A blog about music and its evolution in the online world.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Buying Filipino music download online

The increasing penetration of mobile phones that has music download capability and Internet users becoming more sophisticated globally, creates an opportunity for the selling and buying of music download online.

Internet-based music download sales reaches up P24 million a year and at its infancy stage. Most of these revenues are derived from international music sites such as iTunes. (for further validation)

Admittedly, not all record labels and websites are ready for this as piracy, cost, and other legal constraints come into play. Checking out music websites online led me to the following discoveries:
  • Amazon now sells 1500 Filipino music titles online. Most of the images I noticed has a watermark of TatakPilipino.
  • There are almost 110 Filipino artist listed in MP3.com but I haven't found any of them selling music downloads.
There are sites where some of the local artists were able to get their songs listed. Some of them includes:
  • iTunes - the band Overtone, Kitchie Nadal, Universal Records, and Star Records have Filipino songs sold through it and can be purchased at US$0.99 each.
    • From what I found out by asking around, at least 0.70 goes to the artist/record label. In the U.S., bands normally get 4.5 cents on every 99 cents digital download while the music publisher gets 9.1 cents.
    • Local record labels would surely love to have their catalogue on iTunes. However, iTunes doesn't deal with record labels where iTunes is not available. The only way to do it is to have a deal with an agent based in a country where iTunes is available such as The Orchard. In that case, the revenue for the label will be lower as the agent will receive a commission for every download.

  • Digijooze - is a local site where it sells music download of various Filipino artists and the cost per song ranges from 10 to 12 pesos. A prepaid card is usually purchased and the credits in it are used for purchasing. Record labels are usually offered up to 50% to 80% cut of the retail price. (3rd party source, no info on site, e-mail bounces) The site is able to offer at a lower rate as part of its value-added service is to improve record labels' website as well.
    • As the site is selling songs using MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM), this has discouraged some of the record labels.
    • I was trying to purchase from this site and realized that I can't buy the Digijooze card online as there is no registration page for that. When I clicked on the credit card feature, I didn't proceed as it immediately asked for personal information without even asking me to order the merchandise first and be informed of its cost. This makes me wonder on the policy of the credit card payment gateway it signed up with as that is usually not allowed.
    • This site will also be working with one of the big shopping portal site in the country soon.

  • Fliptunes - this site has almost 7100 songs that can be purchased online at 30 to 40 pesos each. It offers music downloads in WMA format with DRM. The site accommodates signed and independent artists and bands. Including video, its listing reaches up to 9000.
    Revenue share given to record labels is at 80%. (3rd party source, no info on site, refused to disclose)

  • PinoyTunes.net - this has 4281 songs that can be purchase at US$0.75 per download. Revenue share given to record labels is at 80% (3rd party source, no info on site, no reply on inquiry so far)

  • Another site where Filipino artist also tries to get into is Payplay and CDBaby.
    (Drip's song Far Side of the World can be found on that site)
    • Mostly indie bands and performers.
    • Record labels are not so keen in having their songs downloaded without DRM.
  • Other popular sites where we will see more artists likely to join in the future are:
The download volumes of all local music sites are not encouraging at this time. There's no royalty report submitted as of this writing. In addition, there's hardly any marketing effort visible at this time on TV, radio, print, and online to drive sales. However, local record labels are optimistic still.

The revenue sharing arrangement between the record label, composer, and artist is based on mechanical production and digital performance rights.

As I was told, some CDs have different pricing tiers. Pricing usually depends if the CD is just released or if it's an old title. Obviously, the new ones would be more pricey than an old title unless the newly released CD has some sort of promo.

For music purchased online, one can argue that it is expensive compared to a CD with its per song price. Although being able to purchase only the songs you like may make it cheaper.


  1. i seem to remember a website that offers mp3 downloads of opm. upon signing up, you get to download 3 free mp3's and if you want to download more, you have to purchase their sort of prepaid card. each song costs P25 and the artists get a part of that fee. i don't remember the name of the site and im not sure either if its still running. maybe it was overthrown by piracy. but im pretty sure it was there because it was often advertised in MTV and that's where i got to download Nancyspungen and Neruda mp3's.

  2. Hello Isel. Could you recall what year was that?

  3. I know Acel Bisa since kapitbahay namin sya along with some of her former bandmates from Orphanlily to Moonstar88 and now Acel lang sya. So I have been taking quick peeks at what she has been doing every now and then. On her site I have seen her maximize the use of social media to promote her songs and ngayon ko lang nabalitaan she is using Digijooze to sell. But knowing that she has been constantly researching/experimenting, maybe she would be a good source of information.

  4. @Internet Party - thank you for the suggestion. I shall do that. Cheers! =)

  5. I wrote out a lengthy response to this article, just to round out the discussion and hopefully present a different angle with which to look at this topic. Most interesting bit:

    1) there’s a logical leap in the observation that piracy is at fault when it comes to the poor success of the record industry. nobody has data that proves this, and the statistics listed above are beside the point. why? because in order to say that piracy is hurting the music industry, you have to first assume that all of the people who pirated music would have otherwise _bought_ those CDs had piracy not been any option. that’s a huge assumption, and it’s the cornerstone of all anti-piracy arguments. the truth of the matter is, people who pirate consume more music because it’s free. if they had to pay for everything they listened to, they would consume less, or not at all.

    Full entry here.

  6. @luis - thanks for sharing your insight. Actually you are right on the dot there as not all customers of pirated music are actually music buyers. In analyzing music piracy activities though, there's no discrimination whether they are buyers, with or without piracy. Buying or copying a pirated work is still considered as a revenue loss that has its corresponding value. There is also an assumption that they get passed on and spread that has its counterpart revenue loss.

  7. (These comments really should have been posted to your earlier Piracy article. Sorry about that.)

    > Buying or copying a pirated work is still considered as
    > revenue loss that has its corresponding value.

    This reasoning is actually where I take issue. How is there revenue loss, exactly? There was no change in inventory, and no damage done to the artist. These copies are created with no physical cost associated with them, and attaching a revenue loss on something that didn't exist until I pressed Ctrl+C 5 seconds ago seems to me like an exercise in futility. (Note that you can create profit from digital copies; but I find the act of bemoaning the revenue loss from these copies --which have no intrinsic value-- to be an insipid endeavour.)

    The problem I think is that we are using old measuring sticks for new situations. I don't claim to have the correct answers to this (although I do have some ideas), but we need to first recognize that those systems of measurement are no longer appropriate before we can fix them.

  8. Hi Luis. What defines piracy are the acts stated in our country's law, that in the Intellectual Property Code. To redefine the measurement would require changing the definition of copyright violation and piracy under the law.

    Replacing the definitions under the law will be the first step before new measurements can be created (where it is usually based on). I look forward to your thoughts on the definition changes.