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Published on February 1st, 2013 | by Alan Cross

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Cover Bands and Elvis Impersonators Drive Philippine Economy

No, you read that correctly.  If you think it through, it actually makes a lot of sense.  From the New York Times:

In 2002 alone, more than 40,000 entertainers left the Philippines to work overseas, primarily in Japan. After allegations of prostitution among some entertainers, however, the Japanese government found that many of the female musicians could not actually play a musical instrument, and that many of the vocalists did not have much of a voice.

After the crackdown, the number of performers who left the Philippines to work overseas dropped to 4,050 in 2006, from 43,818 in 2004. The figure now hovers around 1,500 to 2,000 a year, government statistics show, with Japan remaining the top destination, followed by Malaysia, South Korea and China.

The article then talks about the Philippine entertainers who are working overseas.  They tend to be accomplished musicians in cover bands or successful Elvis impersonators.  These people earn decent livings and send a portion of their salaries back to their families.  Remittance money from overseas relatives is an important part of the Philippine economy.

See?  I told you it makes sense.  Read the entire article here.


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



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