In the indie music industry, Musicians are able to have more flexibility to do things outside of conventional mainstream media. Hesmondhalgh argues the relationship between the institutional and aesthetic in indie is the flexibility artist and and musicians have to do what they want. However, big label companies do not allow this flexibility and focus on what is popular and trendy leading to profit.
What the indie film and music industry have on the most common ground is they both work outside of mainstream. They allow the artist or director to express their views and opinions into their work. Film and music try to build audience through their work. Artists who choose to go through an independent label tend to go that route for more control and freedom over their own creativity. Independent labels cannot offer artists money, making the artists pay for career aspects out of their own pockets. However, paying for all the expenses means they make all of their own business decisions. The same could be said for filming directors until they are able to get to a film festival or picked up by a mini major.
Another similarity is artists or directors being “sell-outs“. Independent artists sell-out to gain commercial success. They use independent labels as somewhat of a security blanket to build a reputation. When they are picked up by a major label, the labels have more control over the creativity and what is published. This is because the labels have to make profit from what they are putting out. Indie artists most times are linked to losing the integrity and support from when they started out. Reputation is important for getting a fan base and creating more support. The artists are writing music for themselves – not for radio play. Fans tend to lose that sense whenever an artists or band sell-out.
An indie band’s sound and style is a unique piece of work that brings it out of the same generic Top 40 music that all sounds the same in mainstream. “Indie represents the prag- matic 1990s response to that dilemma: a tendency towards classical pop aesthetics, and ‘arm’s length’ institutional ties with the corporations. But to point to the failure of indie (amidst its many pleasures) is not to argue for a return to a punk vision of an alternative cultural praxis. Times have changed: a different era calls for a different cultural politics, but hopefully one which will take into account the lessons of earlier failures.” (Hesmondhalgh 57)