by Alex Cosper (2/14/14)
Here is a list of indie songs in 2014, based on visiting various popular indie music blogs. You may have noticed by now that no two indie publications feature the exact same music. In January 2014 album sales in America continued to slip as all it took to make the national top ten was sales of 27,000 units while the number one album sold 98,000 units. This leveling of the playing field opens the door for indie albums to take high positions on the chart.
When someone asks about what's the best indie music, the next question should be from what region? Indie music has branched into so many different genres, many of which can be felt in regions all over the world. Thanks to ReverbNation, every local scene on earth can be tracked, as the site provides top artist lists for multiple genres within each city from London to San Francisco to Sydney. The site has opened the door for local music research around the world to inform music fans and the music industry about developing talent.
The internet has empowered local artists not just to connect with local fans, but to develop fans all over the world. Between 1996 and 2004 a series of revolutionary developments paved the way for the do-it-yourself artist. The advent of search engines, ecommerce, electronic gadgets, digital downloads, broadband and online videos completely changed the way music is delivered to fans. Much of this revolution was pioneered by tech companies such as Apple, Google/YouTube, Amazon, PayPal and telecom companies. The keys to building an indie following now include Google, Facebook and Twitter, while marketing music can be done using iTunes, CDBaby and ReverbNation. It's now possible for indie artists to live online completely.
Indie music is usually not crafted for radio airplay and is intended to be promoted completely differently than major lable music. Even though about a third of all music sold is considered indie - meaning outside of the three major labels - only so many indie artists have become known by the mainstream. Things are clearly changing as indie artists can now reach fans around the world instantly through social media. Indie success stories such as Adele, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Arcade Fire have helped fuel indie's notoriety in the new century. Indie music is not so much anti-pop music as it is pro-independent and expressive beyond industry trends.
What indie music really needs is not another streaming service that does the same thing as all the others. Indie music needs more platforms where the music can be easily showcased for online audiences. Top 40 and rock radio formats were both built on successful songs with catchy memorable melodies. What's been obscure in the indie music world is a sense of song identity and signature songs.
It's difficult to create "best of" lists when there are tons of possible choices. When it comes to playlists for indie music, there's a wide range of unknown music, much of which is just redundant duplication of what's already popular. Even though there are thousands of musical websites that position themselves to be the official gateway to indie music, there is still widespread disagreement as to the definition of indie music. The best way to craft a custom playlist for 2014 indie music is to listen to a handful of songs from various indie sites, which will help form the list of quality songs. Some of the top indie sites include Pitchfork, Indie-music.com and StereoGum.
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