Sonicbids: No More “Indie” in 2011 (my fault?)

An interesting piece of news to report on in my little "indie" world. Sonicbids, one of the leading companies in the new music industry, announced recently that they were going to phase out using the word "indie". How did this come about? Well, that's an interesting story, because it's kind of my fault :)

It started a few weeks ago with the debate surrounding the Grammy Nominations, and what the word "indie" really meant. Since I had made a movie documenting that very thing, I got involved in the debate with a guest blog post on Hypebot.com. Shortly after, Panos Panay, the founder of Sonicbids, wrote his own blog post about the Grammy Nominations, praising them for finally getting "indie".

About a week later, Panos wrote another blog post with his 2011 Music Industry Predictions, and one of his predictions is that the word "indie" will become obsolete. Being the "What is INDIE?" guy, I felt I had to respond, so in the comments section of Panos' blog, I wrote:

"I think the last people to let go of the word will be companies selling products and services to “indie” artists. So my question for you, good sir, is this: Will you lead the way and remove all mentions of the word “indie” from the Sonicbids site and marketing materials?"

Now, before I get to Panos' response, I will say that I don't necessarily disagree with him. Any word that has as many meanings and interpretations as the word "indie" is either at best a very nuanced word, or at worst, meaningless. So to move on and stop using the word altogether is definitely an option. However, is it realistic? The industry is flooded with products/services/websites marketing to "indie" artists everyday, so the word must mean something? Just looking at my book shelf, I have:

  • The Indie Bible
  • The Indie Venue Bible
  • Indie Power
  • Indie Marketing Power
  • The Indie Band Survival Guide
  • The New Indie (podcast series)
  • The Indie Band Bible

And there are many more, not to mention the websites and services that use the word in their marketing to artists.

And Sonicbids is one of those websites, with their "indie" pick of the week, their "Sonicbids LOVES Indie" marketing materials, etc. Which is why I called Panos on his prediction of the word becoming obsolete. Would he lead the way and stop using the word? It looks that way, as Panos responded to me a few days later:

"David, you are right taking me to task about removing references to indie music on the site. OK, you got it. We will gradually remove references to indie music on the site within the next 120 days."

So there you have it, straight from the man himself. Sonicbids will phase out using the word indie. I'm actually not surprised by this, because if anyone is willing to put their money where their mouth is, it's Panos. However, you can be sure I'll keep a watchful eye on their website in the next few months :)

But what I'm most curious about is whether other websites/services will follow Sonicbids' lead. Personally, I don't think so, but what do you think? Is Panos right? Will the word become obsolete? Or will people continue to use the term? Should be interesting to see how things develop.

Cheers,

Dave "What is INDIE?" Cool

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