Definition of Indie

1: one that is independent; especially: an unaffiliated record or motion-picture production company

2: something (such as a record or film) produced by an indie

— Indie adjective


If you consider yourself an indie artist, you probably already know what the word “Indie” means. Put simply, it is an abbreviation of the word “independent,” meaning that, as an indie artist, you are not represented by a major label or representative company. While the term was originally used to represent artists on the fringe—talented, but too out there to be marketable—so many indie artists find representation now that if you google indie rock, for example, you’ll come across bands like Maroon Five, The Gorillaz, and Death Cab for Cutie. Not that there’s anything wrong with artists like these, artists who have “made it,” so to speak. Feel Good Inc. and—well nearly anything by Maroon Five, are catchy. I mean, they may not be right up your alley but come on…

Still, there are so many other artists and kinds of art on the indie spectrum just waiting to be discovered. That’s why we’re here. If you’re an artist here at Indie Birds working as the moniker suggests (that is, entirely independently or without a major company backing you), then you have managed to wind a way into a sliver of the niche market we are here to represent.

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The term “indie” doesn’t just mean music of a certain aesthetic. More than that, indie has come to take on a much more complex meaning than “one that is independent,” primarily in that it has been coined to represent a community of artists. 

What kind of community? Well, it’s complicated—rather, it’s complex. Take a look at some of the more successful indie artists out there.

The Inheritance Series, by Christopher Paolini, was an indie startup, self-published through his own family’s small publishing house. While the movies didn’t do so well, USA Today reported that 35 million copies of the four books had sold worldwide by 2013. Games like Undertale, Super Meat Boy, and The Binding of Isaac were all indie startups. The Moldenhauer brothers, founders of StudioMDHR, created the indie game, Cuphead, without formal training or experience in game creation or development. They did, however, have the help of designers, programmers, musicians, artists, etc. The game was released in September of 2017 and has sold over two million copies in three months. Read more on this here. Then there’s music…so much music!

Examples of indie musicians include Ed Sheeran (who is also known for his appearance on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones), Mac DeMarco (who appeared recently on an indie youtube channel called Hot Ones), and Leslie Feist, whose music was featured in the (also indie) film production of Twilight. But these are just the exceptional, tabloid success stories.

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There are plenty of artists who are lesser known but still successful in respect to their incredible talent. Hiatus Kaiyote released their soul album, Choose Your Weapon, in 2015. Their vocals and instrumentals are some of the most varied and complex out there (more on Hiatus Coyote here). Want to hear some German rap? Check out this song by Radikalsix. Ever heard of Treasure Frey, Skulk Station, Janet Echelman, Miwa Matreyek, VoB? I bet you haven’t read my boss’ book. 

Perhaps this is why the term “indie” is so hard to pin down. The only line separating indie artists who are looking for exposure on Indie Birds, or on a local pub’s stage, or in your town’s independent book retailers, from the indie artist in the tabloids or the New York Times Best Seller list is the market. And here’s the thing: The market is constantly changing. 

Herein lies the definition of “Indie,” then. Indie means one who sees what a market hasn’t. Indie means one who creates what has not yet been created. Indie does not mean “an individual.” It means one who thinks independently enough to create something beautiful and original, whether that be alone or in collaboration with other people. It is this kind of dedicated, independent thought that changes the market.

But who cares about the market?

Talented visionaries get together with other talented visionaries to make art because it’s what they do…it’s what they love. Sometimes they are picked up along the way by producers, labels, film studios, or major publishing houses. Sometimes they forever work on the fringes. Whether you are hoping to get “picked up,” or just hoping to live a creative lifestyle, Indie Birds is a place for indies to flaunt their feathers. We are individuals in a community of artists, all dedicated to the intoxicating high of creation. Here, you are supported. 

That’s why the Indie Birds platform is free for all artists. If you’re looking for funding for your project and don’t want to wait for the market trends to shift, we have built connections for you. Post your project, get your funding, and keep that creative indie genius flowing.

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