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Good indie pop bands are hard to find if they are not signed with a traditional music label. Yes, youtube and soundcloud have made music publishing more democratic, but I would rather not spend most of my spare time sifting through hours and hours of music to find something I like.
When it comes to choosing what to listen to, does the charisma of the lead singer play an important role? For example, would you choose to listen to indie pop bands with female singers over those with male singers?
Looking at the whole spectrum of the indie music scene, names like The xx and Artic Monkeys come to mind.
Although these bands have become mainstream (The xx‘s songs in particular are often played in documentaries and commercials) they started off as independent before winning the Mercury Music Prize for their debut album in 2010.
Check out here a few videos by The XX.
They recorded their first album renting a recording studio at night as the hourly rates are cheaper – that’s the indie spirit!
The Artic Monkeys started as an independent band becoming the fastest-selling group in British music thanks to a number of fan sites. After more than a decade on the music scene, the Artic Monkeys now have a more grown up sound which I much prefer to their earlier stuff.
Imagine Dragons went from unknown to stellar within a year from publishing their first album and quickly became media darlings being invited to major US TV shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and The Late Show with David Letterman. After years of playing numerous live gigs, the band got their big break in Las Vegas at the Bite of Las Vegas Festival in 2009.
Hurts also started as an indie band under a different name (Daggers) securing a record deal with an independent label after playing several small gigs. But it was when they released their amateur self-produced and self-funded video for Wonderful Life on youtube that they captured people’s attention (clocking up millions of views) and secured a record deal with a major label.
Indie bands use various web channels to promote their music and start gathering momentum by nurturing their fan base.
All these bands mentioned above have a few things in common: they all started playing many small gigs and putting in the hours. At the start of their career they used various web channels to promote their music and started gathering momentum by nurturing their fan base.
If I ever wanted to start an indie band (don’t worry, I won’t!) I would probably begin the process by thinking about the visuals and coming up with a quirky video hoping it goes viral fast.