The Evolution of Indie Music.
Independent music or Indie music is music produced by an individual, a group or a commercial record label independently, where the recording and publishing is done by the individual, the group or the brand at a smaller and less commercially complicated level. Historically (in the 1960s), Indie music used to be defined as something that was not published by the big four players in music publishing, namely Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI. However, growing and being noticed without the support of a label, in times when there was no internet, was difficult and therefore, most Indie bands of those days went unnoticed. Sometimes, local bands would come together to form a group of performers, each one different from the other. They even managed to become quite famous locally and are remembered for the ‘different’ sound of their music and beats.
The mavericks with little or no knowledge about business, turned the music industry on its head with their independent records in 70s and 80s. Indie bands started gaining listeners through labels. They were able to reach out to a wider range of listeners and create a place for themselves in the world of music. While pop and rock continued to rule the hearts of listeners, Indie also started getting recognition. It’s main fan following comprised of people who wanted to listen to something more creative, experimental and original. Indie music got mainstream attention when small bands started performing locally. While the world could think only of international celebrities singing and dancing on radio and TV, it meant so much more to see someone they went to school with, sing for a band, a neighbour’s son play drums or a relative perform live to an audience. The feeling of having personally known them would be overwhelming and attracted personal attention from fans.
In my blog about “Indie Music in The Computer Age“, I have talked about how, with the beginning of the web, the ideas experienced momentous changes. Today web permits artists to acquaint their music with a conceivably large group of audience easily without essentially affiliating with any record label. Customized sites help artists associate all the more to their fans. Social media groups have turned into a universal system of music-audience members. Making music accessible to download on the web makes marketing as simple as clicking a button.
In spite of this, 90s was by far the best phase for Indie music. When indie artists started to collaborate with producers and directors to make and release videos of their songs and publish an album, the craze for Indie music rose to a whole new level. The small time actors and models who acted in those videos, made the audience drool over their incredibly sexy looks and performances. Some of them are famous stars of today. Such labels kept challenging the majors on the album charts during this period. The videos had a captivating story running on the screen with a song playing in the background, mostly like a mini love story and would make such an impact on the audience that some numbers continue to be our favorites even today; not just because of the music, but because of the story associated with them.
The small labels were owned and run by an individual or individuals with a single passion, music. These indie artists did not care about the conventions of the record industry and followed a very untutored approach towards business, yet were able to sustain their position in the mainstream and captivated the imagination of anyone with a passing interest in music.
Since then, ‘indie’ has been used to suggest anything in life which is dream-like and can be enacted on the stage of ‘Cindrella’. In music, Indie serves as a modifier, an innovative idea, a different perspective towards our contemporary rock and jazz. This gave producers and bands the idea to reconfigure the past by connecting the highlights of their already hit albums and creating new, exploratory music in different genres, which is now called the indie folk, indie rock and indie pop, to name a few. However much the majors wanted to call Indies amateurish and dismiss them, they kept rising higher on the charts and continued to occupy the coveted top positions. Today, it has evolved to a level where most bands have undergone several trainings, comprise of members qualified in related subjects like music journalism and music business. They are trained to trust their instinct and have successfully lead to industry standardization, being a part of the band.
Indie music brings out the essence of an artist’s thought and individuality and continues to touch hearts of listeners with its simplicity and closeness to real life situations. Some songs sound relevant even today, after decades of their release.
If you have read upto this point, do leave your comments to share your opinion and experiences.