What is Indie Music


All of us enjoy music. Thus music has become one of the biggest industries in the world. It is reported that the music sales around the globe is around 16 billion USD in year 2013. Most of the music sales are done through major commercial record labels such as Sony, Universal Records and Warner Music Group. Yet there is another category of music named as Independent Music or in short “indie music”. Indie music is defined as music recorded independently form major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries. This may include autonomous do it yourself approach for publishing and recording of music. In this brief article we discuss about indie music and some important events and people for indie music.


Independent music has a long history. It actually gained popularity in 1950′s after the second world war. At that time major record labels had so much power and some artists wanted to make independent music. Although these artists made independent music labels they were unable to gain much success due to the influences of major labels. Thus most of the independent labels were acquired by major labels.


But in United States independent music labels gathered to make an association to safeguard their future. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) was formed in 1950′s. This was an organization of 25 independent record labels. This organization is behind the Grammy awards. In 1970′s the National Association for Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD) was started.

Major Labels vs Independent Labels

There are differences of independent music and other major labels. Major labels have more resources and financial power. Thus they can promote their music easily. Thus major labels increase the chance of success for artists. However major labels does not offer freedom for artists. Artists are bound by various restrictions for their music. Sometimes they need to obtain permission from major record labels before starting on a project. But independent labels offer much more freedom for artists and artists can work on their own and make new kinds of music. Experimentation is highly encouraged in indie music. The contracts offered by major labels and independent labels are most of the time financially equal. Yet major labels will offer more advances to artists. Also the studio costs and royalty charges will be lower in major labels. There are collaborations between major and independent labels. Sometimes major labels will distribute independent label music through contracts. And sometimes major labels will acquire independent labels and operate the independent label seperately.

Some major artists and Indie music

Some artists starts their career with independent music. And after becoming an established artist they will switch to major labels. Also some artists will start using major labels and after becoming popular they will start their own record labels and become independent music makers. Adela, Arctic Monkeys and RadioHead are some examples of independent artists.

Indie music events

There are many independent music events in the world. Association for Independent Music (AIM) have separate awards for independent artists. “Chicago Independent Music Award” is a award ceremony for independent music. Also most of the radio channels in the world support independent music by offering to play those independent music in their channels.

YouTube and indie music

Recently indie music has become a hot topic due to some disagreement with YouTube. YouTube is going to remove music of independent labels unless they agree to YouTube terms and regulations This may result in removal of songs by Adela, Arctic Monkeys and some other popular artists. Many independent artists are claiming that terms offered by YouTube are too unfair for them. However this independent music may be available tin YouTube via other channels such as VEVO.

Importance of Independent Music

Independent music is very important for the future of the music industry. Most new trends of music has been started through independent music. Many new experiments are done through independent music. Even the major record labels are closely monitoring the independent music to identify new trends in music. Indie music supports many upcoming artists. Also indie music is not limited to a single genre. Several types of indie music genres are available. There are indie pop, indie rock and many more. It is reported that 28.4% of total music sales in 2013 are through independent labels. And this value is increasing year by year. Thus in the future independent music will rule the music industry. It will offer more freedom to artists and new kinds of music will become available.