By: Patricia Kusumaningtyas |

You’ve seen it on the news. You’ve seen your favorite Indonesian musicians advocating against it, and you’ve seen your friends post about it. But what exactly is RUU Permusikan? This post will give you the basics of this proposed bill that’s about to be passed by the Indonesian government, and what it means to the Indonesian music industry at large.

RUU Permusikan has been on the legislative agenda for a while—since 2017, to be exact—and it’s one of the legislature’s top priorities this year. A draft of this bill has been circulating on the Internet and it establishes some governing rules on the Indonesian music industry. Spanning 54 articles, the scope of this bill includes musicians and their creative process, music distribution, music reproduction, music consumption, and traditional music awareness.

Indonesians spearheading the country’s music industry took issue on more or less 19 out of 54 articles. The most talked about controversies include Article 5 and 50’s ambiguous wording and the competency test mentioned in Article 20-21 and 31-33.

First of all, Article 5 and 50 talks about permitted and illegal content in Indonesian music, which touches on some ideological points, however, written in an ambiguous language. The arguments made in Article 5 highly regards moral and traditional values, such as not permitting any music content to promote blasphemy. With the fact that Indonesia still has a problematic stance on blasphemy laws, critics of this article cited that blasphemy could be a grey area and this law could be used to twist words and lyrics and prosecute musicians that are deemed innocent of blasphemy. Another issue critics brought up is with Article 5.f., stating that bringing negative impact from foreign cultures is not permitted in music. Critics stated that there is no moral alignment in culture itself, therefore this article could be highly discriminatory to other cultures and, especially considering the recent controversy between Maimon Herawati and Shopee’s BLACKPINK ad, could fuel the ethnocentrism held in Indonesia’s most powerful people.

Another issue is contained in articles 20-21 and 31-33, which mentioned that a music industry figure must be “professional and competent” in the field of music. The articles also mention a method to evaluate one’s competency in music, in which a music industry figure could be trained professionally or self-taught—the caveat is that self-taught music industry figures should go through an official standardized test to make sure that they are on par with music industry figures who are trained professionally. Critics of these articles mentioned that this could be the death of the DIY, underground music scene, a scene as flourishing in Indonesia as it is in other countries. The articles are gatekeepers to potential new talents in the music industry that might not have as much educational competency as the law states.

Indonesia’s most influential music figures have voiced their disappointment towards this proposed bill. Indie folk Danilla Riyadi started a petition on change.org directed towards the Indonesian legislature opposing this bill, signed by almost 190,000 people so far. If this bill were to be passed, the landscape of the Indonesian music industry will surely be changed.

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