Indie Rock Music

Indie Rock music is a type of alternative rock that found its origin in Britain in the 1980’s. It has created numerous incredibly popular acts, including the Britpop phenomena. It exploded in popularity once again during the boom caused by the internet, and continues to be a driving force in new and original talent to this day.


Indie rock is an incredibly wide genre, because the term “indie rock” as an umbrella isn’t really related to the music itself. “Indie” refers to independent. With grunge and the post-hair-metal/glam-rock music scene of the 90’s, bands were differentiated based on whether they belonged to a major label or whether they didn’t. Independent music was the latter, and was comprised of bands that had a counter-culture ethic, the “indie” label being seen as a rejection of mass consumer driven music.

For instance, Britpop is arguably the same musical genre as a lot of indie rock artists, but because most bands, such as Blur, Oasis and the like, belonged to record labels and had mass media coverage, they would not be considered indie. This is true despite them taking the same two guitarists, one bassist and one drummer combination that was the benchmark for a rock band since The Beatles in the 60’s.

Because of indie rock’s lack of emphasis on a particular musical tradition, the genre is more an umbrella term for a range of different genres – punk, post-punk, psychedelic rock and alternative rock. Interestingly, alternative rock and indie rock were used interchangeably until the 1990’s.

List of Notable Acts

From the 1980’s: Primal Scream, The Pastels, The Wedding Present, Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses.

From the 1990’s: Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Hole, and Alice in Chains, Flying Saucer Attack, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Quickspace, Arcade Fire, Belle & Sebastian and Rufus Wainwright.

From the 2000’s: The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Editors,[57] The Fratellis, Placebo, Razorlight, Kaiser Chiefs and The Kooks.


Indie rock originated in the United Kingdom in the 1980’s. It tended to be a smaller offshoot of the punk, and later post-punk movements. As such, it tended to have a high political influence – which tended to be a strange chimera of both libertarian philosophy (the Anarchy in the UK style) and a communist/socialist philosophy (a remnant , or revitalization of the more hippy ideology of the 1960’s.) The two philosophies seemed to both be caused by the anti-consumerist/corporate message that being part of, or a fan of, an independent musician entailed.

Current State

During the late 90’s and the first decade of the 21st Century, music was changed to an almost unrecognizable market. The internet meant that distribution, production and marketing of the music landscape changed considerably. This has had lasting effects.
Firstly, the production of music changed as companies began to build “home studio equipment” which would mean that the business of starting both a music act and a music label became easier than ever. Everything from Electronic Dance Music to Rock music became create-able by people in their homes – as opposed to needing to rely on the budget or equipment of large scale producers and record labels.

Secondly, the advent of the mp3 player, music sharing sites and ultimately iTunes and Google’s search engine meant that people didn’t have to rely on the physical shipment of CD’s or DVD’s to a physical location. For the indie artist, this opened up huge new markets. For instance, the cost for a UK indie rock artist to ship to fans in America would have been cost-prohibitive in the 90’s. Ten years later, there were no costs to doing this. Without the distribution of a massive label, artists could sell their products directly to their customers.

Thirdly, the proliferation of search engines and multi-media sites has meant that independent artists can get their music in front of a global audience for a very limited budget – instead of needing a major label to pay for airtime on the radio or music video channels, the artists could now both sell their music (see above paragraph) and market it through social media, YouTube and other channels. The Arctic Monkeys found global popularity due to this ability.

Future Of Indie Rock

Indie rock has a bright future. The proliferation of technology at increasingly cheaper rates means that it is easier than ever for an indie rock outfit to create and distribute music. However, whether the continued stream of new acts will have a wider effect on the profitability of the genre remains unknown. However, current indie rock artists are thriving, and there are more cross-over acts in terms of genre than ever before. Fusions with electronic dance music/electronica, even dubstep, mean that the genre is undergoing a renaissance.

It is also worth noting that – due to indie rock not having the marketing of big labels – the future of indie rock itself is tied up with future developments in social media. Some pundits are expecting a music platform similar to Instagram (for photos) to arise in the near future. This will change the landscape for indie rock, as well as independent music, in general should it come to pass.

In terms of the roles of record labels – it seems that there are a lot of hybrid labels that are growing in popularity; instead of providing a mass service like major labels do – where they pay for the recording, own the rights to all the records and handle the tours and merchandising of their acts – these new hybrid labels will specialize in one thing. That might be promotion, or it might be the recording and production, or it might be that a band hires them to do social media promotion. In these cases, the indie rock artists have a lot more control over the end product, and work with labels as marketing partners as opposed to financial backers and ultimately the controllers of the end musical product. This is particularly important for the indie rock genre, which places artistic integrity above commercial intent, and has done since its inception. Check out all the ways you can watch and hear this music with the lasted advances in television technology at