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The Indie Scene - A Unique Subculture

Updated on September 20, 2012

Indie is more than just music... it's a scene.

Abbreviated from "independent," indie has become an entire genre that includes music, movies, clothing styles, and other facets of culture. It is characterized by its separation from commercial institutions and mainstream lines, and is often considered synonymous to alternative styles.

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All about indie

Many track the beginning of the indie culture to the 1980s, and since then, it has attracted mostly youth with its unique and artistic trends. Today it has become so popular that it has grown from a niche to a part of mainstream society to where older individuals may empathize. There are certain subcultures that have found themselves a part of indie scene, including hippie, emo, grungers, mods, and recently even metalheads. Each of these groups have their own philosophies and beliefs.

Indie culture can be examined through the lenses listed below.


One may travel back to the '60s to find the beginnings of indie rock with such bands as The Who and The Clash. Once-obscure indie bands gained popularity in places such as New York City, including one of my favorite bands The Pixies. Others include REM, Sonic Youth, Lush, We Are Scientists, and even the Butthole Surfers. These bands tore up the scene, standing out from other artists of their time with their alternative, underground, often rebellious sound and style. Much of the '80s indie music found inspiration from predecessors such as REM and Velvet Underground.

'90s indie music found grunge bands such as Nirvana, punk bands like Green Day, and many other genres that emerged near the end of the decade.

The new millennium brought more emo, garage, and electronic bands. Some of my favorites include The Killers, Jimmy Eat World, and Death Cab for Cutie.



Indie fashion has one basic characteristic: it's different. Most indie youth can be found sporting vintage clothing, band attire, retro wear, skinny jeans, and even homemade clothing. Even though a lot of these youth would never be seen wearing big-name brand names, a lot of larger stores such as Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters will cater to this crowd and market a lot of unconventional designs, similar to things that could be found in a thrift store.


Indie films are typically produced independent of large studios and can include low-budget documentaries without big-name actors and actresses (though sometimes they may appear in these movies). The films do not aim to appeal to the mainstream and are often shockingly honest and realistic.

Many of today's better-known indie films include "Juno," "Little Miss Sunshine," and "The Science of Sheep."


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    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 9 years ago from San Francisco

      Great hub, Glassvisage. Nice to see you around again! ;)

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 9 years ago from Singapore / India

      Hi glassvisage, great hub on the indie music scene. Congratulations on your 50th Hub!

    • TalentManager profile image

      TalentManager 9 years ago from Suisun City, Calif.

      Music/Film Industry is such an amazing business with many brilliant talents. I enjoyed your article on indie music and indie films, and your statements are very true. I look forward to reading more from you.



    • Sindicut profile image

      Sindicut 9 years ago

      One bad thing is, that for tall people, like me, tight jeans are a very hard thing to find...

      Nice article!

    • prasadjain profile image

      Dr.S.P.PADMA PRASAD 9 years ago from Tumkur

      For the first time I came across this topic in this hub. Thanks.

    • AmplifierMagazine profile image

      AmplifierMagazine 9 years ago

      This is a good summary of the indie music scene. We cover a lot of bands and events in the indie scene and like every other form of music, indie keeps evolving.

    • DJ Funktual profile image

      DJ Funktual 9 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

      Thank you for a fresh perspective! indie is such a great word but you take it to lengths.


    • snarlmkiv profile image

      snarlmkiv 8 years ago

      its nice to appreciate the indie industry. i love the films and i definitely love the music. i'd like to share a little background on the indie scene here in the philippines.

    • profile image

      xok (indie clothing) 8 years ago

      This is a great hub, thanks to glassvisage for creating it. The indie culture has grown so much over the past few years, and it continues to grow. If you are interested in some cool, indie clothing, check out my website.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 8 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks everyone for dropping by, and for adding your links! The more resources, the better!

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I see a lot more "indie" movies than Hollywood movies. We have two good Indie theaters nearby.

    • clamag profile image

      clamag 8 years ago from Italy

      I've been interested on indie music since 2000, but from your hubpg I've learned a few more things. Thanks.

    • profile image

      kossi logan 8 years ago from Atlanta

      I enjoyed reading this blog because it was very informative. I love music and have heard of the indie culture, but I don't know much about it other than it's not mainstream. But, I wouldn't have been able to name an indie artist. I knew the term expanded to include movies but not that it was a life style.

    • Hub Love profile image

      Hub Love 8 years ago from United States

      This is a great post! All your facts are spot on, me being someone who somehow got into the "indie scene." Although I don't intentionally identifiy with it. I just happen to be into a lot of the same things like making my own clothes and of course, The Pixies. Where is my mind?

    • lauradrummer profile image

      lauradrummer 8 years ago from Herts

      hey, it's great to see someone writing about the indie scene. It was a pretty nice article but i found the comment about indie kids making fun of people who wear brands a bit strange, i'm in an indie band and generally hang out in an indie "scene" and i've never come across that! appart from that, a pretty good sum up of what indie is all about :)

    • profile image

      brandy_baby_baha! 7 years ago

      indie is the bomb baby.It's here to stay :] ehbaha

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      India is the great which have many culture there.

    • profile image

      tim 7 years ago

      Great to see that The Velvet underground get a mention. One of the most influential bands of all time.

    • mynameismeaw profile image

      mynameismeaw 6 years ago

      i can't help but notice prasetio30 comment, it's not india its Indie which stands for independent

    • profile image

      Urghhh 6 years ago

      well, let me be the odd one out then, I CANNOT STAND THE INDIE CULTURE.

    • profile image

      phil 6 years ago


    • profile image

      jennifer 5 years ago

      Being indie is mainstream

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