Monday, December 3, 2012

Indie vs Mainstream

My latest favorite band is The Lonely Forest, out of Anacortes, WA. I first heard them on "94/7 Too," (910 AM for those of you in the Portland area), a station that plays music from Northwest bands exclusively (as well as Mariners baseball during the summer - I dig this station).

I fell in love with The Lonely Forest's song "We Sing In Time" and was excited to think that this was possibly a local, unsigned band (I'd heard unsigned bands like my friends in Ramune Rocket 3 on 94/7 Too before). After finding out who they were, it turned out that although they were from the Northwest, they were actually signed to a label that had connections to a major record company.

Did this make any difference to me? Absolutely not.

The forest probably isn't as lonely any more
I've always felt that the main and only criterion for whether or not I liked a certain book, song or film was: whether I liked it or not. The Hunger Games - published by Scholastic - getting tons of buzz? Okay, I'll check it out. Local unsigned band The Crash Engine rocking a show? Cool, I'll buy their CD. (Yes, I admit that I originally resisted Harry Potter because of the hype, but hey, nobody's perfect.)

One reason being a finalist in the 2012 USA Best Book Awards was so gratifying was that it was open to books from both traditional and independent publishers. The winner in the fantasy fiction category was a book on major imprint Harper Voyager (Deliverance: Mortal Path Book 3 by Dakota Banks) so it was nice to be recognized alongside a novel that was put out by a big publishing house.

If you want to dismiss certain works of art out of hand simply by virtue of whether they're indie or mainstream, then that's your prerogative, of course. But just be aware - you're probably missing out on some great stuff.

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