The term Indy Artist, coined in the ’80s by the media, is short for ‘Independent Artist’. It describes the band or singer-songwriter who records and releases their own records or albums released under independent labels.
Often times, the Indy Artist writes lyrics that are “rawer” than that of the mainstream.
The “Indy Artist” has come to describe a unique sound, different from the major labels. They often use sounds that are less polished or have a very different way of using their voice.
The Indy Artist frequently uses unconventional time signatures, more chord progressions, or more reverb than a mainstream artist.
Many times they also incorporate unique instruments, such as a washboard, a hurdy-gurdy, Buke and Case, singing saw, bagpipes, autoharp, and more.
Indy rock began to emerge in the ’80s as a genre of alternative rock. The genre includes Indy pop, lo-fi, as grunge, grunge, punk revival, noise pop, emo, sadcore, post-rock, math rock, and in the UK, Britpop. In the ’90s, some Indy Rock Artists broke into the mainstream music scene. Still, most retain an outsider, underground sound.
The Indy-folk genre, also born in the ’90s, was a combination of the acoustic guitar sound and folk or classic country music added to the more contemporary sound.
Indy Artist and the Internet
The early 2000s brought change to the music industry with the growing importance of the Internet. Indy Artists began to enjoy commercial success by writing, singing, producing, and releasing their own original songs over the Internet. For example, many Indy Artists acquired large fan-bases or superfans. The Indy Artist will have more opportunities as technology expands.
Music City the place for Indy Artist
Nashville, TN, known as Music City, is receiving an influx of Indy Artists. Some hope of building a traditional music career, looking for fame and fortune. Some Indy Artists just want their music heard.
The diversity among the singers and songwriters is more varied now than ever before. There are some very talented artists in the Nashville music scene. But there are also a lot of mediocre acts. Most artists are hoping to be signed by the music moguls.
You don’t have to be the most talented to be noticed. But, you do have to be able to carry a tune, or write a good song, or play an instrument well.
Online Music Stores
In the last few years, online music stores have exploded onto the internet music scene. Companies such as CD Baby, iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud, ReverbNation are giving artists a real chance to be heard. This gives the Indy Artist a chance to make a substantial income from their music.
CD Baby will be hosting the “DIY Musician Conference” in Nashville in August 2018. For four days, Music City will be the hub for the Indy Artist, a different type of musician, the Do It Yourself Musician.
Indy Artists from varied backgrounds with different styles will fill the streets of Music City. This conference is unique in that it is dedicated to musicians of any and all genres who share a common approach to marketing their original music.
“Independent musicians and small boutique labels are one of the fastest-growing segments of the market, and they share a lot of concerns,” explains CD Baby’s Kevin Breuner. “No matter what kind of music you make, no matter where you are in your career, you need similar advice and support, and we program the conference in direct response to the questions and concerns we hear from musicians.”