• In popular music, indie music (from independent) is any of a number of genres, scenes, subcultures and stylistic and cultural attributes, characterised by (real or perceived) independence from commercial pop music and mainstream culture and an autonomous, do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. The term "Indie" is often confused with a sound that a musician presents when it is in fact the way that sound is presented or made. "Indie" often refers to an artist or band that is not part of the mainstream culture and/or making music outside its influence. Though the sound of these bands may differ greatly, the "Indie" definition comes from the do-it-yourself attitude and ability to work outside large corporations. There are a number of cultural and philosophical traits which could be more useful in pinpointing what "indie" is about than specific musical styles or commercial ownership. Indie artists are concerned more with self-expression than commercial considerations (though, again, this is a stance that is affected by many artists, including hugely commercially successful ones). A do-it-yourself sensibility, which originated with punk in the 1970s, is often associated with indie, with people in the scene being involved in bands, labels, nights and zines. Indie often has an internationalist outlook, which stems from a sense of solidarity with other fans, bands and labels in other countries who share one's particular sensibilities; small indie labels will often distribute records for similar labels from abroad, and indie bands will often go on self-funded tours of other cities and countries, where those in the local indie scenes will invariably help organise gigs and often provide accommodation and other support. There are several subcategories indie music is often grouped broadly into. Indie rock and indie pop are the most common ones. The difference between these is difficult to pick up from the instrumentation or sound, as both genres include distorted guitar-based music based on pop-song conventions. If anything, the key distinction comes not from instrumentation or structure but from how strictly they follow cultural constructions of rockist "authenticity".
  • Indie-pop is characterized often by jangly, upbeat rhythms and vocals, synthesized instrumentation and/or vocals, and underlying, or sometimes obvious, electronica-influenced style. Keyboards often play a large role in indie-pop outfits' music. Some indie-pop bands/artists include: Hot Hot Heat, Postal Service, Teenage Fanclub, Belle and Sebastian, Broken Social Scene, Architecture in Helsinki, The Decemberists, The Go! Team, Magnetic Fields, Neutral Milk Hotel, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Shins, The Unicorns, Stars, and Starflyer 59. Just to mention a slim few, of course.
  • To add to xcelix's answer, the light, upbeat, jangly sound of indie pop is tied to a lot of '60s influence. So rather than the teenybopper dance music that comes to my mind when I hear "pop," imagine pop in the style of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Monkees...
  • I'd say it has to be somewhat independant from the mainstream like big labels, but also like "creatively independant," like not studio made music. xcelix described the sound good, and the sound varies a lot between different bands. I'd say the moods the music makes is cheery, exciting, dreamy, or melancholy. Some bands can sound kind of standard and some are downright weird and sound like nothing you've ever heard before.
  • They're tied to independent labels.

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