Singapore's Independent Music Scene

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As Singapore’s indie, or independent, music scene grows, a prominent problem surfaces: Singaporean indie bands and musicians are underrated and not given enough opportunities in their homeland. This paper explains why there is a need for more opportunities to be accorded to indie musicians.

Indie music is “music [that is] produced and funded by any band or label not affiliated with … major corporate labels like Sony or Epic”. (Andrews, 2006, para. 4). A few factors have resulted in indie music gaining popularity worldwide over the years. The usage of social media as a marketing tool is one factor. Websites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook have made it easier for indie bands to distribute their songs, reach a wider audience and increase their fan base. Podcasting is another important publicity method. George Smyth, host of the Eclectic Mix podcast, asserts that people are able to discover the music of talented indie bands through podcasting (as cited in Scott, 2010, p. 81). The success and recognition of indie music at the Grammy Awards in recent years is another reason for indie musicians’ popularity. Lewis (2011) states that at the 53rd Grammy Awards, more than half of the total nominations went to indie musicians. Indie musicians won 45 of 108 awards, a significant increase from “195 nominations and 36 wins four years earlier” (para. 7). Furthermore, indie musicians Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spalding won top awards of “Album of the Year” and “Best New Artist” respectively (para. 1-2). These show why indie music has become more popular and recognised worldwide.

Unlike indie musicians overseas, the talents of Singapore’s indie musicians lack recognition from locals. Most Singaporeans only know of the pop singers who have made...

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