Indie Music Out of the Closet
by Sandy Cosser

Indie music is well known for its low profile and refusal to conform to current trends. The artists take pride in their individuality and their ability to survive in a cutthroat industry without compromising on their beliefs. But even the most dogged and persistent artists need a bit of help and luck in breaking into the scene and establishing indie credibility.

Showcase events are an ideal way for artists to perform to a wide audience, gain experience, and start building reputations on the indie scene. The Independent Music World Series is one of the largest showcase events for indie music in the US. Tony van Veen, the vice president of sales and marketing for one of the major sponsors, says that indie artists play a vital role in keeping the music industry energised and thriving.

IMWS insists that the showcase isn't a popularity contest, but a search to discover and reward genuine talent. Despite its reputation as an indie showcase, artists from all genres are welcome to enter. The panel of judges consist of 12 music industry professionals. Artists are judged on their song writing abilities, originality, musical performance, vocal and lead instrument performance, as well as their "overall vibe."

Other showcase events include the Palais de Festivals held at Cannes, France. The event consists of talent showcases, a conference track and networking events. The showcases are meant to serve as a platform for emerging artists and to teach artists and their managers innovative promotion techniques. All those involved in bringing music to the public's attention, such as media programmers and record company representatives, attend to find new trends and sounds.

The Mid-Atlantic Music Conference in Charlotte, NC is a music conference that has been growing in popularity and credibility since its inception. Artists from all genres have to qualify to win one of thirty coveted slots for the final performance, which takes place in the Halton Theatre. Talent scouts and music executives who attend the conference give it excellent reviews and use the opportunity to sign up and coming artists to their labels.

Music industry enthusiasts John Phillips and Bryan Banks launched the Steamtown Music Showcase in September 2006. Eastern Pennsylvanian bands use the showcase to demonstrate their original music and song writing capabilities. The event is held in a different town every year. This year that honour goes to downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Showcase events are vital in giving emerging artists a leg-up in the music industry. It gives them the opportunity to gain stage performance experience. They may also catch the eye of a music executive or label producer looking for the next big thing in Indie sound. As an artist, what do you have to lose, weighed against what you stand to gain?

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Sandra wrote this article for the online marketers Indy Music News indie music news one of the leading suppliers of news, trends and upcoming events in the indie news industry.