Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Exploring Indie's Definition

A piece posted today on Blogcritics, "Indie Music: The Undefinable Term" by Seraphina Lotkhamnga, explores the term "indie" and its many contested definitions. This is a topic close to my heart, and in fact my interest in interrogating the controversies and nuances of indie in relation to music and college radio was the main impetus behind starting Spinning Indie. Seraphina (who also writes the blog Top Eights) does a good job of highlighting the many different ways that people look at indie--from the aesthetic (sounds like...) to the economic (independent of corporate control) to the cultural (indie lifestyle). She begins her essay with an example from radio:

"Today, it’s not surprising to have a person in their twenties and on down tell you, 'Oh. Well, I don’t listen to anything on the radio.' Usually when someone says this, you can assume that this person listens to mostly indie music. 'Indie,' the short term for its original term 'independent' in reference to record labels, is what you listen to if you’re a cool hipster these days."

As this example points out, most people assume that there is nothing indie on the radio anymore and that fans of indie music aren't radio listeners. It's true that many teens and young adults (and people in general) have turned away from radio, but it's unfortunate that they are missing out on opportunities to hear both indie music and indie voices on non-commercial and college radio stations.

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