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It was easy, it was cheap, so what?: Reconsidering the DIY principle of punk and indie music

Issue: Vol 3 No. 2 (2008)

Journal: Popular Music History

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/pomh.v3i2.171


Today, the words ‘indie’ and ‘independence’ are commonly taken only to be connotative of a musical style, yet during an earlier punk/post-punk period they were used to denote a specific economic separateness from the major labels. This article examines the development of the indie sector in this earlier period, challenging a tendency to reify certain proponents of punk’s DIY principle (Buzzcocks’ Spiral Scratch EP, Desperate Bicycles) by noting some significant antecedents and continuations of the indie ‘Do It Yourself’ impetus. Contrasting the Rough Trade label against anarcho-punks Crass, the article also highlights the ‘cutie’ or ‘C86’ period in which indie is sometimes said to have become more about music and less about politics. The significance of MySpace and other recent technological developments are also considered. In conclusion, the article interrogates the political efficacy of the ‘anyone can do it’ principle associated with punk/indie’s DIY ethic.

Author: Pete Dale

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