Friday, 16 August 2013

A Twitter Hashtag Is All Indonesian Fans Need to Get Them to Metallica

Need money for the concert? Marcel Thee finds the social media movement for you !!!
Metallica is one of the most popular bands in the world, and Demi Metallica is helping Indonesian fans get to their Jakarta show on Aug. 25. (EPA Photo/Marcelo Sayao)

Metallica is one of the most popular bands in the world, and Demi Metallica is helping Indonesian fans get to their Jakarta show on Aug. 25. (EPA Photo/Marcelo Sayao)
What sacrifices would you make to see your favorite band? As the Internet movement “Demi Metallica,” or “For [the love of] Metallica” shows, if that band is Metallica, you’d be willing to do almost anything.
For many, music was, and perhaps still is, a form of salvation; a ready companion whose sounds track a wide range of emotions fitting different needs. When it’s right, music can be sad, happy, angry, disappointed, dejected or celebratory along with you — it can be anything its listener needs it to be.
It is no surprise that, as one of the biggest bands in the world, Metallica has legions who feel exactly this way about the band. This is, after all, a band that has sold more than 100 million records since forming in the early 1980s, earned countless accolades, had movies made about it (including one coming soon to IMAX theaters) and generally remained relevant through changes in the musical landscape.
People of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds make up Metallica’s following — sharing the same undying passion. Indonesian Metallica fans are no exception, playing a major part of what is sometimes dubbed the Metal Militia.
Judging from its dramatic tag, “Demi Metallica” may be a novel movement, triggered by confirmation of the band’s visit in August. But it also shows just how far-reaching the band’s brand of heavy metal is. Metallica’s music seems to connect with those even in non-English speaking countries.
Metallica’s last show in Indonesia was at the peak of its commercial popularity in 1993, two years after the release of the multimillion selling self-titled album (often referred to as the “Black Album” due to the palette of its cover sleeve).
At the time, it was one of the biggest shows that the country has ever hosted, and it ended with bang. The riot that ensued — due to many people trying to get in for free — left trails of burning cars and destroyed public properties, not to mention uncounted physical injuries from the fight between rioters and the police. Suffice to say, the band has not returned since.
Now that it is, fans are making damn sure they have enough money in their pockets to secure a ticket. And if they don’t then “Demi Metallica” is here to help.
It began as a hashtag on Twitter, with people posting things they wanted to sell to fund those tickets. Soon, the hashtag became an account, and the topic began trending in Twitter.
Adityo Pratomo was just another fan enthusiastic about Metallica’s impending visit. When he setup the Demi Metallica Twitter account, little did he know how strong the response to his idea would be.
“It was one day before the official announcement of the concerts but the rumors were going strong. I was on a flight to Yogyakarta from Jakarta and I had just sold a computer soundcard to my friend. It hit me that I couldn’t be the only person in the country who was starting to sell some of their belongings for the concert,” Adityo explained.
He planned on setting up a website for Demi Metallica upon his arrival but quickly dismissed the idea in favor of the wide appeal of social media instead.
Guitarist Kirk Hammett from Metallica, one of the most popular bands in the world. (EPA Photo/Marcelo Sayao)

Guitarist Kirk Hammett from Metallica, one of the most popular bands in the world. (EPA Photo/Marcelo Sayao)
While waiting for his luggage at the airport, Adityo took a few minutes to set up @demimetallica, messaging some of his friends — popular hard rock musicians — to help him spread the word about the account. Soon enough the account collected more than 1,000 followers, with even more tagging the account with goods they hoped to sell.
A simple search for “#demimetallica” yields a surprising number of results. For sale is a range of personal items from books, vintage albums, musical instruments big and small, wardrobes, smartphones, art pieces and more.
“This is something more than mere buying and selling. Every item that is sold here has a story behind it. There is a sense of empathy between the buyers as fellow Metallica fans,” Adityo said.
Not surprisingly, some people took advantage of the account’s popularity to market items without any plans of buying concert tickets.
“But the true fans are always able to identify those imposters, and report them to us,” Adityo said, explaining it as an example of the empathy between Indonesian fans.
“There have also been a lot of cynics who have asked me why wasn’t this type of movement conducted when other bands came here? But I’m OK with that. Not everybody understands how big Metallica actually is. There are people who will have to travel from other parts of the country to Jakarta and stay at accommodation here. That means money doesn’t it?”
Adityo also pointed to the rather sudden announcement of the concert, which meant many fans had to “hastily rearrange their financial plans for the next few months.”
As the account’s manager, Adityo has had a front row seat in seeing what kind of unusual items have gone on sale.
“There have been artists who have sold their personal illustrations, as well as one person who sold off a kris [a traditional Indonesian knife believed to contain spirits and energies]. That made me laugh out loud.”
Rolling Stone Indonesia website executive editor Wendi Putranto has been promoting the movement through his much-followed twitter account. “I’ve seen everything sold from houses to Anton LaVey’s ‘Satanic Bible’!” he laughs.
Some people also offered to sell their bodies for tickets — in jest, Adityo assumed. “We get a few like that everyday.”
For Arian 13 , the lead singer of the popular rock act Seringai who consistently promoted Demi Metallica through his Twitter account of more than 43,000 followers, Metallica’s upcoming concert is worth selling things off for because “they are the U2 of metal.”
“What happened here in 1993 has become something of ‘classic’ story, for better or worse, so it makes sense that now everybody wants to see them play, young and old.”
An ardent supporter of the local music scene, Arian felt it was important to support the movement because of how often he has heard “I could not go to the concert because I didn’t have time to save up” used as an excuse by his fellow music fanatics.
Arian saw Metallica in concert a few months ago in Perth and is planning to attend the Malaysian leg of the tour, four days before the band plays in Jakarta. What he saw in Perth did everything to convince him in urging Indonesian fans to not miss out.
“It was the best metal concert I’ve been to — Big screens and pyrotechnics plus lifelike bombs. For real!”