Banned and (Re) Presented: Music in the Timeline of Indonesian Politics


This paper discusses the journey of music in the timeline of Indonesian Politics, start from 1945 (Independence Day) up to now with an interdisciplinary approach. At the beginning of the Soekarno’s Old Order (1945-1968) forbade Western-style music (Beatles) played in Indonesia and even had imprisoned some musicians who expressed the western style. When the Suharto’s New Order ruled the roost, the musicians, as well as artists who got a place in the Old Order, were forbidden even some to be political prisoners. Yet, many new musicians have sprung up and as a result popular music had a glorious time around the 80-90’s. Dangdut music was success and successfully regarded as “music of the people”. RhomaIrama, known as the king of Dangdut, offers the song with the lyrics of the body discipline in the Islamic ideology. In addition to “music of the people”, the peripheral music that voiced criticism of the government also thrived in the New Order, and always received tight control by the military in every stage action.

The fall of the Suharto’s regime and the chaotic politics in Indonesia influenced the trend of music in Indonesia. Songs with the theme of infidelity and distrust of couples present coloured the popular music industry at that time. Now in the Jokowi’s Era (2014) many popular musicians began to express their aspirations not only through music but also the political stage. Be the question then how are music industries response politic system and market in Indonesia? The phenomenon of the political world in Indonesia that develops along with the life of music will be described in depth in this paper.

Keywords: Music, Politics, Indonesia, Regime



At noon,when the sun shone so bright, Stadion Utama Gelora Bung Karno Jakarta was red and flooded with millions of people. The day of the last round of presidential campaign Jokowi-JK enlivened hundreds of artists. Incorporated in Revolusi Harmoni, Konser Salam Dua Jariwas in the title. The musicians openly declaredthemselves as supporters of the couple’s presidential candidate. Slank,the biggest Indonesian rock band,whose lyrics talk a lot about social criticism not to be missed. They openly declaredtheir support to Jokowi-JK.

At first, the survey institute said the electability of the presidential candidate,  Prabowo-Hatta was superior, but the circumstances changed when the musicians who joined the Revolusi Harmonideclared its support to Jokowi-JK on June 11, 2014. Of the many musicians who joined in the Revolusi Harmoni,the most striking was Slank. Indieband group that has transcended more than three decades in Indonesian music industry stated: “Because we see there is hope for the future for Indonesia to be better, become bigger as it should be, through the idea of Mental Revolution initiated by Jokowi-JK,”said  the Guitarist of Slank, Abdee Negara (Antara, June 2014). Abdee Negara said, as a form of support, the Revolusi Harmonicommunity for the Mental Revolution made a song titled “Salam Dua Jari”for Jokowi-JK couples. Salam Dua Jari(Greeting with Two Fingers) is a song made specifically by Slank to invite the masses to choose Jokowi. The number two is set by the Election Commission for Jokowi-JK. Two fingers are often associated as a symbol of peace used Slank to raise social power for change. Slank can’t be underestimated; this Jakarta-based band has millions of fans spread all over Indonesia. Currently, their Facebook page recorded about 7 million people say “like”.

Support to Jokowi increased after the supporters of the musicians held “Konser Salam Dua Jari” in Gelora Bung Karno on July 5, 2014. Jokowi electability skyrocketed up to 47.80 percent, superior to the pair Prabowo -Hatta to achieve support as much as 44.20 percent (Antara, June 2014).

Not only the national musicians; Arkarna, through the @arkarna official account on July 8, 2014, the day before the presidential election, wrote “Vote Jokowi for better and stronger future in Indonesia! Say Yes to Democracy Arkarna Vote Jokowi #Jokowi9Juli. “In addition, other world musicians such as Jason Mraz and Sting also provide support to Jokowi. Jason also whistled similarly in his twitter account @ jason_mraz “To my friends in Indonesia, this week you are empowered with your vote! #Jokowi9Juli #yes !.”. While Sting wrote “Use your rights-every vote counts #Jokowi9Juli,” on his Facebook account Jokowi finally won the presidential election. The General Elections Commission (KPU) determined that of 33 Provinces, Jokowi-Kalla earned 53.15 per cent or 70,633,576 votes. While Prabowo-Hatta won 46.85 per cent or 62,262,844 votes. Jokowi-Kalla won8,370,732 votes. The KPU stated that the number of valid votes was 132,896,438 votes.

Of Jokowi’s victory is not solely because of the movement of the musicians. According to the Indonesian Survey Institute, Jokowi’s campaign involves endorsement of high-integrity figures, artists and celebrities in social media with the following movements: #akhirnyamemilih Jokowi(finally selecting Jokowi). It was able to boost support for Jokowi-JK.

The involvement of musicians in the political stage is not only happening in Indonesia. Some news launching artist support openly in the succession of presidential elections contributed to a remarkable voice. In the 2008 US presidential election, the couple’s spouses Jay Z and Beyonce lent support by holding a fundraiser and earning 4 million USD which was then handed over to the Democrats. In Indonesia the condition has not been up to this kind, but the overt declaration of the musicians gives enough significant impact in the acquisition of votes.

I see the involvement of musicians on the political stage is getting more and more open. Not only support, many musicians and then stir to be a politician. Fame becomes a great capital to attract public support. Distribution of music with industrial systems makes musicians can be known to all levels of society. This condition facilitates the mobilization of votes to support the victory. The song of the oration script is capable of moving the audience together. Musicians like magnetic politicians to attract sympathizers to unite ideology.

Based on the phenomenon seen in the process of Indonesia’s presidential election in 2014, I started this research in diachronic[1], in the Old Order era (1945-1965), Soekarno is very expert on speech, he hypnotized the entire people of Indonesia. Words are sung like a love song that brings a burning spirit to love the nation for a dream of having a beautiful country. As a result of Indonesia’s independence was obtained with all the consequences are quite impeded after three hundred and fifty years as a colonized state. The Indonesian nation was born and tried to be independent.

In the Soekarno regime and then continued by the New Order reign the centralization was chosen as the prevailing system in Indonesia. This system makes all decisions/policies issued by the centre while the region is just waiting for instructions from the centre to implement the policies outlined. Centralization made Indonesia’s economic activities then only moved in the central region, Indonesian music industry too. Industrialization of music developed rapidly in Java (the island where the capital located). TVRI and RRI as a state institution is the mouthpiece of the government in conveying its ideology. Musicians are in line with government programs in support for appearing on TVRI and RRI whereas different ideologies are prohibited to appear in both institutions.

Towards millennia with the collapse of the New Order regime, political reforms tried to change the previous order by starting to think about social justice and trying a new phase with the decentralization system. The change from the centralized system to decentralization is inevitably changing the voyage of the Indonesian popular music industries. The transition of the centralized system into regional autonomy, making the pop music industry area began to emerge. In line with technological developments that facilitate music production systems that can be done independently make a major label company no longer monopolize the distribution market, the indie label began to burst and grow. The new chapter of the Indonesian music industry is started and raging.

The scene of music in Indonesia especially related to the industry goes hand in hand with political life in every era of the reign. The role of musicians in generating leaders who appear through political parties shook hands with government policy which then emerged. This constellation is interesting to be described in depth with an interdisciplinary approach that allows different sciences to speak equally in a discourse.

How does the music industry respond to political and market systems? It is selected as a foothold by trying to sort out all the facts, feelings, ideas and opinions about the music scene in Indonesia since the independence era until now. The regional-national-global conception will be analyzed through the representation, relation, and identity of the political and musical movements in Indonesia.


Indonesian Music Industry: From Koes Plus to Rhoma Irama

 I read some references on the history of the music industry in Indonesia, from some of the references I read show that the Indonesian music industry started in 1951 when a local company named Irama began producing recordings of LPs. In 1954 record companies Remaco and Dimita also did the same. Lokananta, a state-owned record company founded in Solo in 1955, appeared and dominated the domestic record industry and focused on Javanese music. Its short dominance due to technological changes in the following year resulted in the inclusion of new companies and production techniques in the music industry around the world, including Indonesia (Sen and Hill, 2001: 195). The presence of foreign culture is considered dangerous is considered and can damage the crawling nation looking for identity by President Sukarno who was in power at the time. Pancasila and NASAKOM’s ideas are the chosen middle ground to be a strong foundation for Indonesia to face the challenges of globalization (Dahm, 1987).

President Soekarno read his speech entitled Re-Discovery Our Revolution on 17 August 1959. He urged the young generations to against the state with Neo-Colonialism and Western Imperialism cultures. The Beatles the pop band from Liverpool UK considered incompatible with our nations. The Reign assumed that The Beatles songs could have devastating effects to Indonesian young generations. So Soekarno hardly acts with banned all the bands played The Beatles music. There was a band namely KoesBersaudara imprisoned because they sang The Beatles songs and used The Beatles ideology on their music. They got subversive threats from the Old Order Regime.

The political changes of Indonesia from the Old Order to the New Order in 1965-1966 reopened the Indonesian music market for Western products and encouraged the growth of new pop band groups. Western songs previously banned began to be heard again. Songs from Western bands such as The Beatles, Rolling Stone and Deep Purple, or from Indonesia such as Koes Brothers, The Rollies and God Bless are constantly played on amateur radio stations and musical performances in major cities in Indonesia are always crowded with spectators (Sen and Hill, 2004). The Koes Brothers who were imprisoned in the reign of Soekarno reappeared and became the pioneers of pop and rock ‘n roll music in Indonesia under the name Koes Plus in 1969. The popularity of this group then soared and by surprise in 1974 they managed to release 23 albums. In 1975 they also released six albums and in 1976 they released 10 albums. This is not a simple sum for a musician, because the average musician today can only spend one to two albums in a year. The fame of Koes Plus began to shift with the emergence of new bands and quite a solo singer in the 80s.

The influence of Western bands not only influenced the Indonesian pop bands, RhomaIrama with the Soneta group concocted Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple music into Malay rhythmic songs, emerged dynamic elements which are now better known as dangdut. In 1970,dangdut became much more modern because the politics of Indonesia at that time began to be friendly to the culture brought from the West such as electric guitars, percussion, saxophone, and electrical organs. The musical instruments are increasingly open opportunities for variations of dangdut music. Even in 1977 RhomaIrama made dangdut music equivalent to rock music with ‘Duel Concert’ God Bless vs Soneta Group in Istora Senayan, Jakarta. The incident ultimately confirmed the dangdut position in Indonesia which was later separated from the Malay music genre.

Rhoma Irama with the Soneta group gets a place in the hearts of Indonesian people. The emergence of RhomaIrama in the world of music and film Indonesia made his name increasingly soar and his presenceis always awaited. The poster is installed in the village houses and the music is singing everywhere. As a musician, Rhoma is a phenomenon. Not only makes the rhythm of different with the touch of melayu rock music, dangdut songs created Rhoma is also a condition with social criticism in his poetry. In addition to music, Rhoma apparentlyisalso very interested in Islam. Rhoma then brought Soneta  as a voice of Islam with a lot of chanting pitched songs of da’wah.

Success in music and movies, Rhoma stepped into politics. As a person who fought for Islam, it is not surprising that Rhoma chose PPP (Islamic Party)[2]. “I defend PPP lillahitaalaas a Muslim, I have to choose a Muslim leader too,” Rhoma said in some media. For PPP, joining Rhoma to the partywasbearing theKabahis definitely an overwhelming support. During the two electoral seasons, 1977 and 1982, Rhoma was able to suck up millions of people to come to the PPP campaign arena.

The Rhoma Irama’s political affiliation, which was not parallel to the government that ran the Golkar party, made Rhoma banned from appearing on TVRI, the song was removed from the play list on RRI, the circulation of the cassette was inhibited, and the concert permit was complicated. This condition makes Rhoma more daring to insert a sharp criticism of the inequality of social class.

The highlight of the RhomaIrama music controversy was when he got the fatwa haram from the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) in 1984. Rhoma was forbidden to include scriptural verses in his music. Since then, Rhoma and Soneta Group have been vacuum for five years. Do not stop there, when re-launched a new album, RhomaIrama was not softened his criticism in the lyrics. The 15th album GaliLobangTutupLobangreleased in 1989 was criticizing foreign debt. Criticismwas winged; could criticize the life of a debt-ridden family, or criticism of the government that built the country on the mountains of debt after the acute banking crisis that occurred a year before the album was released to the public. Paying off the unseen debt was Rhoma’s clever metaphorically. Here the Gali Lobang Tutup Lobangoriginal Lyrics translation in English


Gali-gali-gali-gali-galilobang(Digging a hole),

Gali-gali-gali-gali-galilobang(Digging a hole)


Lobang digali menggali lobang(The hole is dug to dig a hole)

Untuk menutup lobang(To close the aperture)

Tertutup sudah lobang yang lama(Closed already a long hole)

Lobang baru terbuka(A new hole open)


Gali lobang tutup lobang(Dig a hole lid of a hole)

Pinjam uang bayar hutang (Borrow money for payable)

Gali lobang tutup lobang (Dig a hole lid of a hole)

Pinjam uang bayar hutang (Borrow money for payable)


Gali-gali-gali-gali-galilobang (Digging a hole)

Gali-gali-gali-gali-galilobang(Digging a hole)



Walau makan sederhana(Although eating potluck)

Ikan asin sambal lalap (Salted fish sauce lalap)

Walau baju sederhana(Although the clothes are simple)

Asal menutup aurat (Originally covering the genitals)

Walau makan sederhana(Although eating potluck)

Walau baju sederhana(Although the clothes are simple)

Walau serba sederhana(Although simple)

Asal sehat jiwa raga(Providing that healthy body and soul)

Dan juga hutang tak punya(And also has no debt) .

Itulah orang yang kaya (That is the rich peoples)


The thing to remember is that every criticism of the government made by RhomaIrama with the Soneta group has a wide echo; not just on the radio, on the television, but also on the open platforms during the concert. This makes GolKar, the ruling party trying hard to embrace RhomaIrama to move the bow.

Ahead of the 1997 election, Rhoma crossed to GolKar. Because of this Rhoma reapeda sharp rebuke from the devotees who are mostly also a big fan of PPP. Rhoma hada myriad of reasons why he was willing to be embraced by GolKar. For Rhoma, a party that is Islamic is not enough to fight for Islam. Therefore, Rhoma chose to take shelter under the “Banyan Tree” (GolKar Symbols). “PPP is indeed voicing the aspirations of Islam, but because PPP is not in the position of a winning, superior and dominant party, the result is less effective,” Rhoma said of the reason for his move.

Dangdutbecame a means of mobilizing political parties (political parties) every five years in the New Order election until now. A dangdutsinger can sing for all parties as long as it is paid. The election is the lifeline for dangdutmusicians. Without dangdut, the repressive New Order politics and pretended elections seem bland. From this, itcame the term for the New Order election as a “party of democracy”.

Dangdut politicization had also been considered a potential threat to the authorities when the “King of Dangdut” RhomaIrama supported certain political parties in the New Order era. The restrictions and restrictions of various Rhoma Irama concerts were held by the authorities at the time. However, the connection dangdut and political momentum of elections and political parties does not mean dangdut has ideological ties with politics. Dangdut is a messenger that can be used and mobilized by various groups and interests. Dangdut is a dangdut, an identity that remains autonomous.

According to the musical sociologist from the University of Pittsburgh, USA, Prof. Andrew N Weintraub, dangdut music is native to Indonesian culture, not from India or Malaysia. According to the author of the book “Dangdut, Music, Identity, and Culture Indonesia” dangdut character is typical of Indonesia because of the themes of the songs close to the life of Indonesian society. The lyrics and music of dangdut are socially similar to the birth of blues music in the United States that is seductive and full of miserable lives of the little people. The term “dangdut as folk music” is an inherent social identity with the middle and lower classes, which constitute the majority of the Indonesian people.


Nationalism vs Religiosity

I saw bringing together all ethnicities in Pancasila ideology and the spirit of Indonesian nationalism is certainly not an easy task. The central government system was chosen by the founding father to bring Indonesia’s development only occurred in Java. The conception of a nation that embraces many ethnically diverse islands within a unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia makes the ethnic identity inherent before independence merges into Indonesia. The search for Indonesian identity is still done and often finds a dead end. Multiculturalism has always been a way out and justification and negates that there is no conflict in this process. Nationalism has always been an important domain despite its ambiguity. Koes Brothers with musical choices with global flavors are considered inconsistent with the ideology of a nation that is crawling in search of identity. RhomaIrama is able to blend the rhythm of the melayu and rock rhythm become dangdut get a positive response from people who are in transition from regional to global. Dangdut music is like hybrid music that can accommodate the aspirations of the society in a national scope. Lyrics that portray the majority of people’s lives legitimize this music into ‘folk music’.

The themes of social criticism selected RhomaIrama to cry out the hearts of people who are getting saturated with the repressive New Order social-political situation. Islam was a religion that most of the people of Indonesia and also RhomaIrama began to echo to calm the masses. Plunging into Islamic political parties increasingly confirms RhomaIrama calling for da’wah in his songs. Islam was a social domain in Indonesia, but GolKar as the ruling party at that time represented the multicultural spirit of nationalism that was able to bring RhomaIrama to Golkar and swam sweetly to Senayan in 1992 as a member of the MPR[3]representing the class of artists.

Back to the Indonesian music industry in the 70’s pioneered by Koes Plus then developed rapidly until at its peak in the 1990s Indonesian music industry triumphed in Southeast Asia. According to data compiled by Sen and Hill (2000) from Euromonitor, International Marketing Data and Statistics (1997), the Indonesian music industry is small in the world, but the largest in Southeast Asia. Official 1995 figures (excluding pirated ones) show that total retail music recordings in Indonesia reached almost US $ 290 million, less than the US $ 12880 million sales figures in America. By comparison, the number of music sales in the Philippines is only 16% of sales in Indonesia, in Singapore only 31%, Malaysia 50%, and Thailand 65%.

Market logic and pop music are inseparable dualisms. Both have major implications for the formation of ideology for their supporters. This implication according to Adorno (1997), is the starting point of the cultural industry logic movement that developed as a project of homogenization of taste. Concretely this effect is evident from the tastes, attitudes, styles of dressing and how to construct almost entirely the same mindset. It is a representation of collective identity that reflects the nation.

Pop music consumed by society has a significant similarity in certain aspects. This is confirmed by Adorno (1997), which states that pop music is ‘standardized’ both in terms of musical patterns or lyrics. The simplicity of the lyrics that reveals the life of people in a time becomes a role in the music industry in Indonesia.

The saturation of a repetitive pattern evokes creativity to criticize. Indonesian music industry which is so much time monopolized by international distribution company evokes the spirit of anti-mainstream which then better known as an indie movement. Some indie pop music groups are considered to be able to change the views of the community about the market situation of the music industry in Indonesia. In the midst of the ideology of capitalism that is dominating the market of Indonesian pop music industry, the emerging stream of music in the name of freedom. This idea apart from the intervention of the capitalists in presenting entertainment to the society that is currently hungry for entertainment. Behind the rise of Indonesian pop music was born the flow of music in Indonesia that carries creative music without the accompanying interests of the cultural industry. Freedom of expression is one reason why this music genre is called independent music. Starting from the production process to the distribution of the album, everything is done independently. Unlike pop music in general that became a commodity market that must be mass produced. Indie movement seems to be considered a bit of giving a color that ‘different’ amid pop music uniformity that tends to be boring.

One of the largest Indie groups in Indonesia is Slank. Slank stood in December 1983, with the initial name of Cikini Stone Complex (CSC), they often performed songs from Rolling Stone, their idol. Their performance on a makeshift stage, making viewers often call them slenge’an bands. Then the band name changed to Slank. Slank’s career is not as smooth as imagined, repeatedly sending demos to various major labels, many times their records were rejected. Until Slank met a producer who believes that Slank music will be much preferred, because Slank music is different from mainstream music at that time. Slank combines pop, rock n roll, blues, and ethics with simple lyrics into Slank music colors. Slank’s first album exploded on the market with the song hits Sorry and indeed received an award at BASF award as the best newcomer. Slank’s fame on the first album trapped Slank in a psychotropic snare. Unloading players up to fourteen times is a way Slank persisted to find the best composition of vision.

In 1994, Slank founded his own label called PISS Records, then turned into Slank Records. From then on Slank launched his work independently. With the spirit of indie, the more crowded Slank heard picking off the drug trap and dependence on Major label. Evidently, despite running on the indie path, independently, Slank remains a famous pop rock band. The Slank Group has a fanatical fan group, known as Slankers. The Slanker scattered all over the country, these slanker have deep emotional ties even though not in the same area. In its development these slankers form an organized container and community that from the center to the region havea hierarchical stewardship. The number of registered slankers reaches three million people, with the number of fans page on social media that touches seven million. Slankers are very loyal to Slank because they think Slank music is honest music as it is, which can represent the soul and spirit of young people.

Sensitivity Slank read the times and see the existing social conditions make every album Slank always sold well. The four main themes that always adorn the album are social politics, love, youth movement and the environment come with simple and straightforward language. Slank increasingly expresses malignant expression. Indonesian political voice is voiced with romantic though sounds sad by borrowing national jargon as title song like Tong Kosong Nyaring Bunyinya, Bang-Bang Tut, Hai Bung, etc.

Another musician who emerged in the New Order era where freedom of speech is not allowed is IwanFals. IwanFals with provocative song poems often get repression from the Lord. But the more oppressed, IwanFals even more inviting the community sympathetic and become an idol because it is considered as a figure who is able to represent the oppressed through his songs. TIME magazine raised its image as a ‘Hero’ for some Indonesian people. IwanFals’s poem reveals the reality of the lives of the little people, the arbitrariness of the authorities and criticizes the behavior of a person or group such as Oemar Bakri, Bongkar, Bento. The song Unloading works of IwanFals and SawungJabowascrowned as the best song number 1 among 150 Best Indonesian Songs of Rolling Stone Magazine Indonesia. The reason Rolling Stone magazine chose Bongkaras the best song is becauseBongkaris considered a song that is able to represent the social reality, a song that is able to reveal history to the point of authenticity that feudalism culture is so deeply rooted in this beloved land. From day to day people watch the exhibition of greed, uncertainty and other forms of oppression. When all hope has been clogged and patience has reached its limit then patience in the context of Indonesian social life has the potential to become a mass amok.  Bongkaras a song offers a solution: “Go Down the Way! Crush the devil that stands astride! “At that moment Bongkaris considered a dangerous melancholic song. Here is Bongkar Original Lyrics Translation in English


Kalau cinta sudah di buang (If love was thrown away)

Jangan harap keadilan akan datang (Don’t ever hope any justice)

Kesedihan hanya tontonan (Sadness is just a watching)

Bagi mereka yang diperkuda jabatan (For whoever driven by degree)


Wo o ya o ya o ya Bongkar (Wo o ya o ya o ya break down)

Wo o ya o ya o ya Bongkar (Wo o ya o ya o ya break down)


Sabar sabar sabar dan tunggu (Be patient,patient, patient and wait)

Itu jawaban yang kami terima (That’s the answer we get)

Ternyata kita harus kejalan (But in fact we must go to the street)

Robohkan setan yang berdiri mengangkang (Break down the standing evil)


Wo o ya o ya o ya Bongkar(Wo o ya o ya o ya break down)

Wo o ya o ya o ya Bongkar(Wo o ya o ya o ya break down)


Penindasan serta kesewenang wenangan (Oppression and suppression)

Banyak lagi teramat banyak untuk disebutkan (And so much more)

Hoi hentikan, hentikan jangan diteruskan (Stop it hey, don’t ever continue)

Kami muak dengan ketidakpastian dan keserakahan (We’re so bored with untrue and greediness)

Di jalanan (In the streets)

Kami sandarkan cita cita (We lean our goals on it)

Sebab di rumah (Because in the home)

Tak ada lagi yang bisa dipercaya (No one can be trusted)

Orang tua (Parents)

Pandanglah kami sebagai manusia (Look at us as a human)


Ahead of the fall of the New Order, the songs with the theme of resistance began to color the music market in Indonesia. The similarity of disappointment to the ruling regime is able to mobilize the masses to unite to crush the injustices that occurred. The song with its critical lyrics becomes a powerful weapon to burn the spirit of the masses to take action. Full of music concert IwanFals also Slank with the spirit of resistance to make the military increasingly ferocious mass silence. Yet the struggle continues.

The peak in Slank’s events took to the streets and voiced, with a song expressing resistance supported by massive mass of Slank present in a demonstration calling for the Reformation. Seeing the power of mass owned by Slank, not infrequently politicians approached to embrace the plunge into the world of politics, but the indie spirit that has become a vision, confirms Slank to remain independent and creative and presenting alternative in the world music in Indonesia.

The New Order era has passed and changed with the Reformation Era, the hegemony that fettered more than three decades made the Indonesian people feel the freedom. The acquired freedom has had a major impact on the music industry in Indonesia. The songs with the theme of love affair and infidelity had adorned the music in Indonesia in early 2000. Indonesian society appears in an anomaly period where the decline of confidence in the government was also brought distrust of the couple. Not only the issue of love affair and infidelity, the theme of the Indonesian song in also began vulgar and discussion of sex relationship that once taboo now very clearly appear in some songs.



The constellations in music and politics in every era of Indonesia are very complex. Starting from a phenomenon that looks striking in the 2014 presidential election, music becomes a universal language capable of mobilizing the masses. The attachment of music and industry that surrounds makes music not only present as an ‘entertainment’ but music can be a messenger and spearhead escort to Indonesian as a nation. In the Old Order era, the search for identity in a newly constructed ideology became the reason music of global (Western) flavour was banned. America and the West are considered inconsistent with Pancasila and Nasakom. The search for Indonesia’s identity forms is deadlocked and then chooses the multicultural concept as a wise middle ground. The New Order tried to open the veil by beginning to accept Western and American cultures, as a result the hybrid music industry became an option to embrace the region with a global goal for a nation. Media (TVRI and RRI) are used as a mouthpiece for the government to lead mass opinion. Musicians who are not in line with the government are not allowed to enter in TVRI and RRI. Reformation era that offers freedom and regional autonomy makes the musicians fringe began to be known to the wider community and then migrated to the central. Surely this is not in line with the conception of decentralization adopted. But the struggle of music and politics industry always wrestlesin Jakarta and it’s like Indonesia.



Adorno, Theodor W. (1997). Aesthetic Theory. New York: Regents of University of Minnesota

Dahm, Bernhard. (1987).Soekarno Dan Perjuangan Kemerdekaan. Jakarta: LP3ES

Sen, Krishna & Hill, David T. (2000).  Media, Culture and Politics Indonesia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press

Sen, Krishna & Hill, David T. (2004).  “Global Industry, National Politics: Popular Music in ‘New Order’ Indonesia”in Refashioning Pop Music in Asia Cosmopolitan flows, political tempos and aesthetic industries. London: Routledge

Weintraub, Andrew. (2012).DANGDUT Musik, Identitas, dan Budaya Indonesia. Jakarta: KPG

[1]The timeline of Indonesian Politicsis divided into three main rea namely: Soekarno’s Old Order,Suharto’s New Order, and Reformation Period of Indonesia (towards Democracy)

[2]In New Order Era there were three parties, namely GolonganKarya (GolKar),  PPP (Islamic Party), and PDI. GolKaris the biggest party and always won the democratic fiesta then followed by PPP and PDI.

[3]MPR is acronym for MajelisPermusyawaratan Rakyat (The People’s Consultative Assembly)