One of the great things about indie music is that it is constantly being created. From the late punk and new wave scene in the 1970s and 1980s, musicians have found ways of getting there music ‘out there’ without recourse to the big music labels or marketing companies. Many bands have self-published their own music over the last few decades, either with short vinyl runs or by recording their music on CDs. In the internet age, distributing indie music has become even easier with many outlets, in the shape of music dedicated websites, being available to up and coming bands. Far from needing a major label, indie bands no longer even require independent labels to get discovered by music fans these days. However, there is so much new indie music to listen to that fans can get waylaid. In order to discover good new music and to find the cream of the latest indie bands and singer songwriters, it is best to hone your searches in a way that produces the best results. This often means thinking about how you approach the search for new music and branching out from the recommendations of friends. Everyone’s taste is different, after all.
Read Indie Music Blogs
Indie music blogs are one of the best ways of getting into new music and enjoying it before it becomes popular. Many indie blogs will deal with mainstream guitar-based bands as well as newcomers, but blog sites like Obscure Sound focus on acts that the general music listener will not have heard of. Many of these sites will offer the personal view of the blogger. However, a lot of the best ones take contributions from multiple writers, so your chances of finding a like-minded blogger are increased. A good number of the indie blog sites feature interviews and profiles of artists, but what is really good is that you can listen to the music of the bands you are reading about as you check out the blog. Plenty of them offer music streaming or links to the bands’ music.
Get Into Music Social Networking
Facebook may be full of band pages, but you rarely get serious musical recommendations using a conventional social networking platform which caters for everything. Instead, sign up to a site like loudup.com which allows you to discover music and connect with other music fans who have similar tastes to your own. This site will actually make recommendations for you in its own right. However, you can also use it to find other fans of a particular indie band that you happen to like and see what other sorts of music they are into. Watch the video below to find out more:
Last.fm is another good social networking platform for indie music fans. Here, what you listen to is recorded – or scrobbled, as they call it – and your potential compatibility with other users of the site is assessed. Like loudup.com, last.fm will suggest new artists for you to listen to.
Curated Music Playlists
There are many places that you can go to in order to find playlists that have been curated around your particular taste in indie music, whether you like grunge, indie pop or lo-fi electronica. These playlists will usually offer you some songs by artists that you have heard of along with some artists who are completely new to you. 8tracks.com is a good site to find music curated by its users. Simply type ‘indie’ into the search field and then narrow the results down by selecting further tags, for example ‘rock’ or ‘alt pop’. Another good choice for curated music is the well-known streaming service, Spotify, where subscribers often create their own playlists and share them for other people to enjoy.
Much underused, music forums are a superb way of getting into new music of all genres. Forums may be word based, but contributors who are enthusiastic about their latest musical discovery will often point the way to a band’s website or soundcloud page, so you can usually pick up on what they happen to be raving about. The great thing about music forums, and something that is not found in other places on the internet regularly, is that you can get specific about what you like. If you enjoy double kick drums in indie songs, for example, then you’ll find a forum thread for you. Like girl bands who only play Gibson guitars? A music forum will point you in the right direction. Whatever your preferences, sites like musicbanter.com or the music subreddit are good places to start. Even if you cannot find a post that leads you in the direction that you are looking for, posting a question can often elicit some good advice from the forum’s contributors.
Go to Gigs
With many smaller live venues under threat of closure, going out to local gigs is imperative if indie music is to thrive and foster new breakthrough acts. If you buy tickets to see a big indie band, then make the effort to arrive in good time for the support acts, too. Support bands are often playing a gig for the exposure and very little else so your presence can be very encouraging. You may also find something in the music that you don’t get from their online presence – if the band has one at all, that is! Support bands will often try out new material at a gig, so you may be the very first person to hear it being performed. Some indie acts only really come alive when they are playing live, so you really get to know what they are all about, something that cannot always be said of recorded music.
Discovering great new music is a thrill. Many of us enjoy the first time we hear a song we like much more than subsequent occasions, perhaps because the joy of the discovery diminishes over time. Therefore, constantly seeking good new sounds becomes a bit of a quest. However you choose to seek out new indie music, make sure you leave your mark in social media with a like or a thumbs up. Other people may follow in your steps, after all.