(short for independent) In music, a record label that is neither owned nor distributed by one of the large conglomerates (“majors”) that dominate the industry. Without a corporate bureaucratic structure, the independent labels are often quicker to respond to new trends and more idealistic in their aims. What has become loosely known as indie music therefore tends to be experimental, amateurish, or at the cutting edge of street fashion.
Independent labels have existed as long as the recording industry, but the term became current in the uk with the small labels created to disseminate punk rock in the 1970s. In the 1980s they provided a home for the hardcore bands, for uncategorizable bands with cult followings, like the Fall, and for the occasional runaway success like the Smiths. The British music papers publish separate charts of independent record sales.