Indie music scene

An independent music scene is a localized independent music-oriented (or, more specifically, indie rock/indie pop-oriented) community of bands and their audiences. Local scenes can play a key role in musical history and lead to the development of influential genres; for example, No Wave from New York City, Madchester from Manchester, and Grunge from Seattle.

Indie scenes are often created as a response to mainstream or popular music. These scenes are created in opposition of mainstream culture and music and often contribute to the formation of oppositional identities among individuals involved in the scene.[1]

Indie music around the world


South Africa



The indie music scene in Japan is active, gaining mainstream success beginning in the late 1990s when the so-called indie boom began to emerge.[2] There are sources who attribute this success to several musicians who were referred to as "individual producer-composers" such as Hosono Haruomi, Komoya Tesuya, Oyamada Keigo (also known as Cornelius), and Oda Tetsuro. Cornelius, for instance, pioneered an indie music movement called "Shibuya Sound" and released songs that gained international success such as the Pizzicato Five.[3] During this period, the indie music was described as "inspired, confident and amazingly eclectic - running the stylistic gamut from the 'melo-core' (melodious hardcore) of three-man band Hi-Standard to the dark ambient music of Kyoto's Mana and just about every conceivable musical genre in between, except for J-pop."[4]

There are scholars who note an interesting aspect to the Japanese indie film. This involved a Japanese protectionist licensing policy that prevents indie music from being sold in major media distribution networks.[5] Indie records are only sold in small retail stores that import foreign records - those that are not part of the industrial channels. This relegates the Japanese indie music into the context of a global scene.[6]

The current indie music scene in Japan features bands like the pillows, Asian Kung–Fu Generation, ogre you asshole, Straightener, Sakanaction, Acidman, fujifabric, and Beat Crusaders. Expanded list of some Japanese indie rock bands

South Korea

Despite the popularity of K-pop (Korean Pop), there is also an Indie scene in South Korea. It is sometimes referred as K-Indie as a neologism inspired by K-pop. The heart of the Korean indie scene is in Hongdae area where indie acoustic, rock, house, electro and also underground hip-hop artists are listened to by young niche listeners. 'Sound Day' is held in Hongdae area every 2nd Friday of the month. It is a festive day dedicated to the indie scene with discounts on numerous indie performances and access to various stages throughout the day. Although overshadowed by the mainstream music in Korea, it has gained some degree of international exposure through the internet via YouTube. Some indie bands/artists include The RockTigers, 10cm, Yozo, and Jang Jae-in.

More information about Korean indie music in English can be found at such websites as Korean Indie and the Korea Gig Guide. In Korean, the main indie websites are Weiv and Scatterbrain, while a Korean-language music Wiki is at Krrr.

Australia and New Zealand


New Zealand

North America


United States



Indierock venues in Vienna include Flex. Acts from Austria: Killed by 9V Batteries.


The Belarusian indie music scene is mainly active in the capital city Minsk. There are most active bands: Bristeil, Hair Peace Salon, Open Space.


The indie music scene in Belgium is mainly active in the three biggest cities: Antwerpen, Ghent, and Brussels.




The Hungarian indie scene is mainly active in the capital city, Budapest. In the early 2000s, Hungary's first response to the world's indie revival were Ligeti-led The Puzzle from Kaposvár. In 2006 Amber Smith's RePRINT was released by the German Kalinkaland Records which demonstrated the emergence of the Hungarian indie in Europe. In 2007 The Moog's Sold for Tomorrow reached even bigger success when their record was released by the American label, MuSick Records, which indicated the first international success. Other indie bands include EZ Basic, The KOLIN, Supersonic, The Poster Boy and Dawnstar. Two of the most important and prolific musicians are Imre Poniklo and György Ligeti.


Indie rock has become quite successful in Italy since the early 00's. The most important musical scenes are in Rome, with the one-man band I Cani and the more popular Calcutta, Bologna, with the band Lo Stato Sociale, Milan, with the bands Canova and L'Officina della Camomilla (whose singer, Francesco de Leo, has started a solo career), and Turin where Indie rock mixes with different genres like elettropop like Cosmo or underground hip-hop like Willie Peyote.

The Netherlands

The indie music scene in the Netherlands is mainly active in the four biggest cities Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht as well as Arnhem and the northern cities Groningen and Leeuwarden. See Dutch rock#Indie rock for a brief overview of bands, organisations, venues, festivals that create and are connected to the Dutch scene.


There have been indie music coming out of Oslo such as Lukestar. From the city of Haugesund comes Susanne Sundfør and from Tromsø Röyksopp. Also the city of Bergen has markable acts, such as Aurora, Casiokids, Datarock, Kings of Convenience, Annie and Sondre Lerche.



Some of the indie bands/artists include Family, Los Planetas, Love of Lesbian, Antònia Font, and El Guincho.


A number of Swedish indie musicians have become famous world-side. Most singing in English. The Cardigans gained early success in the mid-1990s. Some notable acts include: The Sounds, Lykke Li, Robyn, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Hives, Eskobar, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Kent, First Aid Kit, Air France, Jens Lekman, The Knife, Shout Out Louds, The Radio Dept., Fever Ray, The Tough Alliance, and Life on Earth.

United Kingdom

  • The first indie music scene is recognized as having started in the United Kingdom, with the release of the C86 cassette, a 1986 NME compilation featuring Primal Scream and other bands.[24] The significance of C86 is recognized in the subtitle of its 2006 extended reissue: CD86: 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop. C86 was a document of the UK indie scene at the start of 1986, and it gave its name to the indie pop scene that followed, which was a major influence on the development of indie music as a whole.[25] Significant record labels included Creation, Subway and Glass.[26]
  • The shoegazing scene of the late 1980s was named for band members' tendency to stare at their feet and guitar effects pedals onstage rather than interact with the audience. My Bloody Valentine and others created a loud "wash of sound" that obscured vocals and melodies with long, droning riffs, distortion, and feedback.[27] Within the same decade, labels such as Cheree Records and Ché Trading amalgamated into an entity that the industry now refers to as Rocket Girl, which has since contributed significantly.[28]
  • The end of the 1980s saw the Madchester scene. Based around The Haçienda, a nightclub in Manchester owned by New Order and Factory Records, Madchester bands such as Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses mixed acid house dance rhythms, Northern soul and funk with melodic guitar pop.[29]
  • The Britpop scene developed in the early 1990s as part of a larger British cultural movement called Cool Britannia. In the wake of the musical invasion into the UK of American grunge bands, British bands positioned themselves as an opposing musical force. Influenced by the key British band of the 1980s, The Smiths, and adopting the unashamed commercial approach to which the C86 bands had seemed sometimes ideologically opposed, Britpop acts such as Oasis, Blur, Suede and Pulp referenced British guitar music of the past and aimed at writing about British topics and concerns.[30]
  • Trip Hop is a genre of electronic music that originated in the early 1990s in Bristol. Most notable artists are Massive Attack, Tricky and Portishead.

South America


In Sao Paulo some important indie bands play in a plenty of post-punk houses and cultural centers. Boogarins and O Terno are the most important current names. Los Hermanos, in Rio, very famous from 2000's, have also a member at the American band Little Joy. Tiê, Metá Metá, A banda mais bonita da cidade, Banda do mar, Copacabana Club, Far From Alaska and Cansei de Ser Sexy are some other examples of the strong Brazilian alternative scene, composing between rock, pop and MPB. The frequent Lollapalooza festival editions in Sao Paulo are a special opportunity to appreciate them.


From Santiago comes the acts Anita Tijoux, Astro, Javiera Mena, and Gepe.


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  3. Stevens, Carolyn (2008). Japanese Popular Music: Culture, Authenticity, and Power. London: Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 9780415380577.
  4. Billboard, 2000, p. 65.
  5. Novak, David (2013). Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation. Mountain View, CA: Duke University Press. p. 131. ISBN 9780822353928.
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  29. "Madchester", Allmusic, archived from the original on 29 April 2011
  30. Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. Pg. 202. ISBN 0-306-81367-X
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