[Special Feature] And The Winner Is Titikpilipino.com
Dec 2003 Issue, Pixel Bureau
(read full article below)
[Article] Steps in Site Development
Nov. 2001, The Web Philippines
(read full article below)
[Article] Sites and Sounds
July 4, 2001 The Web Philippines
Direct Link
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[Article] OPM Lyrics on the Web
March-April 2000, The Web Philippines (page 12)
(read full article below)
[Article] Lack of Web Developers Hamper Online Industry
Feb. 15, 2000 - Volume 9, Number 14 - (Page 1 & 7)
(read full article below)
[Special Feature] And The Winner Is Titikpilipino.com
December 2003 Issue, Pixel Bureau, http://www.pixelbureau.com
Taken from http://www.pixelbureau.com/issue2/content02/specialfeature/02-titik/inde...
"IT FEELS GREAT! After being a "suking" finalist for the past 5 years in the Music Category, it feels great to finally have won. I wasn't expecting on winning but I knew, that particularly this year, I had a fighting chance because my site is at its peak." Jay de Jesus shares upon winning the Best Site in the Music Category in the recently concluded 6th Philippine Web Awards.
Jay Frank de Jesus, a 29 years old freelance web application developer and internet consultant developed and maintains www.titikpilipino.com. He is a Computer Science graduate of Ateneo de Manila University who started way back in 1996 as web designer/developer and internet consultant for a web development company. He was senior webmaster for Newgen IT, a local ISP which one of the most popular sites he developed was Informatics Philippines (www.informatics.edu.ph), which also made it to the 1999 Philippine Web Awards. Later on, He, together with college friends and Newgen colleagues, form their own web development company called Web Empire, Inc. which lasted for 3 years until they decided to go their separate ways. Under Web Empire, their portfolio includes Ajinomoto, Institute of Philippine Culture and Blue Horizon Travel Agency. They were also responsible for Musiko.com - Home of the Filipino Musician, which also made it as a Finalist in the 2000 and 2001 Web Awards. He also redesigned and redeveloped the technology for former video streaming website Pinoy TV, which also made it to the 2000 Web Awards Finals in the Media Category. He then took a year off in the corporate world to study and further enhance his web development skills and it was during this time he became a freelance web applications developer and consultant. Recent site that he developed is The Official Site of Cheri Mercado. He also extends his services as web programmer for the European Chamber of Commerce and Asian Development Bank. Jay is currently assisting in a dotcom startup company.
Jay said that the site started in 1997 in order to fulfill the need for a portfolio for the company where he was an internet consultant and web developer. "Being a musical arranger from 1994-1997, I decided to develop a site that catered to both my interest, hence Titik Pilipino" Jay adds. He said that the site turned from a hobby to a learning ground for him to develop and maintain sites at a huge scale. It also led him to the opportunity to learn the trades in the music business. "The driving force really was my passion for music and my profession as a web developer. Now a sense of responsibility to provide information and to provide a place for music lovers to converge and discuss music has also been added to my driving force." Jay reveals.
Jay shared that he uses his digicam for events and photoshop for editing graphics. While for development, he works with text editor, Editplus. He uses it for HTML, XHTML, Javascript, CSS, PHP and MySQL. Jay shares that he is more of a developer than a designer, "which is why I choose to ask for suggestions, recommendations and second opinions from friends and colleagues who are designers" Jay adds. He likes visiting Korean websites because he finds their designs simplistic and appealing. He has been checking out lately wired.com for their XHTML design and coding style.
Jay gives his insight on what he thinks about the web industry at present. "There is yet to be a standard for the local web industry. Clients who have not much knowledge on the internet would compare and contrast a freelancer, a web team and a web development company by price rather than skillset and quality. It is hard to compete with a web designer would advertise his services and create an entire website for P5,000, but uses Frontpage and templates taken off the web. By creating standards, people would be more aware of what kind of internet service they would need and why it would cost that way." Jay said. He said that in terms of skills, Filipino web designers have the potential and creativity that could match international designs and standards.
Giving the scenario to Jay on a "No-Internet-Kind-Of-Life", he quickly said "I guess I would have to say that the net provided me with my career and I love it. So I would have to make some serious thinking on what I would be doing if the net did not exist."
We asked Jay what we could expect from TitikPilipino.com in the coming years, he said "Big as it is (which I am even overwhelmed still at times), expect bigger and better things to come: more content, more features and more reach to Filipinos worldwide and let them converge with the common interest of music"
Jay shares this to aspiring web designers: "Surf, surf, surf" he said. "Being a designer or graphic artists alone isn't enough. With the trend that technology and websites are going through, graphics is not all web design has to offer anymore. With the advent of CSS, XHTML, and XML, designers must learn the ins and outs of these languages and apply them to their design" he said.
In closing we asked if we would be seeing more of titikpilipino.com in next years web awards and he said "Definitely. At the very least, I strive to make it to the finals. That alone is an achievement for me."
Steps in Site Development
November 6, 2001, The Web Philippines
Taken from http://www.itnetcentral.com/article.asp?id=5933&icontent=7846
Perhaps you’re asking yourself if there is an actual need for your business to get on to the World Wide Web. Aside from the obvious fact that practically everyone has some sort of a presence on the Web, there are other more logical reasons why you should think about doing the same. However, making the decision to go online isn’t the end all and be all. You don’t just decide that you want a Web site and that’s that. It involves a process, and its perfect execution will help you achieve success.
Step One: Planning and Analysis
This involves the aquisition of data and analysis of materials. This is the stage where preparation research is done.
You might want to look at this stage as the strategic planning phase. It involves defining your goals, and asking yourself questions like: What kind of site do you want to be? What is your intention and how do you hope to accomplish it? Remember that whether online or offline, it is important that companies have to have a clear sense of purpose. Define your goals, define your audience.
This is a very critical phase, because it paves the way for a successful site - if the strategy isn't right, then all the tactical values won't matter. “Strategic planning gives you a roadmap for reaching your business goals,” says Andy Cunningham, CEO of Cunningham Communications. “It allows you to plan not only where you are going, but how you will get there.”
Certain things need to be taken into account in strategic planning: The company’s current situation, market conditions, and business objectives. This involves finding out what the public’s opinion of the company is, namely its products and services, from customers to analysts and the market itself. Armed with this information, it is ultimately easier to make informed decisions about what needs to be done in order for your company to reach its business goals.
This stage is basically deciding what you want your Web site to do - a good Web site will increase your name recognition and should increase your overall sales. While you may not be directly selling your service over the Internet, there is a good chance that having a good site will generate interest from people who might not have otherwise heard of your company. Confirm what you want your site to be. It can be as simple as having your company name, logo, addresses and phone numbers, or you can go for the whole production. Either way, you have to find out which type of site your customers will most appreciate and ultimately find valuable. Remember, the more information that you make available to your customer, the more you rise in their esteem.
Step Two: Content Design and Development
After the research comes the thinking. Once you've made the decision on what you want and who you want to be, the next step would be to deal with the more detailed stuff. This, in effect, is the part where you have to think like a general making preparations before going off into battle. You can't enter the fray with your gun half-cocked, can you? Besides, everything you've done so far will translate into what your site will be, and it's all about transforming the strategy into a set of blueprints, so to speak.
This is where you think about the nitty-gritty - you already know what it is that you want, now you have to figure out what you need to do so it gets done. One of the first things you need to consider is whether you want to develop your own page or have a designer assist you. While basic knowledge of programming can help you come up with your own site, you might find yourslf needing help along the way.
Jay Frank de Jesus, President and Webmaster of Web Empire, Inc. explains the pros of a company developing its own site: "First of all, they have total control of their site," he begins. "There are no ownership problems, and not having to outsource it to a professional development company gives them the impression that it will cut some costs." He adds, "Also, most people think that they know their company better than anyone else, so they will tend to think that no one else can do it better."
On the downside, he explains that while total control of the site allows them to have more freedom, it also makes them entirely liable for whatever criticism or feedback that users will have. "While it's true that companies know their own products and services better than anyone else, but operating under the same principles of using advertising agencies, companies need to hire professionals to implement all this is in an effective manner."
He goes on by saying that the intention of a client in acquiring the services of a professional Web development company is an indication that the company is serious about using the Internet as an additional tool or service to their customers. He further reasons that "companies will eventually spend more in the long run as opposed to the expenses incurred in hiring a professional Web development firm. Added costs go to training personnel, upgrading and updating pages, etc. The experience that professional Web development companies have over companies with little or minimal experience is what makes a company developing their own site costly."
A common mistake by people designing their own sites is that they put their printed material onto their Web site and add some animated buttons, says David Siegel, author of a book called "Secrets of Successful Web Sites". He opines, "That's brochureware. No one wants brochureware."
Assuming that you decided to go with a design team to do your site for you, the next thing in the whole design process would be to do some tactical planning of sorts. This is the part where, armed with client profiles, questionnaire results and the like, the producer calls in the creative team. This is where they will brainstorm on the ideas that will help achieve the goals of the site, looking for ways to attract customers, keep them and serve them.
Who does what then? Martin Lopez-Vito, Project Manager for Digital Strategists Inc. was kind enough to enumerate the members of the creative/design team, outlining their specific tasks. The titles may vary from one company to another, but what they do is basically the same.
At this stage (content design and development), the creative team still holds the reins, and it is their job to come up with what is called a creative brief. Although this is basically an internal communication, the importance of having it around is that it points out visual directions to explore, taking into account all the input from the client, combining it with the marketing strategy that has been developed so far.
After coming up with the creative brief, having a site map is the next step. It is an overview of how visitors will be taken through the site, and it is important to remember that in order to come up with a realistic site map, it is important to simultaneously have a concrete content plan at hand.
"Content planning is a collaboration between contractor and client," says Christina Cheney, producer for a design studio called Studio Verso. "It is possibly the client team leader's most arduous task, because it is difficult to predict the amount of work involved in identifying, collecting, writing, formatting, and editing content. All the content gathered in the planning stage should have been identified by now, and when it can have an effect on the design. The scope and depth of the information will determine the navigation, and the type of content will determine the visual language, tone and layout of the design."
Armed with both the site map and the content plan, it is now time for the producter to divide the project goals into deliverables and dates. Some of the content is generated, some of it needs to be modified, and more is yet to be developed along the way. Whatever the case may be, it is important to keep track of who will be doing what. This might be a good time to start lining up resources on your side - writers, illustrators, contributors and the like - as production will be starting sometime soon.
However, before actual production starts taking place, it is important to have exact specifications (technical, engineering and functional) at hand because this is needed not just to implement, but to make sure as well that the site won't be obsolete in a couple of months.
With all these in place, all you have to have is a schedule. A final meeting takes place between you and the design team that you hired, and if everything is in order, then production can begin.
Step Three: Implementation
In the content design and development stage, certain things like how you want the site to look and what it will actually contain will have been discussed. In the implementation phase, the people who are actually creating your site will buckle down and start building your site from scratch.
When a project has been through pre-production, it will be safe to assume that the key pages are ready for HTML and that the content is ready. This is where the project manager calls the group together and assigns tasks. Comprehensive build specs (a combination of all the documents and specifications from the first two phases) that documents all the specs and processes for the job, from type specifications and standard header sizes to color palettes, then gets distributed.
After distributing the comprehensive build specs, the project manager's next job is to divide duties into horizontal and vertical tasks. Horizontal tasks are performed by a single person across the entire site. For example, if videos are widely used in different areas of the site, then one person probably made them. Vertical tasks on the other hand give one person jurisdiction over an entire area of the site. However, regardless of what tasks are assigned to a person, all changes must still go through the producer and the products manager. All changes and ajustments should be documented as creation of the site progresses - a small change in one area may be considered minute, but it may affect the whole site.
Although different programmers choose to use different software and applications in the creation of various Web sites, it should always be a testament to the the company's development of "high quality, cost effective, rapidly deployable and highly scalable modular solutions for its clients," says Lopez-Vito.
Leojun Gonzalez, Business Development Head for 25by8 gives us an example of the different software used for different tasks. He cites GoLive, Dreamweaver, NetObjects, Sonic Foundry, and Home Site as the basic favorites. However, for the more job-specific tasks, Gonzalez gives the following examples: For client-scripting, the usual favorites are VB Script, Javascript and Jscript. For server-scripting, there's Active Server Pages, Cold Fusion, Professional Hypertext Pre-processor (PHP), Common Gateway Interface (using Perl and/or C), and Java Server Pages (JSP). Mark-up languages that are commonly used are: HTML, WML, XML, and CFML. In general, other programming tools that are also used are: Cold Fusion Studio, Visual Interdev, Visual Basic Enterprise Edition, Java, Embedded Visual Tools, and Code Warrior.
Regardless of what kinds of software are used, at some point, you will be able to arrive at a beta site. This is after the whole production process is finished - images, HTML, animation, sound, effects, scripting and so on.
An unfortunate fact is that this is one of the phases that are most prone to problems, because anything that was overlooked or done improperly during planning and design will probably rear its ugly head and cause you trouble. Errors will probably crop up, and it is important to know how to deal with them. This is what database and site testing is for - it gives you the chance to work out all the kinks before you go public.
Step Four: Launch and Promotion
Once the engineering team finishes its walkthrough of the site, after the alpha and beta tests are through and the kinks have been ironed out, it is now time to prepare for the launch of the site. You might want to start writing press releases, or work on whatever promos you have in mind. Meanwhile, your creative and design team should be scrambling around to get everything in place - usually, what remains to be done at this stage is to get the final content on to the site, and work is done on staging the server.
What usually happens is that the contractor develops the site on their own servers while clients employ a commercial hosting service. In staging the Web site, the site undergoes the process of being uploaded to the target machine and more tests need to be done. You can choose to host your own site, or leave it up to your development company to do the job for you.
One thing to consider would be that while Web designers are more often than not set up to host a small site, keeping your site up and running is not their main business nor concern. Hosting services run from simple co-location to full-service data hotels complete with hardware, software and content updates. The company you choose to do your site should help you find the right host, and while you're out shopping, here's a couple of things you need to keep in mind:
Do they have multiple carriers? A good hosting service is connected to at least two main carriers, giving you redundant access to the Internet. Redundancy in this case is a good thing, because if something happens to one carrier/provider, the traffic then gets rerouted to the other carrier, and things are still pretty much okay.
Another question to ask yourself is about the host's scalability. Most hosting facilities have already found a niche where they can generate funds by simply giving their clients the same kind of generic attention. As traffic to your site increases, so do your needs, and the one hosting your site should be able to cope with that.
What about their responsiveness and the way that they handle emergencies? You have to make sure that the hosting group understands your needs and that they are fully prepared and equipped to handle them. You wouldn't want a hopelessly inept company handling your site during a meltdown, would you?
And what about security? Are their servers secure? You won't want ordinary people tinkering with your site and having their way with it, would you? They need to offer you a certain degree of protection, from backing up the site, to monitoring the site traffic, and more importantly, keeping the bad guys out.
It is all an integrated continuum, and once you have ascertained that everything is to your liking, then you can finally go public.Operating on the "if you build it, they will come" principle just won't cut it. You have to let people know you're there, and the easiest way of doing this is by submitting your site to various search engines on the World Wide Web. You will also need to aggressively advertise your site through traditional means - just because you're going online doesn't mean that you can't make traditional media work for you.
Step Five: Maintenance
The utility of the Web lies in the fact that users have immediate, 24-hour access to constantly updated information. Don't rest on your laurels - the Web is a dynamic and ever changing medium, and your site should reflect that. Users need to know that your site has something of value to offer them in order for them to keep coming back. Don't let your site stagnate - keep it current, and always listen to your customers. They're the ones who will keep you alive.
"Companies are beginning to see the importance of providing data to the public," says de Jesus. "Web sites now are not just used as a tool for showcasing the company, or 'brochureware' as we term it. Companies are finding ways of making the Internet more useful for the public, and although it may not necessarily benefit them directly, they look upon it as their way of servicing the public."
Lopez-Vito concurs, and opines that as a result of this, we are likely to see more modularity and scalability in site systems. He adds that there will probably be more collaboration and consultancy going on between the client companies and solutions providers, saying that one of the most essential services a provider can offer is their own stability and efficiency. "Many providers have come to terms with the realization that the relationship does not, and should not end with the single project."
There will be a need for the providers to better understand the business model of their clients, says Lopez-Vito, explaining that this will help them to plan a long-term relationship with the company. Solutions will no longer be singly implemented on stand-alone systems, but will develop into a series of solutions, tied in to one another, leading to a long term objective. "This is akin to the long term goals set by business enterprises; it follows that a complete solution is one that is dynamic, scalable, and one that can be concretely incorporated into a client enterprise's long term objectives."
De Jesus sees other trends developing, such as the mobile industry developing an interrelation with the Web. "This is indirectly related to the Web, but I can see SMS and WAP having Web counterparts. Both are complementary and since the Philippines has a huge demand for SMS, this is one trend that may carry on for a couple of years."
He then reiterates that the Internet is constantly evolving to offer more services to the public and that we have to know how to use it efficiently. "These are interesting times," he concludes. He's right.
Building a Web Site that Works
Hitchhiker’s Guide: First Steps in Web Site Development
Web Site Development Steps
Creating an Effective Web Site
Sites and Sounds
July 4, 2001 The Web Philippines
Taken from http://www.itnetcentral.com/article.asp?id=4464&icontent=5781
Club Dredd
It's something that can only happen in the Internet age. While remnants of Club Dredd in EDSA wallow in grime and decay, its faithful habitues continue to rock up a storm in the wired world. Welcome to clubdredd.com, the digital incarnation of that legendary club which launched the careers of a thousand rock bands and changed the way we listen to music forever.
Like its physical predecessor, clubdredd.com hopes to be a venue for new and original Filipino music. Apart from a retelling of the club's tattered history (it opened, closed, opened, then closed again), there's also a
bit of high-nosed editorial where the owners loudly protested that, 'No, Club Dredd is not a violent place. No, we do not serve liquor to minors. And no, we do not condone the use of illegal drugs.' Well then, we'll just have to take your word for that.
More importantly however, the site features the bands which capture the Club Dredd brand of music from Greyhoundz and Skavengers to Put3Ska, P.O.T., Razorback, Teeth and Wolfgang. More bands are scheduled to go online. Plus, there's space where surfers can vent their thoughts and feelings on whatever!
But the site's greatest attraction, if you ask me, is the answer to that million-dollar question, will the club resurrect from the dead? And if so, where? Honestly, I hope the club does come back. The digital version's
just too damn clean!
Riding on the crest of the downloadable music revolution, MP3Manila is gaining a reputation as a home for the unsigned Filipino artist. There are about 51 different artists on the site with varying styles and levels of
obscurity, and most of them without music label backing.
Some of the acts are already reputable, like Sessionroad, Cynthia Alexander, and Popong Landero but those are not the ones on the top of their downloads charts. Instead, we've got the likes of Itchyworms, Happy Meals, and Slapshock pushing each other on Mp3Manila's Top 25 chart, which had a total of 24509 downloads as of July 2, 2000.
In its infancy, Mp3Manila barely had any content beyond the artist pages and downloads, but it has recently beefed it up by putting up music and MP3-related news, a gig guide, and their very own artist of the month.
This gives the impression of a full site, but I think that adding download statistics to each artist's song and putting up user feedback will help this site more than features on bands like Barbie's Cradle, which isn't even in their artists' list. This site needs an overhaul, in strategy, design, and features. Overall concept is okay, but then it was just copied from MP3.com.
MTV Asia
For most teenagers, music means MTV. And what better way to chat with Britney Spears or to get freebies from Ricky Martin than by logging on to the cable channel's digital counterpart mtvasia.com.
Only five years old, MTV Networks Asia has quickly become a prized yearling for multimedia conglomerate Viacom. The network managed to plug into more than 60 million homes in just two years. Compare that to the seven years that it took MTV Europe to achieve the same figures and you know what we're talking about.
Because MTV Asia wants to keep its status as the music authority in the region, its site is, not surprisingly, one of the region's most comprehensive. Apart from sponsoring Net events with international acts and artists, the site also features a per country overview of the music scene. The Philippine section, for example, has a listing of clubs and concert venues as well as a schedule of events. The news section covers everything from the live performances at Prince of Wales and Belinda Panelo's birthday to the hottest parties in town - more so the ones sponsored by MTV advertiser friends like Levi's and Tower Records. Of course, there are profiles of Filipino artists like Cynthia Alexander, Masta Plann, Barbie's Cradle, Agaw Agimat and the Eraserheads.
If you have the chance, visit the Graffiti Wall (forum) - and be endlessly entertained by this ongoing debate. Is Regine Velasquez Asia's answer to Mariah Carey? Excuse me?!
This is the brainchild of a Web development company set up by a group of friends, Web Empire, Inc. The president of the company is erstwhile Titik Pilipino.com webmaster Jay Frank de Jesus. It's Chief Operating Officer is Penny Tan, known in the music circle as the wife of bassist Simon Tan.
Musiko.com is the "Home of the Filipino Musician." With Jay and Penny being in touch with the music industry, it was thought that perhaps it is high time for musicians to be in the limelight. While most people are familiar with the lead singers or the cute drummer, it is seldom that the other musicians gain popularity, notwithstanding their time on stage.
The Web Empire started the site by gathering the profiles of musician friends. Today, they have a database of 80 musicians and the number is still growing. Penny envisions the site to have a comprehensive database
of every Filipino musician who can benefit from the exposure their site can give.
Musiko.com features a community where the members can exchange information, instruments, gig schedules, announce new albums, look for new band members, or simply toss ideas around.
Fans, record companies, gig venues and event organizers may also make use of the site to get in touch with artists and other colleagues in the business.
When you talk about the Internet and Philippine music, one Web site inevitably comes to mind-- PhilMusic. Its merits to the Philippine music scene isn't exactly enormous, it was in fact under fire a while back for
being biased toward the 'alternative' music scene. Changes were eventually made, and PhilMusic now serves up most aspects of Pinoy music -- even the ultra-pop acts that founder and owner Jim Ayson apparently detests. Through those changes, Jim was continuously hiring and new staff and writers for PhilMusic, the enormity of running a huge Web site by himself probably catching up with him.
Casting aside the criticisms and musical bias, the heart and soul of PhilMusic lies in Jim's dedication to make people aware of the good stuff that comes from Pinoy artists. This comes from him being a musician
himself; he plays the drums, and waxes sentimental about his nineties blues band jams.
PhilMusic not only brought together music lovers; it also created a big community of Filipinos from all over the world. I daresay that PhilMusic is the first big Pinoy Web site. We loved Jim's personal touch when he
wrote about concerts, the photos that he took, and how he practically gave himself to the mailing list when he told stories about his personal life. To him, the PhilMusic community is also his family.
His efforts were rewarded when, in 1998, the Philippine Webby Awards recognized PhilMusic as its Site of the Year, as well as Music site of the Year. Last year, 1999, PhilMusic swept the Music category of the awards, winning Music Site of the Year as well as the People's Choice award. The site will probably rake in more awards in the future, as PhilMusic evolves and becomes an institution in the Philippine Internet scene.
RX 93.1
Get your PC ready with its soundcard and speakers, it's time to hear the Morning Rush over the Net. Over in the United States, this program would be aired in the evening. This has been the vision of the RX 93.1 top brass for a couple of years now but was only implemented early this year.
Besides the music, listen in on some choice picks from the Leroy and Bodyguard skits. Tickle your funny bones with the "Pinya" series. (You know, it actually works!)
Besides their voices and their music, the site also gives their people the face to go with the sounds. The DJs are given some place under the sun with short ditties and quips. Some guys are now saying that perhaps the
monicker "Radio Babe" was better given to Chinggay...
The buzz bit Simon Lower, Shabnam Melwani, Sudhanshu Sarronwala, and Justin Reis -- and they launched Soundbuzz last November 1999, in Singapore. Aiming to be one of the biggest portals for downloadable music, Soundbuzz has made deals with record companies from all around Asia, including our very own Viva Records, to beef up its archive of legal and encrypted MP3 music. They might become just that, as the group's combined savvy in the industries relevant to Soundbuzz has investors and partners buzzing around
them. Lower is an Internet start-up consultant, Melwani and Sarronwala were MTV Asia executives, and Reis is a financial expert. Singapore Telecom's Koh Bon Wee has given Soundbuzz significant financial assistance, while Lycos Asia has made a distribution agreement with them.
So why did Soundbuzz expand to the Philippines? "Everyone knows the Philippines produces great music and great musicians," says Lower, "We are a company that is focused on providing music to the Asian markets - the Philippines is obviously an important market to us not just for music content but for the Pinoy communities within the Philippines and outside the Philippines."
And how about their commitment to unsigned artists? Simon says: "We have a huge commitment to the unsigned artist - we provide a platform to artists to promote and distribute their music to the world -- and it's totally free! We have the advantage of having major label artists that will attract the "eyeballs" to the site -- what better opportunity is there to introduce these music lovers to new unsigned music that they would never find in a music store -- this is something completely unique to Soundbuzz.com. We are also going to be holding lots of off-line promotions/concerts etc for the unsigned artists on our site which will further help their careers!"
The future of music is partly online, and Chinky Lazo, the Philippine Country Manager for Soundbuzz, relates "(With the) convenience of the Internet and the computer, you will not only be able to get music anytime of the day from your home, but create your own as well - record, cut and splice, produce. You can even produce your own music videos which will also be available on Soundbuzz.com!"
Titik Pilipino
Knowing how Pinoys are such a karaoke-happy race, it's not surprising that Titik Pilipino, the country's first lyric server, has been averaging 8,000 hits a day, or roughly more than 250,000 a month. And we're not just
talking about the Philippines here. We're talking about hits from Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, the United States, Canada, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. Anywhere in the world in fact where Pinoys have made a home away from home.
The brainchild of musical arranger turned Web developer Jay Frank de Jesus, Titik Pilipino not only promotes Filipino music and artists, it also brings warmth to the hearts of homesick Pinoys worldwide. Indeed, one of Jay's treasured e-mails tells of a family in Canada which gathers around the piano on weekends. "They have their computer pointed at Titik Pilipino so they can sing their favorite songs. They say it makes them feel closer to home."
With over 1,400 lyrics online, users can sing to the music of a varied repertoire of artists from the Eraserheads, Parokya Ni Edgar, Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez to Sampaguita, Freddie Aguilar, and Imelda Papin. And what are the more popular requests of surfers from abroad? Interestingly enough, they're songs of Jolina Magdangal, April Boy Regino, and Side A. Analyze that!
Because of the positive response to the site, Jay plans a major expansion which includes a more efficient search engine, interactive features like surveys and discussion forums, plus a section devoted to ditties from
other dialects like Bisaya, Capampangan, and Ilonggo, of which the site has been getting numerous requests for. With all these innovations from Titik Pilipino, there's no stopping lyric-hungry Pinoys from belting out their favorite melodies.
OPM Lyrics on the Web
March-April 2000, The Web Philippines (page 12)
By: Ike Sulat
When Jay Frank de Jesus, owner and Webmaster of titikpilipino.com, first conceptualized his OPM lyrics-driven Web site, little did he know that one day it would receive an average of 5,000 hits a day.
Before the site went online in June 1997, Jay was a musical arranger who helped develop songs for videoke use that have proliferated in many bars, malls and homes. He claims responsibility for over 500 videoke songs that many of us had had the opportunity to render in our own horrible ways.
When he joined an Internet Solutions company, Jay had to help build the company's portfolio, and thought of something he could relate to - music. "Having a passion for music, I merged my previous field of expertise with the Internet, and on June 8, 1997, Titik Pilipino officially went online," related Jay in an e-mail interview.
He adds, "After over two years of existence online, I have had visits from practically all around the world, and presently (receive) an average of 5,000 hits a day. I've also received thousands of request for lyrics, (and became) a finalist in the music category of the 1999 Philippine Web Awards."
Compared to foreign lyrics Web sites, Titik Pilipino has had no history of trouble with copyright infringement or intellectual property rights. Jay claims that "in fact, the artists, managers (and) production outfits themselves have contributed to the site, knowing that aside from promoting their talents and music, they're also promoting Filipino music in general." That seems like a nice opinion from Jay, but the latency of the Philippine government, and the recording industry itself, in cracking down on illegally-used music has resulted in CDs that are cheaper than cassettes, illegal videoke tapes, illegally-used songs in movies, TV shows, establishments... the list goes on. It's a vicious cycle where if you create noise regarding those issues, they might go back to you refusing to promote your music. Cheaper music is great but if musicians are robbed of their livelihood, we may have fewer musicians very soon.
To date, Jay's goals for Titik Pilipino have been achieved. "Titik Pilipino is a creative effort to share OPM with Filipino music lovers all around the world as well as showcase the Filipino talent. Two years after, we achieved more than what we aimed for. Not only is our site limited to the Filipino community but to music lovers in general. We have had Canadians, Americans, Australians, Germans and even curious foreigners who are or have become Filipino music lovers."
The site is currently a non-profit gig, and the lyrics are given for free, but Jay says that he might accept offers to put paid advertisements on his site. That's the way to go Jay: Keep music free for the people, but make corporations pay for it.
Lack of Web developers hampers online industry
by Jennifer B. Simes, Staff Writer;
Computerworld Philippines
Issue Date: February 15, 2000 - Volume 9, Number 14 - (Page 1 & 7)
E-COMMERCE and the explosive growth of Internet usage worldwide are opening new career paths in IT, but local companies are finding it difficult to find and keep Web programmers and specialists.
Industry players told Computerworld that competent and seasoned Web specialists here are disappearing because the demand for Web-based skills is also growing abroad, where the Internet pastures are greener.
"There is a scarcity in the supply of Web programmers. A lot of them are moving to the US or Singapore not as immigrants but as IT professionals," said Eric S. de Dios, managing director of Multimedia Solutions Inc., a Web development and Web hosting company.
Jay de Jesus, president and Webmaster at Web Empire, also a Web development company, agreed. "The rates abroad are competitive. Compared to companies here, those in the US give salaries that are very high for similar job positions such as Web developers and programmers."
Gerald Pascua, Webmaster for Hanapbuhay.com, an online job- hunting site, said he is having difficulty finding Web programmers these days. "We've been looking for a co-developer for the past months but to no avail," he said. "We've posted online job resources and we've been lucky to acquire queries from three people who already have jobs."
Low pay is one obvious reason behind the brain-drain. Most local Web developers and programmers agree that they are not being compensated that well.
"I wouldn't want to tell you how low some companies are really paying Web developers locally," said Emerito Cea, pagemaster at Global Sources-Interactive Media, a company engaged in online business-to-business trade and commerce. "But I know with a degree and two years of experience, I can get a shot in getting at least $40,000 yearly in the US."
Local salaries for Web specialists vary from one company to another. Compensation ranges from P8,000, the lowest starting salary, to about P25,000, the highest offer, depending on technical skills or knowhow.However, De Jesus observed that companies are not really sure how to rate or compensate Web programmers. "With Web-related skills and jobs, salary standards have not really been defined yet. We even look at what other countries are doing so we can get an idea more or less of how to pay for these job positions."
Meanwhile, Zach Yonzon, content engineering head of Infocom Technologies Inc., pointed to three other reasons for the scarcity of Web developers: absence of an academic course; the inherent technical and artistic requirements of the job; and the mindset of Web specialists."It is moderately difficult to find Web designers because there is no course in any college that directly addresses the needs of such a position," Yonzon pointed out.
Yonzon added that it is extremely difficult to find individuals who are both adept in Web programming and have good design sense as well. "These Web designers must be familiar with both, if not necessarily experts at programming and design."
De Dios said that a Web programmer should also have good business sense, excellent analytical talents as well as good communications and selling skills.
Many Web experts believe they need to update their knowledge through constant training, especially with the emergence of e- commerce trends today.
Assistant site master Oneil Buena, also from Global Sources, said that HTML knowledge is no longer enough to be a successful Web developer. "It would be a major plus if a Web developer has a knowledge in the programming languages like C++ so he can easily adapt to scripting languages like Perl, Javascript and ASP," he added.
For Web programmers, a combination of hardware expertise and knowledge of data management; data integration; active server pages scripting; and e-commerce technologies such as shopping carts, security, encryption, and online payment systems is a definite career advantage.
Although, some Web programmers assert that self-study through books and experience are enough training, others believe that companies who hire them should provide more. "Internet technology changes so fast," Cea said. "Companies who want to adopt new technologies must also invest in training their people to stay abreast with competitors," Cea said.
Aside from company-sponsored training, Web specialists also demand flexible working hours and, if the technology allows it, telecommuting.
"It would be better to handle my own time. For me, I work better at night -- no distractions in the office and the bandwidth is faster," explained Pom Figueroa, Web programmer at Yehey.com, the largest Philippine-based search engine.
Pascua also subscribes to this kind of working environment. "Silence and focus are vital in performing my tasks. During nighttime when no one is around, I get to finish tasks a lot faster."Still, for others, the working environment is just a matter of mood, attitude or preference. "As long as everyone works professionally from management down to the rank-and-file, we don't need a special working environment to be productive," Cea said.
De Jesus, on the other hand, said that these perks are needed partly to offset the low compensation being given to Web specialists. "Part of the benefits or privileges that could be given to them is making the working environment more convenient," he said.
Despite the exodus of local Web specialists, both industry players and Web specialists alike agree that Internet jobs will be a promising
and lucrative career path here.
Yonzon believes that the current scarcity is just a temporary situation. "Give or take five years, you will be unable to swing a dead mouse without hitting a Web designer because everyone and anyone can be a Web designer. The trick then is to find the good ones."
De Jesus, for his part, says the attraction of being at the forefront of something new may keep some Web developers here.
"There's nothing that can stop Web programmers or developers from going abroadbecause of higher pay, but to be at the forefront of the booming IT market here in the country should give them motivation enough to stay and become a part of it," he said