Adrie Subono: A Rebellious Figure Turned Successful Promoter

His name came to the fore in the Indonesian music industry following his success with bringing noted international musicians to Indonesia to perform. Indeed, music promoter Adrie Nurmianto Subono deserves kudos for his keen instinct and hard work, which also promotes Indonesia.

Born in Jakarta on Jan. 11, 1954, Adrie started to work in 1978 when he joined Klockner, a German company. “I started as an ordinary staffer in the administration department,” said Adrie in his residence in Pondok Indah, South Jakarta. There he learned a lot even though he stayed with the company for only two years.

In 1980, Adrie, who is of the opinion that one does not need vast capital to become an entrepreneur, decided to be an entrepreneur. In Adrie’s view, a true entrepreneur is an individual that can invent or create something new. And Adrie’s notion has proven right. In a span of 20 years, the medium built man has tried his hand at various businesses, ranging from trading, telecommunications to shipping and many others. His involvement in various kinds of businesses helped hone his instinct in recognizing new business opportunities.

In 1994, for example, he set up a company that promoted world-famous musicians as in his eyes showbiz is a lucrative business. Four years later, he devoted himself fully to the entertainment industry under the flag of Java Musikindo. At that time, nobody seriously took up the profession of a promoter. “In those days there were perhaps two concerts a year. But now … well, you can see for yourself.” he said.

The success of a promoter, said Adrie, depends on a strong network. If someone works professionally, this network will form by itself. When all this is done well, a promoter will have a good reputation and good references. “We nurtured these references little by little and Java Musikindo became what it is today,” he said.

Java Musikindo has successfully organized in Jakarta over 60 concerts by top international musicians. Great artists that Java Musikindo has invited here include Saigon Kick, Foo Fighters, MR Big, Alanis Morissette, Westlife, The Corrs and Maksim, to name just a few.

According to Adrie, a promoter usually establishes contact with international artists through their agents. To contact these agents, a promoter can find their addresses on various websites, which gives information about artists and their agents. Then communication is established by e-mail. One such website is

There are just nine people on the core team of Java Musikindo. However, when a concert is organized, his company involves personnel from outside Java Musikindo on an outsourcing basis. If a rock concert is held outdoors, this may involve 300 to 400 people, depending on the size of the area. When a concert is held indoors, relatively fewer people are needed to handle it.

There are many norms to heed in the music promoter business. The first step that Java Musikindo usually takes when it organizes a concert, Adrie said, is to find a suitable building for the performance. If the artist is very popular, the building must be big enough to accommodate a large number of people.

As for the tickets, the number of tickets sold should not exceed the capacity of the building in order to prevent chaos or violence from occurring. If a building has a capacity of only 10,000 people, a promoter must not sell, for example, 15,000 tickets.

“The calculation is simple. To ensure safety, one square meter can hold four people. If one square meter is occupied by six people, the place will be overcrowded,” he said.

In this case, Adrie said, a promoter must be honest when reporting to security sources. “If, for example, a promoter plans to organize a concert with an expected audience of some 10,000, he should not tell security sources that the audience will be about 4,000 people,” Adrie said.

Security sources, he went on, deploy personnel in conformity with the request of the organizing committee. If the audience is bigger than that reported, security personnel will find it difficult to handle the situation. In addition, a promoter should have a reference hospital in case there are casualties during a concert. In this way, casualties can easily be handled in the reference hospital. In the field, a promoter must also prepare enough paramedics.

Few would realize that this successful promoter was quite rebellious and obstinate when he was young. His parents sent him to Germany to continue his studies after he dropped out of senior high school. “In Germany I went to school only to take up sports such as karate and the like,” he said, chuckling.

Adrie stayed in Germany from 1970 to 1978 and became acquainted with B.J. Habibie, who become his role model. B.J. Habibie had a strong influence on Adrie. “He educated me. Even though it was not in a school, the education I got from him was quite academic. He taught me everything through practice and I understood it well,” he said.

Life is not always plain sailing, though. There were occasions when he felt down. One such time was after the JW Marriott bombing, of which he was almost a victim as the room he was in was only 15 meters from where the bomb exploded. “Luckily I was in the bathroom, otherwise I could have been killed. When I emerged from the bathroom, I found everything destroyed. The concerts scheduled then were all canceled. I was shocked and traumatized. It took quite a long time to overcome it,” said Adrie, who is married to Chrisye, an ex-model. (Iwan Suci Jatmiko)

The Jakarta Post,  April 25, 2007

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