FOR FUN AND GAMES, GO TO: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_record_labels
So. What is Indie? What is not Indie? Do I like Indie, or not?
These are all stupid questions that stupid people ask.
Just kidding. These are very valid, wonderful questions to ask if you feel uneasy about entering the Independent Music Forum here on Gaia! Before I let you ask questions, let me explain exactly what Indie is NOT.
The world music market is the global market for the commercial trade of music. As of 2006, this market is dominated by the "Big Four record labels": Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group, and Warner Music Group. These companies control around 70% of the world music market and around 85% of the United States music market...
The Indie Forum is a place to discuss music not on the above labels or subsidiaries of said labels.
* Universal Music Group ($7 billion revenue), which includes A&M, Decca/London, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen, Interscope, Island Def Jam, Motown, Philips, Rampagge, Universal, and others;
* Sony BMG Music Entertainment ($5 billion), which includes: Arista, (American) Columbia, Epic, J, Jive, LaFace, Ravenous, RCA and others;
* EMI Group ($4 billion), which includes Angel, Blue Note, Capitol, European Columbia, Elektrola, Odeon, Parlophone, Pathé Marconi, Positiva, Virgin and others;
* Warner Music Group (a.k.a. WEA) ($2.5 billion), which includes Asylum, Atlantic, Elektra, Erato, Heiress, Reprise, Rhino, Rykodisc, Sire, Sub Pop (49% Warner ownership), and others.
It's fairly obvious, then, that if you want to make a thread about a band, you should check the label they're on first! This saves a lot of trouble for everybody on Gaia, and will spare you from quite a bit of flaming (though we do not condone flaming in the Indie Forum!)
What does Indie sound like? It doesn't. Simply enough, Indie is Independent. Bands/artists released on independent labels are Indie!
Does Indie necessarily mean unpopular? No. As you can see with bands/artists like The Postal Service* and Interpol**, bands on independent labels such as Sub Pop and Matador can be widely-loved by all sorts of people, and remain on their independent labels.
*Matador is apparently no longer owned by Capitol
**Sub Pop is only partially-owned by WEA
What happens when bands aren't independent anymore? On Gaia, we move their thread to the Main Music Forum (or an appropriate subforum). Some of your favorite bands may have moved there recently, such as Dragonforce. Outside of the world of Gaia and goofy internet forums, bands may:
-Undergo creative changes based upon producers worked with and managers'/agents' suggestions and opinions
-Make more money. Or less money. Plenty of artists still get screwed over by major labels. (See Link)
-Gain a wider range of appeal among the population.
So, as you can see, sometimes things change when a band/artist switches to a major. But it is not a huge deal! Usually, artists maintain some shred of creative integrity and still produce pretty good work. This doesn't mean you have to denounce them as musicians by any means.
Can you recommend some good Indie music for me? No. I could, but one of the greatest things about Independent music is that none of it is handed to you by someone else. Indie is enriching and actually requires effort. You may find yourself driving 50 miles to buy an album once you get into Independent artists. Of course, people share music with each other all the time--word of mouth is sometimes the best thing out there for an Indie group or artist! However, you really should understand that Indie is a learning experience.