Underground Music in Indonesia: 001

The fourth most populous country in the world, comprised of thousands of volcanic islands between Southeast Asia and Australia, is home to a committed music scene.


Spending on entertainment and media in Indonesia has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by the country’s expanding middle class and rising disposable incomes. While the country’s entertainment and media market remains relatively small compared to other leading Asia Pacific countries such as China, it is set to be the region’s equal fourth-fastest growing market over the coming five years.

PwC’s Global entertainment and media outlook 2014-2018 projects that overall spending on entertainment and media in Indonesia will rise during 2013- 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1% — a pace of growth that will be exceeded in Asia Pacific only by India (11.6% CAGR), China (10.9% CAGR), and the much smaller Pakistan market (10.6% CAGR).

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Population: 261.1 million (2016) World Bank

Life expectancy: 69.07 years (2015) World Bank

Population growth rate: 1.1% annual change (2016) World Bank

GNI per capita: 11,220 PPP dollars (2016) World Bank

Official language: Indonesian

Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.42%
15-24 years: 17.03% 
25-54 years: 42.35%
55-64 years: 8.4% 
65 years and over: 6.79%


Djarkata Warehouse Project is an enormous electronic music festival in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city. For two days, the city's international exposition centre plays host to global megastars of dance music from the world over.

EDM, house and techno comprise the majority of the music on offer across the festival, with the likes of Martin Garrix, Axwell^Ingrosso and Nicky Romero among the hundreds of DJs who have performed in recent years. 



Ultra Bali is an outdoor electronic music festival that is a part of Ultra Music Festival's worldwide expansion, which has now spread to twenty countries. Having officially SOLD OUT within a week of going on sale and without announcing a single act it is clear the demand for electronic music culture is huge.



  1. Spotify on Stage

  2. We The Fest

  3. Sunny Side Up

  4. Ultra Beach Bali

  5. Djakarta Warehouse Project


For most of the 1990s, Indonesia was still under the authoritarian New Order regime, which ended after 33 years with the fall of the military dictator General Suharto in 1998. But despite censorship and bans, Indonesia's underground music scene thrived as a youth subculture, allowing itself to become an alternative medium for artists and activists to express rebellious voices against the regime.

Musician, anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, and assistant professor in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State UniversityJeremy Wallach just launched a book titled Musik Indonesia 1997-2001: Kebisingan & Keberagaman Aliran Lagu, written in Bahasa Indonesia.

It tells about the Indonesian music upheaval in the era of the New Order transition towards the Reformation Order. Jeremy was in touch with the music communities from punk, metal to dangdut in documenting part of the pop culture in Indonesia at that time.


With their heads covered with Islamic headscarves, the three members of the Indonesian band VoB (“Voice of Baceprot” or “Noisy Voice”) do not look like your typical heavy metal group.

Formed in 2014, the band of teenagers met at school in Indonesia’s most populous province of West Java, and use their music to combat the stereotype of Muslim women as submissive or voiceless.

The relationship between Islam and music is an ambiguous one. Often, Islam and music are perceived to be antagonistic, while for many Muslims music is an integral part of their religion. This relationship becomes even more difficult to define in Indonesia where many different forms of Islam exist, from fundamentalist to liberalist. There is not a common stance among Indonesian Muslims towards the role of music; some find it to be haram (forbidden by Islam) and regard music as a potential medium to distract the listener from worshipping God, while others find it halal (permitted by Islam) and feel that music can help bring a listener closer to God.

The surge of Muslim pop culture shows that religious obedience and modernity are certainly not contradictory in present day Indonesia. It also allows a wide range of Islamic popular music to emerge.


In the past fifteen to twenty years, Indonesia has been characterised byunprecedented transformations in both political and cultural life. One of those transformations was in the music industry which thrived as never before. As the authoritarian regime of president Suharto came to an end in 1998, new political leaders adopted a much more democratic system, allowing freedom of the press and political parties with new orientations that were largely suppressed before. A growing Indonesian middle class has a clearer view of what lies beyond the nation's boundaries through modern technologies, such as the Internet and mobile phones. The rise of pop culture went hand in hand with the expansion of national and local TV and radio stations, and the emergence of many new magazines. As a result of these changes, where political aspirations were free to be expressed and debates about social issues reached the public sphere, Indonesians may have reconsidered their place in society and expressed their identities in new ways.


There are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia. 95% of those are of Native Indonesian ancestry. The largest ethnic group in Indonesia is the Javanese who make up about 40% of the total population.


Muslim 87.2%, Christian 7%, Roman Catholic 2.9%, Hindu 1.7%, other 0.9% (includes Buddhist and Confucian), unspecified 0.4% (2010 est.)