Not all musicians come up with record labels by signing up with major commercial recording companies. There are those who produce their music independently. They are called independent musicians. Their music is usually referred to as “Indie music”. The term indie is used in order to categorize certain types of music that cannot be affiliated with other genres. Hence, we have indie rock, indie pop, and the like. Other than their unique brand of music, indie musicians are also known for their unique fashion choice and use of accessories. In fact, there are stores dedicated to selling outfits worn only be indie artists.
What Makes Indie Music Special?
Despite the uniqueness of indie music, there are a lot of people who have already started following it. In fact, they appreciate indie music as it lets them see everything in a different perspective. Indie musicians are not bound by what recording companies wish to hear. They are also not forced to make their music sound commercial and fit into the mold of what a lot of people would appreciate. Indie musicians create music that is true to their spirit and their own brand. According to indie music followers, indie musicians can transform noise into something that is beautiful to the ears. They also have the ability to connect deeper with one’s emotions. Most of all, indie music provides “magic” that most other types of music could not give.
What Does it Take to be an Indie Musician?
It is not easy to choose the path of being an indie artist. It is a constant struggle. These musicians see to it that they make their look unique and individualized to the best of their ability. They also have to manage their own schedule to minimize expenses. Speaking of finances, this is the hardest part in being an indie artist. Since these musicians are not in contract with any major recording company, they have to spend for the release of their own album. They also have to arrange their own concerts. They need to build their own name. Indie musicians offer a different dish on the table. There is no assurance that people would like what they offer. They could even be hated for what they do. However, it is part of the risk in being into indie music.
A Closer Look at Indie Music Festivals
Despite the fact that indie music is just beginning to emerge, some bands already have a huge following. This is why music festivals are organized to celebrate indie music and give a bigger stage for indie musicians to perform. As they say, these music festivals are the “lifeblood of the indie scene”. In fact, around 15-20 indie concerts are organized in a month. Music festivals usually have a dozen or even hundreds of performers playing not just in one night, but could run for several days. Since indie musicians gather together, they divide overall costs. Therefore, tickets are not overpriced, time schedules are a lot more convenient, concert venue is more comfortable and there are no acoustic problems. Most of all, these festivals are usually done outdoors, so you can jam all you want with the performers.
Every indie music fan treasures indie music festivals. It is like seeing many Hollywood stars walking the red carpet during Oscars. These musicians might not have a huge name for themselves, but their brand is what these fans look forward to see. Therefore, when you go to an indie music festival, you must not be surprised to see thousands of followers screaming even if it is already very late. They don’t get tired seeing these performers since they don’t get the opportunity to do so that often.
To Remain Indie or Not?
Every now and then, talent managers and producers discover great talents. They also hunt good performers by attending concerts and even music festivals. This is where they discover indie musicians and offer them a major label contract. When given this opportunity, indie musicians are faced with a dilemma on whether they will accept it or not. By accepting the offer, they become indie musicians no more. They are already heading to become mainstream artists. On the plus side, this means that they will have financial capabilities to promote their music and let more people hear about what they do. It also means that they could be big stars just like many other bands. Of course, the possibility of financial gains could be limitless. However, it also means they will have less freedom. They could not decide on how they should present their band or on what type of music they are to create. In fact, even the song that they have already composed is still subject to the approval of the producers.
Despite the risks of being signed with a major company, there are some indie rock bands that have chosen to go mainstream. Some of these bands are Guillemots, Boy Kill Boy, Make Model, The Little Ones, Cajun Dance Party and The Cinematics. On the other hand, there are artists who started out as mainstream artists, but have decided to go indie. One of them is Bradley Joseph. He used to be signed with Narada/Virgin Records. He eventually requested to go indie. He said that he has already learned how the music business works. This is what most indie musicians lack. They are only concerned on how they can produce their own music. He said that as musicians, it is also important to know how to make money and how to make the most out of your talent. He believes that a successful independent artist with a very strong musical reputation can still be as huge a star as mainstream artists.
Taking the Challenge of Staying Indie
Becoming an indie artist is not easy. It is a constant struggle to remain relevant in the industry and at the same time, be able to create music that remains true to your soul. In fact, of the indie artists who have published their own album, only 12 of them have successfully penetrated the top spot in the US Billboard 200 Album Chart since 1991. Fighting all financial challenges is also another risk. However, for indie artists who are already happy to create their own music and be heard, this is the risk that they are willing to take.