American Youtube musician breaks silence over 100-day detention in Jakarta

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Someone figured they could shake down the rich american rock stars, then when they realized they didn’t have loads of cash, they lost interest in them. Already a country on my “probably not worth the bother” list, but this confirms it.


And Indonesia is perfectly fine with foreigners departing by sea without any documentation at all in non-seaworthy boats


Better hed for this post:

“The 100 days of living dangerously”


What shitty promoters.

We will never know. But I lean towards 3rd-world bureaucracy and authoritarianism. 3 months is not a long time from the perspective of the bureaucrats who don’t give a damn about the pressure it puts on the accused. If the government had really wanted to put the screws to them, they would have spent that time waiting in a jail. The bureaucrats made their point and the people got to go home physically unscathed.

Don’t pass on Indonesia. Bali is fantastic, jakarta is a modern metropolis and the country itself is full of beauty.

I wish she had named the promoters. They deserve to have the consequences on their public record,


I’m sure the courts will name them, in time.

I don’t know what is going on here. I mean, I guess in the, people working illegally is just expected to happen. We don’t people working under the table and live here, much less a band that is supposed to be there and then leave in a few days.

Is immigration and visas THAT big of a deal in Indonesia? Or were they targeted for other reasons?

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Just don’t go there.

[in all fairness I’ve been boozing]

It seems to me this is a lot like filing a fraudulent tax return prepared by someone else. At the end of the day it’s your name on it, you’re responsible. Indonesia failed in that they let them into the country without a work visa. Lots of bands from Europe (and probably Canada too) have problems touring in the states due to our own stupid and effectively unaccountable bureaucracy.

It does suck for them that they got a POS promoter. However, at the end of the day they are the ones that broke the law and in most places ignorance of the law is no defense. I sincerely hope they can recoup all actual expenses and unrealized profits from the promoter as well as any costs associated with making that recovery. Odds are though that the promoter was either local to Indonesia or another Asian country with a courts system that will will make it difficult and/or prohibitively expensive to see this happen.

Sucks for the band, but I was expecting to read about a 100 day jail stint and I think that 100 days of limbo in a hotel is infinitely better, especially in light of the fact that they knew they needed the visa and hadn’t made absolutely sure it was in hand before performing the work (and breaking the law).


Yeah sure - just because it happened abroad it has to be a shake-down. Take a good look at the US justice system, not exactly a shining example in comparison (prison population, secret courts, police brutality).

Our names are on the documents, so they are holding us accountable.

What a surprise. Outlandish concept. You sign it - you are responsible. Wonder how it works in the US.

they inform me, that is punishable by a $35,000 fine per person and 5 years in prison

Good thing this didn’t happen in the US then:

In the United States, visa fraud can be prosecuted under several statutes, including;

18 USC 1546 Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits, and Other Documents
18 USC 1001 False Statements or Entries Generally
18 USC 1028 Fraud in Connection with Identification Documents

It is a Federal Offence subject to harsh sentencing, though mitigating factors are often taken into account in the case of potential immigrants. The maximum penalties faced by fraudsters are recounted below.

10 years for a first offense not tied to terrorism or drug trafficking
15 years for fraud with other criminal links
20 years for fraud related to drug trafficking
25 years for fraud related to international terrorism

From wikipedia


Oh, when is it not about the US?

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To be fair, that’s what they were paying the promoter for. If you’re going on a multi-nation tour there’s a limit to how much of the work you can do yourself, and how much checking you can do beyond asking the guys you’ve hired to take care of that stuff whether they’re sure it’s okay.

And, presumably, the promoters must have done the specific job of getting visas for foreign musicians visiting Indonesia before, which raises the question of how they managed to get it wrong in this particular case.

This is not to say that the band doesn’t bear ultimate responsibility, but just to point out that that doesn’t mean that the promoter (or the Indonesian bureaucrats, for that matter) don’t have a healthy portion of responsibility themselves.

Also, while a hotel lobby is undoubtably better than a Jakarta jail cell, it’s not exactly freedom if you can’t leave the country, can’t leave the city, and can’t even leave the hotel for fear that the moment you take your eye off the ball the bureaucrats will take that as an excuse to do something awful to you, in the manner of bureaucracies everywhere. (Not to mention, can’t even earn any money to pay your ever-increasing hotel bill.)


In all of this there remains the factor of petty little men with a job title that gives them some kind of power over other people. Common sense or decency have no chance with this sort of person…they have their power and all shall pay heed to them. Sadly its a part of the human condition. Ahh well.

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What is a Youtube musician? Aren’t people just musicians, and they post their stuff on Youtube?


" I explain that our tour promoters had ensured us we did have the correct visas, and in the event that was not true, our contract with them clearly states it was their responsibility to secure the visas–not ours."

With no disrespect the mess she was in, it is your legal* responsibility individually to make sure you have the proper visas of any sort. What you may have in a contract with someone carries no weight with a government dealing with what, to them, is an illegal situation.

Just like your tax preparer isn’t going to be the one going to jail if there’s serious problems.You cannot shift or transfer the legal burden required in this stuff. I won;'t be surprised if she can’t even get a suit going over this as I do not think this is something that can be contractually enforced. (I am not a lawyer, however.)

I believe you will find it is well-settled law that no tour guide, travel company, promoter etc is liable to Indonesia for visas, travel permits etc. If that trick worked, we’d be turning a lot of Mexicans loose at the border since they’d all be claimning their “coyote” assured them they had a work permit too.

Anyone who trusts someone else’s word that “it’s all taken care of” when visiting parts of the world like this, often finds out the hard way and may end \up int he Lawrence of Arabia suite in the local hoosegow accordingly.

Whether you’re a famous musician or a grape picker won’'t matter.and it’s very “first world” arrogant to assume it should.

Not familiar with this act – but when I think “YouTube musician,” I think nauseatingly twee, hyper-caucasian, twee hipster shit.

Am I close?

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It’s a class of musicians who use Youtube as their primary marketing platform.

They play a lot of covers to get people interested and Youtube has negotiated a deal with a lot of rights holder bodies that allow Youtube musicians to create cover videos without jumping through the usual hoops (without which it would be like 50% more hoops because you are “synchronizing” a video).

It’s a specific and different enough strategy that it’s worth having a name for. It also explains why an American musician most of us haven’t heard of ended up in this situation. Famous Youtube musicians end up with fan bases all across the globe. It opens opportunities for global tours that stumping at local venues wouldn’t.

I’m sure it’s easier for white folks with a hipster gimmick but, no, not really.


The thing is, IIRC, at least in Bali you literally pay your visa fees as you go through the airport, in cash. If you don’t pay, they will not let you out and will likely send you back there and then. Is it different in Jakarta? I don’t know.

My very simple theory is that the tour promoter thought they were not a major act, and basically got them in on a cheap tourist visa, scamming both the band and the State and counting on local police not wising up or simply not caring. The police figured it out and decided to make a point – to the promoter, of course; the band was just collateral damage. A judge couldn’t find them guilty if the actual documents were in order – Indonesia has many problems but official paper is official paper, and the final plea to triple-check your visa basically admits things weren’t in order.

Whether this could have been avoided by paying the right cop, we’ll likely never know; but considering the final verdict, I’d be tempted to give police the benefit of the doubt in this case (something very rare for me, tbh).

So yeah, check your visas, but also check your promoters. The world is full of sharks.

The first image that popped into my mind was a trombonist, since trombones are made of metal tubes with U-shaped bends in them. That’s not the same thing though, I guess.