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Is Indie the New Mainstream?

Seattle-born rapper Macklemore is making headlines recently for various reasons; he’s a white rapper who seemed to burst onto the scene out of nowhere, instantaneously went viral with his unorthodox pro-gay rights video for “Same Love,” and, perhaps above all, his (slightly ridiculous) hit “Thrift Shop” is the #1 song in America. And, basically, all over the world.

But what’s most interesting about Macklemore is that he has absolutely no major record label behind him. In actuality, he releases his music on his own record label, Macklemore LLC.

So, Macklemore isn’t just making money – he’s making MONEY. Without a major record label sucking up all the profits, they go straight into his own pockets. According to, “Thrift Shop” has sold over 2.2 million digital copies, with the music video accruing over 80 million views.

Pretty astounding for a self-released record, especially in 2013.

Could independent labels be the way of the future for popular music? Could the power of Youtube and other social media platforms be enough to propel artists into the spotlight without a major corporation marketing and distributing them? If Macklemore’s success is any indication, the music industry as we know it might be in trouble in years to come.

Posted by on February 8, 2013. Filed under Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to Is Indie the New Mainstream?

  1. christopherluke

    February 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    whoever wrote this is an idiot.

    • Melissa Mecchi

      February 11, 2013 at 12:40 am

      While we appreciate your opinion, please refrain from insulting our hard-working writers.

    • Michael Murphy

      February 11, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  2. mollyhartigan

    February 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I’m hoping whoever left that comment DID in fact understand what the term idiot means. It appears to me, that this blog post is extremely well written and thoughtful. I think you might have meant to say: ” I strongly disagree with what this intellectual mind wrote.” Or maybe you’re just great at being sarcastic, to which I say kudos!

  3. Becca

    February 12, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I believe that the content of this article is valid and definitely something that should be brought to the attention of the news more often. However, more discretion in terms of naming articles might be appropriate as there hasn’t been a clear connection drawn from “indie” to the article.

    Also, three short paragraphs doesn’t seem quite enough for such an interesting topic. Similarly, I would have liked to see more opinion as to why independent labels are becoming the new mainstream and if the author believes that they eventually will become as popular as our typical pop music.

    • Michael Murphy

      February 12, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      What many don’t understand is that “indie” is not in itself a genre of music. It simply means independent. There is indie rock, indie folk, indie pop, indie rap, etc. Most associate it with indie rock, and maybe I should have used clearer terms, but the fact that the article is about an independent artist is what I was driving at. And I can’t say for sure, but I know that there are many relatively popular artists who have left or are leaving major labels and veering toward independent record labels who have found more success independently than they had under a major record label, if not simply because they have more artistic freedom and are still able to make significant amounts of money doing it. I wanted to talk about some of these artists and go into more depth, but alas there was a word limitation for this assignment which, believe it or not, I actually exceeded with this post. It’s something I’d like to expand on for sure in the future.