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Independent [ ˌɪndɪˈpendənt ] ( English for "independent"), or indie forshort , is a collective term for cultural assets created by the self-employed, which thus formed a genre of their own, such as independent film or independent music , as well as a description for those self-employed authors or musicians Producers who “mostly break new, idiosyncratic artistic paths regardless of the general taste of the time”.

This can reflect creative forms of expression that are shaped by efforts to be independent of the cultural industry. It extends into all areas of postmodern art , pop culture and entertainment , especially music, film, but also in literature , computer games and fashion , and is now sometimes used synonymously with the underground .

Economic level

In the opinion of its representatives, “ independent ” stands for independence from the globalized corporations in the market, in popular music for example from major labels or in corporate films in Hollywood . Their fixation on mass success and the greatest possible turnover on the world market without paying special attention to artistic quality and integrity has repeatedly provoked alternative movements over the past decades. In general, Independent is interpreted as a critical attitude that questions social and political processes. In popular music, for example, a co-opted form of this aesthetic has been brought onto the market by sub -labels of the large corporations since the early 1990s, also under the name Alternative (see independent label ). The interpretation of the term has recently been the subject of numerous higher court decisions. According to this, the term includes all genres. The independents also apply if they are used as a sales multiplier.

The term independent in relation to music has been increasingly referred to as a genre since the early 1990s (see below), which actually means musicians who market their recordings or live acts independently of music labels . The musicians are usually relatively unknown and have an audience of a few dozen to a few thousand people. The Internet has made it much easier for independent musicians to distribute their music, so that many musicians can even offer their works for free download. Lately, many community sites such as or Myspace have emerged , which can offer musicians new label-independent distribution channels.

Musical level

On a musical level, “ Independent ” stands for the general trend since the 1980s to steadily expand the possibilities of expression in pop and (mainly) rock on the basis of punk , psychedelic rock , industrial or new wave .

It is about an aesthetic demarcation from the musical mainstream , although the bands can now be represented on major labels - the independent movement, however, emerged beyond the major labels . For major labels , these sounds were originally too daring, too critical, not suitable for the masses and therefore not financially viable. But often they didn't even know about their existence.

Since the 1980s, independent has been referred to as a term for music outside of the mainstream and also as an alternative and is also used across disciplines such as punk , industrial , avant-garde , wave , gothic rock , noise rock , shoegazing , IDM , electro or Madchester rave. In a narrower sense, it is usually understood as a rock-oriented form of music eclectically mixed with other styles (see indie rock ).

Computer game area

Independent game developers are game developers who typically develop smaller computer games ( indie games ), so-called indie games , because they normally work without financial support and are dependent on other companies / publishers . Usually only individuals or smaller interest groups are behind the games, sometimes even larger groups of game enthusiasts via crowdfunding (e.g. via the Kickstarter platform).

The indie games often rely on innovative game concepts that are risky in terms of marketing, an approach that is rather avoided in larger, publisher-financed games. Indie developers can therefore also be seen as a reaction to the trend towards casual games and " streamlining " of games, which publishers have forced to market to the broadest possible range of customers . In order to keep the cost price and thus the financial risk for the small developer as low as possible, the developers mostly rely on digital distribution, the sale via online platforms on the Internet through downloads ( digital distribution ), in which the physical distribution costs are eliminated .

The number of indie developers, together with indie games, only rose sharply at the end of the first decade of the 21st century due to the increasingly diverse possibilities of digital distribution, such as B. through Steam or the Humble Indie Bundle . While indie games have their origins in the computer sector due to the open development platform of the PC , this market only became accessible to developers much later in the game console sector. For example, the game console manufacturer Microsoft opened its own market with its online platform Xbox Live in 2005 by making a special software tool available to the developers. Some indie development studios have already developed very successful games commercially, such as: B. Minecraft .


  • Michael Cserer, Harald Paukovits, Slawomir Teodorowicz, Thomas Wolf (2006): The Viennese indie scene. Independent networking within a confused microeconomy. Series of publications / research area economy and culture, 1st research area economy and culture, Vienna University of Economics and Business. ( Online )

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Duden : Indie ( Memento of the original from December 30, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , online at @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Andreas W .: Interview with Gabe Newell. In: Half-Life Portal. Gutekunst internet services, November 22, 2007, accessed on July 27, 2012 : “ The most difficult time for developers was during the cartridge games for the Nintendo, the publisher's money was stored in the warehouses in the form of silicon. You couldn't take any chances, so you stayed strictly conservative about things that worked. With Steam exactly the opposite is the case, you can try everything without losing any money. The unlimited shelf space makes Steam interesting for old, no longer available games. "