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What makes a song indie alternative?

Indie alternative music has become increasingly popular over the last few decades, with new artists and bands emerging onto the scene all the time. But what defines indie alternative? What sets it apart from mainstream music? In this blog post, we’ll explore the characteristics of indie alternative music and what makes a song indie alternative.

What is indie alternative music?

The term “indie” is short for “independent,” meaning that the music is produced outside of the traditional mainstream music industry. Indie alternative falls under the umbrella of alternative music, which includes a variety of subgenres such as indie rock, post-punk, and new wave.

Indie alternative represents a departure from the polished and formulaic sound of mainstream music. It’s characterized by its raw, unpolished sound, often featuring lo-fi production techniques such as overdriven guitars and live recordings. The focus is on the music and the emotion it conveys, rather than on creating a radio-friendly hit.

Characteristics of indie alternative music

So, what are the key characteristics of indie alternative music? Here are a few:


Perhaps the most defining characteristic of indie alternative music is its authenticity. Indie artists are often known for their DIY ethos, creating music on their own terms without the interference of record labels or other industry professionals. This leads to a sound that is genuine and true to the artist’s vision.


Indie alternative artists are known for their experimental approach to music. They’re not afraid to try new things, whether it’s incorporating unconventional instruments or blending different styles of music. This leads to a diverse and eclectic sound that sets indie alternative apart from mainstream music.


Indie alternative lyrics often explore themes of personal reflection and introspection. The emphasis is on the emotional content of the lyrics, rather than on creating a catchy chorus or hook. This creates a deeper connection between the artist and the listener, as the lyrics often resonate on a personal level.


The use of instruments is also a key characteristic of indie alternative music. Guitars, bass, and drums are all staples of the genre, but artists also incorporate a wide variety of other instruments into their music. This can include anything from a mandolin or banjo to a synthesizer or keyboard.

What makes a song indie alternative?

Now that we’ve explored the characteristics of indie alternative music more broadly, let’s take a look at what specifically makes a song indie alternative. Here are a few things to consider:


Indie alternative songs are often produced using lo-fi techniques, giving them a raw and unpolished sound. This can include things like live recordings, the intentional use of distortion, or the incorporation of ambient noise. If a song has a stripped-down, DIY production style, it’s likely to be considered indie alternative.


Indie alternative songs often incorporate unconventional musical elements, such as unusual rhythms or chord progressions. They’re not afraid to take risks and experiment with different sounds and styles. If a song sounds like it’s doing something new or different with its musical components, it might be considered indie alternative.


As we mentioned earlier, indie alternative lyrics tend to be introspective and emotional. They can cover a wide variety of themes, but the focus is on the personal and the relatable. If a song’s lyrics delve deep into the human experience and offer a unique perspective, it might be considered indie alternative.


In conclusion, indie alternative music is characterized by its authenticity, experimentation, and focus on emotional content. A song can be considered indie alternative if it incorporates unconventional elements in its production or musicality, and if its lyrics are introspective and relatable. As the indie alternative genre continues to evolve and change, we can expect to see even more innovative and exciting music from independent and DIY artists.


What is considered indie music?

Indie music, also known as independent music, is a genre of music that is produced independently from commercial record labels. It is a movement that is characterized by the artists’ desire to maintain creative control over their work and to avoid the influence of the mainstream music industry. This independence is reflected in the ways that indie artists produce, market, and distribute their music.

One of the defining features of indie music is the DIY (do-it-yourself) approach that the artists take to recording and publishing their work. They may record their music at home or in small, independent studios, often using modern digital technology to create a polished sound. Indie musicians often take on many of the duties that would traditionally be performed by a record label, such as booking shows, promoting their music, and distributing it online or in local record stores.

But indie music is more than just an independent mindset – it is also a diverse genre that includes a broad range of musical styles. Indie pop, indie rock, indie folk, and indie electronic are just a few of the many sub-genres that fall under the umbrella of indie music. These genres are often influenced by the individual tastes and creative vision of the artists, resulting in a vast and varied musical landscape.

While indie music has long been associated with underground and alternative scenes, it has become increasingly popular in recent years and has even penetrated the mainstream music industry. Many well-known artists such as Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and The Black Keys began their careers as indie musicians and have since achieved critical and commercial success.

Indie music is a diverse musical genre characterized by its independent spirit, DIY mentality, and a desire for creative control. While the term “indie” was originally used to describe music that was not produced by major record labels, it has since come to represent a unique and varied range of musical styles and approaches to the music industry.