Using the Term "Indie"…Counter-Productive?

Use of the Term Peter left excellent feedback in my last post below regarding my abundant use of the term “indie” in GarageSpin:

“You are trying to talk to us, normal people struggling in the music business. And on that note of struggling maybe being “indie” as in “independent” actually *isn’t* what it’s all about these days. Maybe we should be finding new ways to *depend* on each other so we can stop being bitches (In the prison inmate sense) and start being an actual economic force (Bitmunk?). Please drop the “indie” pretension.” (full comment here)
When I started this blog, I wanted to write from the trenches, to immediately find and interact with fellow music enthusiasts that were interested in the process of writing, recording, and/or promoting music independently of record labels using the latest tools available. I’ve used “indie” to communicate a more general, entrepreneurial independence of action relating to one’s musical tastes and practices. Ok, that being said, I’m not 100% positive I consciously thought about it that much. Mostly, I’ve been trying to make my subject focus clear to first-time visitors; perhaps I’ll try to curb that somewhat. However, Peter raised another important issue. Perhaps terms such as “indie” and “independent” are inappropriate on a site attempting to address and create a community. Perhaps the message of “independence” that we deliver to each other by claiming to be “indie” hampers our ability to collaborate and support each other? Are we erecting creative silos by isolating ourselves into independent entities that are less powerful than the ‘whole’? And do I really use the term all that much? 😉 I’m still thinking about this, and would love to hear your thoughts. Peter, thanks for your feedback, it’s genuinely appreciated. Don’t stop. ]]>






4 responses to “Using the Term "Indie"…Counter-Productive?”

  1. Jenny Avatar

    I thought the term “indie” wasn’t meant, as in, “independent from each other,” i.e. we can’t have a community. We can still totally depend on each other and still use the term “indie”. I thought it just meant, in the colloquial use, “not main stream.”

    I am still in the very early stages of learning about the business, but I wasn’t offended or insulted by the term “indie” at all (I actually hadn’t even noticed that you used it too much– maybe once every other post or so).

    Although…I am curious to hear what new word could replace that in order to foster more of a community amongst the musicians formally known as “indies”…

  2. Eric Goetz Avatar

    Yeah, the term "indie" has been bugging me for awhile. The term that really gets me going is "Do It Yourself". Instead of being out there, interacting with others, we're all in our basements recording music that no one else will hear.

    I think we need to focus on building community, rather than encouraging independence. Ultimately it will make our art better.

    The other problem about the term, is that it's imprecise. If I work a day job, and I use some of that money to hire a producer, work in a pro studio, and hire a radio promoter, does that mean I'm not an "indie" artist? What if my rich uncle pays for it all? Is Ani Defranco an indie artist? She's never had a record deal, but her own label is part of the RIAA.

    I personally would love to see that term dropped, but take care it doesn't ruin the effectiveness of your google Adsense adds.

  3. mike Avatar

    Good points. Indie has been used to mean “unsigned”, “grunge”, “solo”, “independent”, “non-commercial”, “rock genre” …etc. Perhaps too many artists have adapted the term to fit their current stage of artistic development.

    We’re al interested in the process of creating music, the business of selling music, and/or the joy of listening to music. But that doesn’t yield any kind of convenient label.

    So much for getting any useful ads out of Google. 😉 (I’ll probably remove those ads at some point, when I get around to it…the next “redesign” of GarageSpin won’t be for some time, though).

    But I do believe in community building, and hope this blog is helping to move one step further in that direction. Thank you for joining! (GarageSpin T-Shirts available soon! …Just kidding.)

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