So Far, What is The Impact of Having Musicians Represented in the DPR?

Aris Setyawan
Aris Setyawan
Posted undercriticmusicmusikWriting

This practice has become prevalent in Indonesian politics, at least in the last two decades: political parties favour celebrities as potential politicians who will represent their names in power. These celebrities come from various fields: film and soap opera performers, celebrities who have no achievements other than sensation circulating in society, and musicians.

Why do political parties like to choose celebrities to be the candidates they put forward in the legislative sphere? The answer is relatively simple: these celebrities are famous. Thus, they are nominated because the public knows and is familiar with those whose faces often appear on television or other media. The hope is that they can win constituents’ hearts to vote for them by nominating celebrities.

This phenomenon is not a joke. The Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) even includes “political celebrity” in their vocabulary, which means “celebrity who plunged into the political scene”.

Under the trias politica, the system of sharing state power adopted by Indonesia, which is divided into three parts, namely the executive (president, ministers), the legislature (the People’s Representative Council or DPR), and the judiciary (Supreme Court, Constitutional Court), these celebrities usually nominate themselves—or are nominated by political parties—to become legislators in the DPR.

This writing will focus on discussing musicians who have/have served as members of the legislature and musicians who are in the process of nominating themselves as members of the legislature, both in the Central and Regional DPR (DPRD).

The first question is: So far, what is the impact of having musician representation in the DPR?

This question is vital because legislators’ job is to represent the people. They are an extension of the people, and they must draft laws to regulate a just social life and protect people’s rights.

Specifically, this writing will only discuss how the musicians’ representatives in the DPR have impacted the development of music in Indonesia. Governance of the music industry, the development of music creation, and the fulfilment of musicians’ rights in Indonesia.

Then who are the musicians who have/have sat in the legislature? And who is in the process of running for the 2024 general elections?

For those who were—and are still—in office, we can name them Anang Hermansyah. Anang advanced as a legislative candidate for the DPR for the East Java IV electoral district from the National Mandate Party (PAN); he also passed to Senayan and became a member of the DPR for the 2014-2019 period with a vote of 53,559 votes.

Several other musicians are Tere (Democratic Party, 2009-2014 period), Harvey Malaiholo (PDIP, 2019-2014 period), Mulan Jameela (Gerindra Party, 2019-2024 period), Kris Dayanti (PDIP, 2019-2024 period).

Next year will be the election; we will again be treated to five years of electoral politics. We will all be herded to the ballot box and vote for figures said to be our DPR RI or DPRD representatives. The excitement of the 2024 election began several years ago. However, this year the echoes are getting more boisterous because the time is getting closer, and just like in the past two decades, many musicians have nominated themselves or been appointed to political parties to try their luck in elections so they can occupy positions in the legislature.

The apparent nominee is the former drummer of legendary underground band and soloist Marcell Siahaan (PDIP), drummer for Element band Didi Riyadi (Nasdem Party), Sigit Purnomo Syamsuddin Said alias Pasha Ungu (PAN), Melly Goeslow (Gerindra), Ahmad Dhani (Gerindra), Once Mekel (PDIP), Nafa Urbach ( Nasdem), Delpi Suhariyanto (PKP), and last but not least, the one and only Aldi Taher (Perindo).

The last two musicians mentioned had created quite a stir in the Indonesian music scene. Delpi Suhariyanto, known as a member of Dongker, is a thriving punk band adored by music lovers. Netizens were in an uproar because there was news that Delpi was advancing with the National Awakening Party (PKN) political machine. Delpi nyaleg as a candidate member of DPRD Blitar, East Java

The last name mentioned is the most phenomenal. Aldi Taher had caused a stir because he said he would nyaleg from two different parties, the Crescent Star Party (PBB) and the Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo). However, due to the prohibition against nominating himself from two parties put forward by the General Elections Commission (KPU), Aldi chose to run for election from Perindo. Netizens laughed when Aldi Taher was interviewed by one of the private television stations because when asked why he was running for the legislature from 2 different parties, Aldi even sang one of the famous verses of Coldplay’s song “Look at the stars, look how they shine for you”.

The number of musicians who are nyaleg raises the question: do they have the capability and ability to become politicians? Or, as explained at the beginning of this article, do they only nominated because they already have “famous capital”, so they are deemed capable of winning constituents’ hearts to vote for them?

Will the presence of musician representatives in the DPR positively impact the development of the world of music in Indonesia?

Reflecting on the past, unfortunately, rather than having a positive impact on the world of Indonesian music, the musicians who sit in the legislature sometimes even cause problems.

Still fresh in our memories when The Musical Bill caused a commotion because it was seen as curbing the creativity of musicians in their work. One of the musicians and members of the council who also proposed and drafted the Music Bill made on August 15 2018, was Anang Hermansyah.

The musicians who later founded the National Coalition Against the Musical Bill considered the Musical Bill a farce because the contents of its articles were ridiculous and had multiple interpretations. Among them is an article that prohibits musicians from doing works that carry negative Western culture, humiliate dignity, insult religion, and make pornographic content and provocative music. In another clause, there is an obligation to certify musicians, and what is most ridiculous is the theoretical basis for drafting the Music Bill, which is not credible because it only quotes from Blogspot and the writings of an SMK student.

Although the Musical Bill was cancelled in the end, this incident became a sign that instead of having a positive impact on the world of music, having musicians represented in the DPR created a big problem.

Another problem in the Indonesian music industry that deserves attention is the issue of copyright. Especially in the digital era when music lovers access more music on the internet digital music platform (DSP) rather than through a physical release such as compact disc, cassette, or vinyl record.

The latest research from Koalisi Seni, titled “Secretly Harming: The Situation of Digital Music Copyright in Indonesia”, found that the presence of digital music platforms is not matched by policies that can protect creators and their work. The existing regulations, namely Law Number 28 of 2014 concerning Copyright, have not yet responded to developments in the industry.

Furthermore, the Koalisi Seni accuses that digitalisation has perpetuated the power imbalance between users and technology authorities, musicians and DSPs, record labels, and intermediary parties.

The royalty problem in this digital era is related to the existence of the National Collective Management Institute (LMKN). The theory of trias politica law: judicative, legislative, executive, which attempts to explain the three that have been mixed into one in LMKN, is inappropriate because, according to state administrative law, LMKN only carries out executive actions. Even if there is an LMKN Decree (for example, regarding withdrawal delegations) or an LMKN Regulation concerning Distribution Guidelines (Guidance Distribution Rule: Transparent, Fair, Accountable), this is solely in the framework of carrying out the Executive Legal actions of the Minister of Law and Human Rights.

LMKN is an aid agency under the Director General Intellectual Property Rights (HKI) whose duty is to collect and distribute royalties to songwriters/musicians in Indonesia, both foreign and domestic songwriters. LMKNs only existed and were recognised by the Government after revising the Copyright Law No. 28 of 2014.

There is no legal certainty and welfare enforcement for songwriters/music even though there is an LMKN and PP No. 56/2021. Even though the government already creates legal regulations and institutions to collect royalties, in practice the thing is, there are still many obstacles to collecting and distributing royalties in Indonesia.

For instance, Ahmad Dhani prohibited Once Mekel, a former vocalist of Dewa who resigned in 2010, from performing Dewa 19 songs at his show.

The Ahmad Dhani VS Once Mekel case is getting tapered to the point that Kris Dayanti, the diva currently serving as a DPR RI member from the PDIP faction in Commission IX, spoke up. However, Kris Dayanti is just giving a normative suggestion that feels less substantial and will not significantly impact changing the mechanism for collecting royalties by, for example, improving the performance of LMKNs.

“If I say we are a democratic country, yes, so everything can be consulted,” Kris Dayanti told the media on Friday (28/4/2023).

Reflecting on the cases above, what impact has the musicians’ representation in the DPR had? Mainly the direct implications for musicians working in the music industry, both in the mainstream and sidestream realm.

Suppose one of the musicians who is running for legislature becomes a member of the council. In that case, they must resolve the complicated matter of royalties in this digital era by 1) Making the LMKN an independent state institution and having a budget sourced from the APBN, not only under the auspices of the Director General of Intellectual Property Rights, and 2) Make a Song and Music Information System (SILM) to ensure legal certainty and welfare for songwriters/music.

Thus, the musicians who become members of this board will create a positive impact that maintains the sustainability of the Indonesian music industry.

Hopefully, if Aldi Taher is entrenched in the DPR RI in the future, instead of singing Coldplay’s “Yellow” and saying “I love you, Dewi Perssik” in a national private television interview, he can overcome various problems that are still inherent in the Indonesian music industry. Including issues of royalties, piracy, making a blueprint for a long-term plan for managing the music industry, and one thing for sure, don’t let him have ridiculous issue policies, like the Musical Bill (RUU Permusikan) a few years ago.

Because if there is no positive impact from having musician representatives in the DPR, why should we choose them to be our representatives?

PS: Previously featured in Bahasa Indonesia on Pop Hari Ini.

TaggeddprlmknMusicmusic royaltymusical billpolitic and musicianroyalty

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