Heart and Soul of Indie Music
by Sandy Cosser

Traditionally indie music refers to artists not signed to any major record companies and whose music can be considered unconventional or non-conformist. This non-conformist attitude is accompanied by a philosophy of freedom and control. Artists manage their own careers and need to adopt a proactive approach to get their music heard. At its most basic level, indie music isn't a genre, it's a state of mind.

Indie music is like the scrawny guy on the beach, who kicks sand in the face of the big bully buried in the sand up to his neck. And then doesn't run away. It stares into the face of conformist society and dares it to make the first move. Indie music has a strong foundation of good, hard working artists, all of whom back each other up and support each other. It's this that gives Indie music the confidence to laugh in the face of society and flip it the bird as it swaggers slowly away.

As the years have passed, indie music has experienced a schism within its ranks. There are those artists who choose to walk the indie path, and there are those who are merely biding their time until they are discovered and signed to a major label. They have an indie sound, but they aim for fame and so lack the true indie spirit. An indie artist aspiring to sign a multi-million dollar contract summed up the differences between the two schools of thought quite, "the mainstream should become a good place for music." A true indie spirit would rather eat his or her guitar and swear off music forever than utter a statement like that.

The new indie is being used in fashion photographs for Vogue magazine. Bands that have global commercial hits such as Snow Patrol and Razorlight are called indie artists by all forms of media. It's a term that is now being used to represent bands that wear vintage clothes, have a carefully created "bed head" hairstyle and sing with an accentuated British accent. What used to be contemporary is now commercial.

The indie philosophy isn't about to take this kind of treatment lying down. Indie proponents' fierce fighting combined with a determined, and proactive approach, has led to the revolution of the digital download. MySpace has become a particularly valuable tool in drumming up publicity for newcomers. Internet forums and social media sites have proved to be excellent methods for bands to connect with fans and keep them aware of upcoming events and activities. Similarly indie supporters, who aren't necessarily in a band, are able to communicate with each other and form relationships based on shared interests.

A common theme among indie supporters is that the spirit of indie exists within the heart. They feel that the focus needs to come back to the music that is created and not on success at the end of some yellow brick road. Proponents of the philosophy believe that indie is about the community, about giving back to it and making it a better place. It's also about being satisfied with where you are at the present and not constantly regretting opportunities wasted or wishing for shinier opportunities in the future.

The form of distributing indie music is evolving. Indie music itself is in a constant state of flux, but the philosophy remains the same, and that is part of its ineffable charm. As the mainstream music around us pumps out monotonous beats and artists that look and sound the same, we can always count on indie music to be unique and exciting.

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