Is Indie the future of music?

Indie grows by making music fans music critics, distributors, etc. This is the future of music.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

I was surprised to read on David Kusek's blog (Future of Music) that Indie's share of the music market is galloping toward 30 percent. I'm not sure where Kusek gets that number, though I was able to find some corroboration, but that is a surprising rise for a once obscure slice of the music pie.

It's also perhaps indicative of how music distribution is changing music preferences:

Indie Labels now account for upwards of 30 percent of total music sales, up from the low 20's just a few years ago. This is a profound shift in the powerbase that favors the independent artist and innovator.

Social music sites such as LastFM, Pandora, iLike and many more are making the fans into tastemakers with the ability to promote and share great new music at the touch of a button.

Tastemakers, yes, but also kingmakers. I've found a range of new music (Yes, Indie, for the most part) through Pandora and other such services. Really, really good music. That's how I initially found Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Band of Horses, The Essex Green, Surfan Stevens, Super Furry Animals, and more.

I can't remember the last time I've walked into a music store, and I can't remember the last time I found a new metal band. (My high school days revisiting me.) Indie, in my admittedly limited experience, seems to do online distribution better than other genres of music.

And so it grows.