Indie Rising

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Photo by Charlotte May on

By: Andrea Lara

All the cliché chatter about record labels and the popularity of music are fading away and new things are rising. We are at a point in time where less people will say that we are peculiar for the music that we like or that the music itself is weird because it is being discovered more and more. From artist spotlights to viral TikTok videos presenting artists such as Sales, indie music is making its way through the ears of more than just your average fan. It is moving up in the features and several things play into this. 

First off, it is being recognized that independent musicians are the fastest growing sector of the recorded music business. According to an article on Music Business Worldwide, eight times more music by volume was uploaded by DIY or indie artists to Spotify in 2020 than what was released by the three major record companies. These three companies include Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. This increase does of course have some to do with this past year with the pandemic. The quarantine limited many norms that we still are not completely back to unfortunately, but it also was used as good time for creativity and production. With indie artists having the freedom that they do, their music process can be done quicker than for artists on labels. Record label artists remain under the control of corporate organizations which call the shots and can nitpick at just about anything. Music that seems done to the composer may be half finished work for the label. With more than one person in control of the action, the process could be delayed for various reasons. The independence of an indie band allows for more control over their careers overall. Indie artists can choose where their path will lead and how exactly that might be. This includes their specific style of music and albums. 

Secondly, the technological conveniences of today’s world are what make music and artists more accessible. Social media, blogs, and websites such as ours, all allow communication between artists and fans. The interaction between the two works to promote all the new music and the bands themselves. Spotify is another example of this by the way the app works. It creates playlists and radio stations with similar music and bands and in doing so, exposes the listeners to even more artists. The algorithm that holds Spotify together is beneficial for indie artists because it gives their music the opportunity to be mixed in with similar artists and in some cases, bigger artists. Being mixed in with successful bands draws people’s attention in until they want to look into even more of the music. This process is part of how I became a fan myself. I was already listening to specific bands, but the exploration of more artists really pulled me in and strengthened the passion that I have for it as I am sure many other people feel.   

As we can see, the business is changing. While indie was first seen back in the 70’s and 80’s, it has done nothing but increase and evolve from there.  HoustonPress mentions, some of the bands that started it all include Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Pixies, and later on, The Smiths. These bands released music with an edge to it. A grunge style with lots of electric or bass guitar and killer vocals, sound that shaped many artists even today. From slow vibes to pumped up beats, indie music grew into bands like Vampire Weekend, Modest Mouse, Peach Pit and so many more. These musicians go against the mainstream and make new reputations for themselves. Each artist’s uniqueness is brightly viewed through their music. Being independent in the music business allows creativity without a limit. It could be a little bizarre with different and unfamiliar beats or rock mixed with electronic music. Whatever the case may be, us indie fans live for it. 

The artists are able to express themselves independently while in doing so, also connect with the audience’s creativity until it grows into something even greater. The inspiration that is reflecting off of it is another way that pulls in more fans and music streams. 

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