own radio stations (both AM and FM), and have him guest and sing on their TV shows, both for cable and the local nationwide broadcast. As an added bonus , ABS-CBN has already cast Baldivino on different TV shows of the network to promote his versatile talent. Then, there will be the articles to follow on ABS-CBN owned publications, websites and partner sites. We even haven’t tackled the other non-ABS-CBN media outlets who will also jump on this promotion from magazines to newspapers, and other internet and social media, like Yahoo, where I chanced upon it.
Clearly, there is some kind of bias in this kind of self-promotion that any average Filipino doesn’t see off the bat. You find the talent, hone it and flex your muscles of self-promotion, covering it up with pretty ribbons and shiny gift wrapping. You throw around some money – and maybe even buy 20,000 copies of an album – and present the success to an estimated 90,000,000 Filipinos all over the country, plus some more from all over the world. What a promotional machinery! What a media giant!
The truth of the matter is – the platinum status of Jovit Baldivino’s album (and of other ABS-CBN or Star Recording artists like Nina, Kris Aquino, Charice Pempengco, Sam Milby, Toni Gonzaga among others) are not platinum as the world knows it to be. And yet, you can read about it on the Internet, at Yahoo, and it will give the false impression to the rest of the world that his album has made the same sales as big artists in the US who hit 1 million in record sales. Or maybe I just think it does.
I believe that whenever a Filipino artist hits platinum, there should be an asterisk that says he sold 20,000 copies only, so as not to mislead others to think that they follow the American trend of 1 million copies. That’s just my opinion. I think the colonial mental state when it comes to music is somehow US-shaped, and this could be a misleading thing. Or maybe it’s just me who doesn’t get it.
Of course, this platinum status varies in each country. In places like Peru, the platinum threshold is only at 6,000 albums sold. But that’s probably because only Peruvians can understand Peruvian songs and singers.
Anyway – I’m not out to rain on the parade on the success of artists like Jovit Baldivino. I’m not crab mentality-ing. In fact, it’s great that he’s hit the big leagues and is making something with his talent. At least I know he’s got talent. There are some artists who can’t even sing for shit. Did anyone say Willie Revillame, or did I hear Kris Aquino?
I guess what I’m really irked about is how networks like ABS-CBN put all sorts of spin on the issue, manipulating it from its inception to its perch in the glitzy havens of showbusiness. They throw around their monopolizing media powers to deceive their audience into believing that they bring out greatness with whatever they bake in their oven – even if just because the minority of 20,000 platinum-building Filipinos (of an estimated total of 90 million plus citizens) paid for it.
Maybe there’s just something wrong with the rules of PARI to think that sales of 20,000 albums are good for a platinum status, even if, in reality, it doesn’t even make up 1 percent of the total population. And yet, there are the media powers who make it sound BIG, albeit their selfish interests.
I might be wrong, but there is something idiotic about it. And I think it might be that they’re the idiots, or maybe I am.
Note: I don’t work for GMA (the network or the former President).