We have been hearing about indie music all this time, and if there is an indie band coming to town, it creates a buzz and stirs the curiosity of many. 

Learn a little bit more about what indie music is all the hype. It might be fascinating to find which artists and songs in your playlist are indies.

What does indie mean?

When the term "indie" or "independent" term circulated sometime in the 1980s, it simply refers to an artist, track, or album produced and recorded without the help of funding from an established commercial record label. The term indie is the shortened form of independent music.

Some sources say indie traces from as far back as the 1920s. Since then, the definition has grown into several other genres, cultures, attitudes, and interpretations and evolved as years progressed, which turned out to be quite confusing and obscure. 

To some, an indie artist or band can be someone who plays at a local bar or a musician who has recently started writing songs and performing. Anyone who writes songs and remains "unsigned" by a record label may be called an indie musician. Many indie artists prefer to keep a small audience and perform in intimate events even when big record deals come by with promises of worldwide fame. They turn offers down to retain their artistic freedom and authenticity, which are paramount to an artist's principle.

Indie's history

Some of the iconic labels of the U.K. post-punk era in the early 1950s and 1960s were Rough Trade and Creation. Indie, as a defined musical genre, headlined from post-punk, new wave, and "alternative" music released in the late-1970s under U.K. independent labels. The genre started having its dedicated list in music charts. 

The Smiths, an English rock band with albums "Meat is Murder" (1984), and the "Queen is Dead" (1986), pretty much defined what indie music is. These were the quintessential representation of indie music in the 80s. According to Ranker, the band, with main man Morrissey, remains the #1 indie band to date.

Other indie bands and artists who made it big in the industry and became household names without major promotions are The Cure, Nirvana, Death Cab for Cutie, Foster the People, The Killers, and many more. 

R.E.M., branded as Beatles of indie rock, released their first single "Radio Free Europe" in 1981 under an independent record label Hib-Tone. The 4-man band eventually transitioned into a major label in the 1990s. They are joined by other acts that started with smaller independent record labels who finally signed up with the more established and illustrious brands but maintained their indie vibe and distinct sound. 

Contemporary music news, radio waves, Spotify, and other streaming platforms are no strangers to following indie artists who have an enormous fan-base. Among these artists who dominated the music charts worldwide with numerous hits are Lana del Ray, Billie Eilish, St. Vincent, Lorde, Chance The Rapper, Trash Talk, Thundercat, Girl In Red to name a few. Some of the most anticipated indie albums this year are from Fiona Apple, HAIM, The Strokes, The 1975, Phoebe Bridgers, Beach Bunny, and Tame Impala.