Over half of Filipinos in the music industry earn less than P20,000

FILIPINO ARTISTS and musicians busking in the park at Cagayan de Oro.

MORE THAN 50% of Filipinos employed in the music industry earn under P20,000 a month, according to a national music stakeholders survey by the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DoST-NRCP).

A statement from the DoST-NRCP noted that this amount “almost falls a little over the minimum wage in the National Capital Region.”

The project analyzed the country’s music market based on 700 respondents and data from focus group discussions with music stakeholders, music-related companies, and organizations from different regions nationwide. It found that the majority of Filipino musicians are freelance artists, with non-music-industry income to support their living expenses.

“Local artists would always have to go through what we normally identify as sariling sikap (self-reliance), that is, without any government intervention and support in music training, marketing, and promotion,” said Maria Alexandra Chua, head of DoST-NRCP’s Musika Pilipinas Project, in a statement.

Preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the gross value added of the country’s creative industry-related activities expanded from P1.61 trillion in 2022 to P1.72 trillion in 2023. The music sector’s contribution to that is 8.8%, which amounts to P18.1 billion.

Ms. Chua concluded from the findings that “a centralized music coordinating council that will handle the dynamics, concerns, strategic development plan, and challenges faced by the Philippine music industry and its stakeholders” must be created.

Jim Paredes, singer-songwriter-producer and board trustee at the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (FILSCAP), told BusinessWorld in a voice call that the large number of low earners is due to the many respondents who have music only as an alternate source of income.

However, the existence of organizations like FILSCAP, allows for more avenues for musicians to improve. “I highly recommend that musicians join a guild. It’s very helpful. For example, if your songs are registered with FILSCAP, they monitor if the songs are being played and you get royalties,” he explained.

For Mr. Paredes, such groups aid with professionalizing fees, with songwriting workshops, developing legislation, and for representation — though there’s always room for improvement.

He cited the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act, created in 2022 to boost the country’s potential to be a hub for creative industries, as an important starting point. The next step is for artists, composers, and musicians to make their voices heard in discussions. — Brontë H. Lacsamana