Arts & Culture


Music and movies have been some of the most heavily exported goods in recent years, and it's about time we join in on the fun.

/ 11 September 2020

Cultural exportation. By definition, this refers to the exportation of cultural goods such as music and movies, among other things, to boost the local economy. We see this in the mass production and promotion of American media throughout the years, and more recently in the Korean Wave brought upon by the rising popularity of K-Pop and K-Dramas throughout the world. This trend in entertainment and media is even more prominent now because of the digital consumption of such goods, with streaming coming in as a game changer for movies, TV shows, music, and other types of content.

The biggest example of this trend right now would have to be K-Pop group BTS, who are expected to bring in $1.4B to South Korea’s local economy, just for their latest hit “Dynamite.” The government study claimed that this could lead to thousands of new jobs across the country, all because of one group that has brought in billions-worth of sales and traction to the South Korean market.

But in the grand scheme of things, there are so many active groups right now bringing in the big bucks for the Korean economy, with unique merchandise, hit songs, huge concerts, and more. Moreover, original Korean dramas and movies have also heavily impacted this phenomenon, as more and more foreigners are introduced to the local delicacies, tourist spots, and popular activities, and have flown to the country to experience it for themselves.

The Korean government has been very persistent in supporting its entertainment industry by allotting large budgets to promote its original music and other media productions abroad, to further encourage overseas exchanges. Back in 2012, The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism spent 54.5B Won for this project, and has continued to increase the budget as the years went by.

In fact, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) issued a report back in 2016 on the rise of exports and imports of cultural goods and services around the world. It provided a detailed look into the world’s top cultural exporters at the time with North America and Europe, as well as South and East Asia being the top regions to lead the economic trend. Although the report may be a bit outdated now as it opened the discussion with the decline of money flow in the music and movie industry due to digitization, which we know now has been pretty much transformed with streaming culture, it still presents some valuable points on the impact of such products to the local market.

With tested and established economic models such as the United States, South Korea, Japan, India, and China, it’s clear that entertainment as a cultural good is one that should not be undermined or less prioritized as it proves to be an immensely powerful tool in stimulating tourism and employment in a country. These examples, and so many others, provide valuable insights on how the Philippines can also do the same and put in the necessary funding to promote our original music and movies overseas. Moreover, with larger budgets for the entertainment, cultural, and creative industries, quality should naturally improve tremendously, which will elevate our productions to be able to compete with other global creations.

On that note, the British Council released a study a few years back entitled “The Philippine Creative Economy: Toward a Baseline & Programme” which showcases a comprehensive SWOT report on our creative industry, and also presents some recommendations on how the local government can invest on it as a potential economic driver. If we consider these steps, and follow the path of other countries in commodifying entertainment and cultural goods, this might just be the answer to the growing employment problem in the Philippines, as well as our fragile economy.