Thursday, October 31, 2013

'Wa Tay Snow! Wa Tay Snow! Wa Tay Snow!

A Cebuano songwriter proposed to release a song called 'Wa Tay Snow'.

Imagine this: lyrics written in Cebuano describing the Filipinos' delusion to white Christmas sung to the tune of 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!'. It's not only brilliant, it's also comical and an eye-opener. 'Wa Tay Snow' means we do not have snow. The context of the lyrics will tell you of almost every Filipino's obsession to the western practices of Christmas.

I would hear foreigners saying how weird it is to see Christmas trees, mock snow, and all the winter-like decors in December inside the hotels and malls in the Philippines when it's oven hot outside. Imagine that. It's not only funny, but stupid - snow, Christmas tree, Santa Claus, reindeers, and so on. We are trying to be what we are not and I think it's a shameful culture.

And so when I heard the demo, I immediately saw the potential. And I'm sure a lot of people, although they may not admit it, can very much relate to the Filipinos' stupidity of embracing the western practices of Christmas.

But I advised the songwriter to hold the release of the song while I work on the adaptation license to record it. 'Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!' is originally written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn under Cahn Music Publishing Co. (ASCAP). After a few more research work, I ended communicating to Warner Music NY and because the Philippines is in Asia, they forwarded me to their Asian head office in Malaysia. This was a year ago. We had a long email discussion and they charged me PhP25,000 to record and use the song.

I think it's a reasonable rate. However, if we are to invest on the license, it has to be recouped somehow and so I asked what percentage of ownership should they share with us on the new musical work. This is their reply (name of the respondent removed):

Hi Ian,

The Cebuano lyric is included in composition. Which mean the original composer & original lyricist will be remain by their own share. (Publishing rights)

Regarding the recording rights, it depend the future new cover artist intend to use which recording version, or their also can do their own recording without pay for recording rights.

Best Regards,

I'm not sure if I understood this accurately but nothing happened and Christmas 2012 eventually ended.

This year, I decided to revisit the project and as I was advised, Universal Records turned out to be the copyright administrator of 'Let It Snow' in the Philippines. I managed to contact them. In our email conversation, they again included Warner Music Asia in the thread. This time they charged me USD20,000 (USD not PHP) and after a very long discussion and attempts to persuade on the ownership issue, this is their final response (name of the respondent removed).

Hi Ian,

Please understand that the rule for adaptation is that you can change the lyrics with prior permission and approval of the owner but that should not diminish or lessen the rights and or the ownership of the intellectual property owner over the song or the musical work, thus owning 100% still to the owner.

In the same way that it doesn't follow that if you create a new lyrics to an existing song, then you already own 50% of the right over the original song because of your creation of the new lyrics. That wouldn't be a fair to the original intellectual property owner.

Hope that above clarifies why we have to charge 100% rights over the song you wish to adapt and cover. In addition, every new version by any performer / interpreter shall be subject to new license and payment.

Note that any adaptation without proper consent by the original owner is subject to legal implications.

Please confirm if you will pursue usage of the song. Thank you.

Best regards,


Though I understand and respect this so-called standard practice, the principle that it promotes actually impedes creative options.

Creative work is made when artists bend rules, not break them. The copyright law on the other hand is authored to protect these creative works. I believe adaptations can be considered new creative works too. If the Batman story is franchised for a movie, I'm sure the franchisee would never invest on the license if he cannot own the rights to the new story. How is that any different to a musical adaptation?

Had they ever heard of the term Creative Commons? It's a similar idea except that it's non-profit.

I wish there was a way to negotiate on the terms with the original publisher for us to release 'Wa Tay Snow'. Apparently, the standard practice permits none. It is sad to note that it is by this practice why the record companies are downsizing globally. I'm simply requesting for a different license to a different story of an existing melody. A unique license in fact because after all, copyright law is supposed to be territorial. The irony is that the music industry, being a key player in the creative industry, turns out to be a close minded institution.

I didn't pursue the license.


Friday, July 5, 2013

My top 3 presentors of the 2nd Creative Summit

Before a song is loved by music fans, before a furniture is considered beautiful, before a house becomes an architectural feat, before a common piece of work becomes an art, there is creative process.

This year's theme for the Creative Industries Summit revolved around that premise - the process behind the art. This is because most people, particularly customers, don't see this. A client would ask you to make him a commercial jingle and you'd ask for a fee and he'd reply saying it's expensive for a 30 second song. And so the songwriter explains that putting someone else's idea into a song under constraints such as limited words and suggested phrases is a creative process. God knows how long it takes until the songwriter gets it right. But the client insists that it should still be paid based on the length of the song. And so the argument went on and the songwriter and the business person got lost in the conversation.

I am listing my personal top 3 speakers of the 2nd Cebu Creative Industries Summit based on how close they have adhered to the topic on creative process (or at least the components of it - ideas, research, intellects, and arguments).

My no. 3 is a tie between Reese Ruiz-Fernandez and PJ Ong. Both did a fair attempt to explain how their creative juices transcend from an idea to a tangible product.

Reese Ruiz-Fernandez
Reese in her philosophical mode. Her story was an inspiring revelation of her passion to help the poor through entrepreneurship and continuous learning.  Photo courtesy of DTI-7. Used with permission.
PJ Ong
PJ shared his piece by identifying his sources of inspiration and the challenges he encountered when working with projects for clients. This slide suggests that data is important. Photo courtesy of DTI-7. Used with permission.
No. 2 is Dr. Joe Adam Fry
Dr. Joe Adam Fry talked about how a remarkable product is created between creative and  non-creative people openly collaborating. He also mentioned about the importance of sufficient data to work with. Very Google wouldn't you say? Photo courtesy of DTI-7. Used with permission.
My top 1 is again a tie between Kenneth Cobonpue and Insoy Niñal.

Kenneth Cobonpue
This is how a Cobonpue is weaved. Kenneth Cobonpue revealed the inspirations behind the varied stories of his impressive masterpieces.Photo courtesy of DTI-7. Used with permission.
Insoy Niñal
Insoy Niñal encouraged local language as a very strong component in the songwriting process and strongly expressed his view on the misconstrued meaning of the term "globalization". You may read his entire talk here. Photo courtesy of DTI-7. Use with permission.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's Social Media Day today

The event will be a little over an hour from now so I'm in a rush. But I have to post this.

So today, Sunday, June 30, 2013, Third Team Media, the people responsible in setting up this gig, gave me the topic "Love for Country and Music". I'll be talking about the benefits of music and the business of it to social change for Cebu and the country. And of course the importance of social media as a tool in this medium. I'll also be sharing the podium with these great and wonderful people.

The place is at Diamond Suites & Residences. The event will run from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM.

See you :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Creative Summit Update : More Speakers

Education is good and expensive. But learning can sometimes be affordable too. In fact it can be ridiculously cheap to as low as PHP 250, you get inspired from the works and ideas of Dr. Joe Adam Fry (Google UK), Kenneth Cobonpue, Arch't Jason Buensalido, Lloyd Tronco, Insoy Niñal, Butch Carungay, to name a few. The topics of this year's summit revolve around the creative process behind every great design.

This project is made possible by the people behind Creative Cebu Council, British Council, Campaings & Grey, DTI, and of course the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Here are the creds of our speakers so you'll have an idea what to expect.

Lastly, you get to enjoy a 2012 Academy Award Winning documentary film.  That's why I said it's really cheap.

Topic : Digital Explores Creative Ideas For Small Business

Dr. Joe Fry is the Planning Lead in Google's Global Creative Team (known internally as 'The ZOO'), based out of London. His team fosters deep working relationships with global businesses, creative agencies and Google product teams to deliver best practice digital creative work across the web. Joe's role is to lead creative strategy, creative process, and insight. Before joining Google 18 months ago, he acted as a strategic/creative consultant at several independent UK-based Creative Agencies and has a PhD in Creative Process Management.

Topic : Inspire | Desire - from inspiration to objects of desire

Kenneth Cobonpue is a multi-awarded designer and manufacturer from Cebu, and the creative director of Hive. He graduated in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in New York with highest honors and subsequently worked in Italy and Germany. Integrating locally sourced materials with innovative handmade production processes, Cobonpue's brand is known around the world for its unique designs and roster of clientele that include Hollywood celebrities like Brad Pitt and members of royalty.

Awards to his credit include 5 Japan Good Design Awards, the grand prize at the Singapore International Design Competition, the Design for Asia Award of Hongkong, the American Society of Interior Design Top Pick selection and the French Coup de Coeur award.  Several of his designs were selected for several editions of the International Design Yearbook published in London and New York. The books "& FORK" (Phaidon) and "DESIGN NOW" (Tashen) underscore Kenneth's position as a leader of a new movement incorporating technology and craft.  He has appeared on European television, countless international magazines and newspapers around the world. Various Cobonpue designs have also appeared in full-length feature films and television such as Oceans 13 and CSI.

Kenneth reveals new work each year in design shows from Paris to New York. He also speaks regularly about Southeast Asian design all over the world. In 2007, TIME magazine called him "rattan’s first virtuoso."

Topic : S,M.L,XL - Design Excellence On Every Scale

Arch't Jason has won numerous prestigious competitions, including UP’s Pinakamagandang Bahay sa Balat ng Lupa, and was a finalist/awardee in the CCP’s Arts Theater and Artists Center competition and Bahay Pinoy competition.  His firm, Buensalido Architects, is an architectural, interior, and urban design laboratory committed to creating original, avant-garde, innovative, and progressive solutions. Its vision is to broaden and uplift the design profile of the Philippines and share this with others around the globe, thereby helping to put the Philippines on the global design map.

Topic : Experimentation As A Medium Of Graphic Design

PJ Ong has been running his own design studio/art collective known as !NODORO for more than 10 years.  He has produced designs for clients both commercial and exhibition works in the fields of arts, music, culture, fashion, print and design.  PJ has increased experience in the areas of design, with focus on: Art Direction, Graphic Design, Illustration, Packaging, Graffiti, Consulting, Branding, Identity, Stingers, Strategy, Photography, Video, Motion Design, Custom Typeface, Typography, Art installations.  He received his Education at the International Academy of Design & Technology – Toronto.  Some of his Awards & Recognition are as Speaker - Visual Design Conference 2011 (Topic: Experimental Arts); Speaker- Pecha Kucha Cebu 2012 (Topic: Digital Design); Nominee - CSS Design Awards 2012 for the !nodoro website (Category: Best Websites in the World). He has been featured in numerous publications both local and international.

Topic : Songwriting - Preserving Local Culture for the Global Audience

Lorenzo "Insoy" Niñal is a very talented writer, musician, songwriter and well-known champion of original Cebuano music and songwriting.  An advocate for education and preserving local culture, one of the recent projects he worked with was VISPOP, a Cebuano Songwriting Campaign & Competition that was organized by Artist KO (Artists & Musicians Marketing Cooperative) in cooperation with FILSCAP (Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).  As VISPOP education coordinator, Insoy conducted songwriting workshops for young and budding artists to hone and further professionalize their songwriting skills.

Insoy founded the Cebuano rock band Missing Filemon, of which he is also the songwriter and vocalist.  He won the 2008 FAMAS Award for Best Movie Theme Song for his composition “Sine-Sine.”  He finished AB Philosophy and AB English at the San Carlos Seminary College in Cebu City.  He works as editor of Sun*Star Cebu and as Columnist for Sun*Star Cebu and Sun*Star Superbalita.  He teaches Literature and English at the Cebu Normal University, and English at the Seminario Mayor de San Carlos.

Topic : Film Making With Your Voice

Joel is a freelance television commercial director, and an independent filmmaker.  He is also resident producer/director and co-founder of Arkeomedia, a production shop that specializes in features and commercial work.  He is a graduate of the Mowelfund Film Institute. An award-winning director with several movies under his belt, his previous short works include Mula Sabado, winner at the Gawad-CCP Awards, and Sa Mata ni Chico, winner at the Gawad-CCP and Urian nominee for Best Short Feature.

Topic : Micro Entrepreneurship Through Creativity And Innovation

Reese is an innovative and passionate leader who champions revolutionary ideas that would help the world become more sustainable and ethical.  She believes that quality and integrity should always go hand in hand. Thus, she became the co-founder and CEO of Rags2Riches Inc., a for-profit social enterprise based in Manila, Philippines, which creates eco-ethical fashion and home accessories out of up cycled scrap cloth, organic materials and indigenous fabrics by working with women living in the poor communities across the country. Rags2Riches’ philosophy stands upon its four bottom lines: People, Profit, Planet and Positive Influence.

Reese is a recipient of numerous awards & recognition, among these: World Economic Forum-Young Global Leader 2012; People Asia’s Women of Style and Substance; Entrepreneur for the Year Award (Young Entrepreneur Category, World Entrepreneurship Forum and EMLYON Business School);  The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS Awards) 2010 - Youngest recipient of the award in Philippine history.  Reese was also selected as one of the five inaugural Rolex Young Laureates by the Rolex Foundation in Switzerland for recognition of her work. In 2010, Rags2Riches linked up with its current investor-partner, LGT Venture Philanthropy.

Topic : Left Brain Meet Right Brain - Creativity Ain't Enough

Wharton graduate Gil "Butch" Z. Carungay is the Managing Director and Chief Creative Officer of Avatar Accessories Inc., Cebu’s top costume jewelry house.  Avatar Accessories is a leading manufacturer of cutting edge, meticulously crafted costume jewelry in the region. Butch has already garnered numerous awards and press recognition for excellence in design, and he is one of Cebu’s most recognizable names in design and creativity. A former President of the Fashion Accessories Manufacturers & Exporters (FAME) Foundation Phils. and instrumental for the establishment of the Bijoux Cebu Show, Butch is a key industry player in the exports and design-driven products sector and one of leading advocates for promoting Cebu’s creative industries.

His latest endeavor is operating and designing for District32, the collective name for the community of commercial non-aviation concessions at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. It will be the country's, if not the region's first branded airport experience. More importantly, District32 will be a complete re-imagination of how a small airport can still provide a very memorable traveler experience.

Topic : Exploring The New Tri-Media

Lloyd is Vice President of the Outdoor Advertising Association of the Philippines (OAAP), the country’s industry association for practitioners of out-of-home advertising (or outdoor advertising).  With more than 30 years of experience in the business, Lloyd is a well-known personality and leader in the field of outdoor advertising.   He formed the Philippine Center for Out-Of-Home Media Research and Science, which serves as a repository of information for out-of-home media in the Philippines.  More commonly known as PhilCourse, it is also considered as the catalyst in pushing the growing trend in outdoor advertising known as Digital Out-Of-Home media in the country.  In 2010, Lloyd served as the Conference Chairman of Asia’s first Digital Out-Of-Home Media event, Digital Signage World Asia held in Singapore and has been a regular speaker since then.  Lloyd is also a Certified Digital Marketer as certified by the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines and is involved with various digital media projects.

Architect BUCK SIA
Topic : Does Identity Define Design? Does Design Define Identity?

Buck Sia is President of Creative Cebu Council, the co-organizer of the 2nd Cebu Creative Industries Summit.  Creative Cebu Council is an industry association composed of creative entrepreneurs from various sectors who have banded together to promote, develop and champion the creative industries in Cebu.  Arch’t Buck is also President of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)-Sugbu Chapter.  His firm, Zubu Design Associates, is a design studio that is dedicated to creating progressive and modern architecture. It combines innovative and experimental concepts, as well as the international style to the culture and climate of the local setting. Arch’t Buck believes that a well-designed building should not only comply to its basic use but should also be a beacon for provoking thought and creating emotion through space, light and form.  Zubu believes the design process is just as important as the finished product.

Curtain Raiser
SAVING FACE (2012 Academy Award Winner for Documentary)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Insoy speaks in the 2nd Cebu Creative Industries Summit

Our very own Insoy Niñal of Missing Filemon fame will speak in the 2nd Cebu Creative Industries Summit this coming June 14, 2013, 8:00 am at SM City Cebu Cinema One to represent the music sector for this year's Cebu Business Month.

With the increasing awareness of creativity as a major boost in the city’s economic growth, Insoy will share with us his thoughts on the importance of writing songs and the value it brings if written in the mother tongue.

Watch and learn from the Master Rockstar as he talks about preserving our local culture for the global audience through music. He will be sharing the stage with Architect Buck Sia on defining design, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz for micro-entrepreneurship, Filmmaker Joel Cruz‘s take on film making and creative ideas for small business by Joe Adam Fry of Google UK.

Regular ticket rate is at Php 350.00 and student rate is at Php 250.00. Tickets are available at the Artist KO Office, 8-1-D, Orchid St. Capitol Site (near STK ta Bai and Yayoy’s Grill). Or you may call 0917 531 3738 for reservations.
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