Does the Indie Music Complex have any 'cred'?

Indie Music, Lana Del Rey, Old People, and the Indiesphere (you)

Lana Del Rey – Video Games (Joris Voorn Edit)

It’s always kinda bizarre when a mainstream outlet dips in and takes a jab at the Indie Music Complex — it’s like the mainstream seeks some sort of validation or cred raking by pretending to ‘recognize’ Indie subculture via some outdated criticism.

The Lana del Rey affair

I’m not picking on The Economists. They are (probably) desperate because subscriptions have tanked (via old-biz model) and they, like everyone else, have a “mortgage to pay”.

The backlash against Lana Del Rey happened not because of one single reason. Yes, some portions of the indie music complex felt ‘betrayed’ when it surfaced that LDR was just a music industry product. But others panned her pretty hard simply because she, in their opinion, didn’t live up to the hype.

In the past decade, indie music blogs—often American, each fancying itself like a mini-NME—have become increasingly influential. […] The online hype machine—which drops new tracks and videos along with breathlessly excited text, plus the usual reviews and interviews—can easily make a musician that has never played a live concert a buzz-worthy act over night. Often the more mysterious the act, the better for the site that breaks it.

This is the old guard trying to cope with the fact that even though they still hold massive leverage (read $$$) they are not the prime tastemakers anymore.

Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans (Moonlight Matters Rmx)

On the other hand, I find it somewhat disconcerting when people think that because they have an ‘online presence’ they have the power to shape people’s perception or — even worse — that anyone really gives a damn about what they have to say about “X and Y band” or “that remix over this other one.”

Blogs have an important part to play in forming the Internet narrative of many up-and-coming bands, but this is something that’s only true of blogs as a whole (in the aggregate) not single-handedly (i.e. Pitchfork gives LDR’s release a 5.5 music consumers DGAF).

Figure Of 8 Feat. Sophie Galpin – No One Cries For Me (Radio version)

Is Indie as a scene a fucking joke bankrolled by the mainstream?

What Del Rey illustrates is that indie cred, and indie values and credential checking is a useless exercise in this day and age—if indie was a private party, the bouncer has long since left the building.

Indie, as it was known in the past, is dead. The Internet has done much in the way of revolutionizing what Indie is and what qualifies as Indie. One of the things (and a very good thing) that has been changed is that now not one single entity or group holds absolute power to a scene.



This diversification of power has allowed for the exploration and exploitation of many different ideas and even to the creation and eventual backlash of ‘new’ music genres (Chillwave).

So, yes, we ‘let go’ the bouncer because we prefer to peer review shit now (via the Indiesphere) and it is far from perfect but it allows for broader access and sharing. Thanks.

Do you [still] believe in Indie music?

WTF is ‘cred’?

Are you team #LDR or team #____?

Is your whole life a lie?

Does Indie have any ‘cred’ left?

Featured image credit(s) to blur95 via flickr

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