Let’s end the debate once and for all: OPM is not dead and these new and old Filipino record labels can attest to that. OPM might look different from what we’re used to but that is music, ever-evolving, ever-changing. We’re living in an age where frontmen of well-loved bands, pillars of OPM (Eraserheads, Callalily, Hale) have started their own music labels and become producers in their own right. We’re assured that the distinct Filipino sound will always be there, passed on, living on, throughout generations. If you’re looking to add new music to your playlist, explore the various artists these local record labels have for you.
Careless Music Manila
Careless Music Manila is home to a new wave of artists sporting the electro-pop/hip-hop/synth sound that defines new-age OPM. At the helm of it all is atomic pair James Reid and Bret Jackson. Founded in 2017, Careless Music Manila is James Reid’s outlet for creativity; having conquered the showbiz industry he’s now out exploring what he can do for music and where it can take him. The various hand-picked artists in this label include Nadine Lustre, Sofia Romualdez, AstroKidd, Massiah, and Curtismith.
This independent record label is founded by a mix of businessmen and musicians back in 2016 including current Chair, Ely Buendia (Eraserheads, Apartel), and fellow Offshore partner Pat Sarabia (Oh, Flamingo!, Apartel). Offshore Music aims to bring back the good old days by releasing their albums through the distinct sound of vinyl, but Buendia acknowledges that digital streaming platforms is where everyone is at these days. So far, the label has signed The Late Isabel, Jun Lopito, One Click Straight, Eyedress, Ely and Pat’s band Apartel, and their most recent act, Cheats. Although these artists don’t really belong to one genre, they are what Offshore is all about – fresh, familiar, creative, and quality music.
Tower of Doom
It won’t get more OPM than this. Tower of Doom has already established relationship with the country’s best artists and showcases what Filipino music has to offer. What started as a small digital recording studio in 2002 is now one of the best music labels in the country. They have worked with and won awards for bands like Kamikazee, Franco, Spongecola, Urbandub, Parokya ni Edgar, and artists like KZ Tandingan, Gabby Alipe, and Barbie Almabis. Right now, the official artists in their stable include December Avenue, Chicosci, Tanya Markova, and more.
Party Bear Records
Indie label Party Bear Records currently has four artists in their roster: BP Valenzuela with her electronic music, indie rock band Taken By Cars, feel-good electro-pop band Techy Romantics, and alt-indie rock band She’s Only Sixteen. You can catch these four acts often in gigs scattered across the metro, just make sure to follow their respective social media pages.
Founded in August 2018, O/C Records is a music label spearheaded by Callalily frontman Kean Cipriano and his wife, actress Chynna Ortaleza. The record label prides itself in being artist-friendly, promising to give acts under it full creative control. When you take care of your artists like this, they flourish and grow just like UNIQUE has under the label’s care. O/C has a diverse set in its roster: Unique Salonga, Earl Generao, Bita and the Botflies, Frizzle Anne, Rice Lucido, and even Kean himself. A little more than a year after it was established, O/C Records has produced albums and even staged a major solo concert for UNIQUE. We say they’re definitely on the right track.
Yellow Room Music
More than just a record label, Yellow Room Music is also a music studio and a music school envisioned and made into reality by musicians for musicians. Budding artists and professional musicians alike will feel at home in its walls. Since it was founded in 2013, the label has represented various artists. The ones currently under them are Banna Harbera, Kodigo, I Belong to the Zoo, Mayonnaise, Mojofly and more. Aside from organizing gigs in various locations across the metro, Yellow Room’s venue is also a frequent site for gigs with lineups composing of their current artist roster and many other bands and solo acts.
It’s inspiring how musicians, when they get older, establish their own record labels, take artists under their care for guidance and mentoring, and come out as successful producers. For Champ Lui Pio, Hale’s frontman, the journey didn’t stop at being part of the band. He founded Mecca Music as a label that would look for artists with potential and work with them to reach that potential. Although the label went on hiatus a few years ago, it came back early 2019 introducing a new artist – Tamara. Right now, Mecca Music are focusing their efforts on nurturing her and their other acts.
Wide Eyed Records
Wide Eyed Records is an independent music label founded in 2011 by Kathy Gener and Joey Santos. Their current roster includes Ang Bandang Shirley, The Strangeness, Halik Ni Gringo, We Are Imaginary, Oh, Flamingo!, Nikki Nava and Rusty Machines. Wide Eyed Records believe that the gems that are amazing local artists need to be heard and they’re here to give them a platform to create great music.
Know any other local record labels we should follow? Share it with us below!