The paradox of independent music


The paradox of independent music

At the beginning of the new millennium, the word “independent music” appeared in Egyptian culture, attracting people who were dismissive of mainstream music. Nearly 14 years after the arrival of this term, it remains ambiguous and unclear. If we asked 10 people who were interested in it, “what is independent music”, the answer would be different, since it is Egypt’s relatively new and almost unprecedented experience.

Therefore, to understand the situation in Egypt, its importance, contribution and contradiction, it is necessary to study the origins of independent music, and how to start independent scenes independently of other countries. This will lead to our final question: is there any use for the “independent” label?

The origin of independent music as a subculture product

Independence is independent of mainstream or popular music. In the model of the United States and Western Europe, the mainstream culture leads the audience, and at the same time, there is a cultural form called subculture. Independent music is a natural by-product of subculture, characterized by its unique appearance, fashion, lifestyle, ideas, art form and jargon.

As a direct result of this kind of culture, independent artists in music production, promotion and performance places adopted the alternative alternative to traditional channels, these traditional channels in the country, a leading position in the business world and the big record companies. Independent production of low cost DIY through small record companies, stay away from large publicity activities, retain the exclusive music exclusivity. Among them: punk rock, the most radical independent music industry of the 1970s; Gothic, carnival, acid and crazy British music; There was no wave in America, early hip-hop, industrial rock and trash.

Sonic youth, in the 1980s, formed an unband

Happy Monday, a crazy band

The disintegration of the concept

In the major record labels (six big record companies into three companies, namely universal music, warner music and SONY music), the concept of independent music began to collapse, in nirvana ‘s 1991 album “Nevermind” absorbed the flavor of the rock and roll. Bands based on subcultures have abandoned British rock bands that include Britain, such as oasis, blur, suede and pulp. Only a few remain semi-detached, depending on the major record labels, or the small ones they have in part. As a result, independent music became mainstream, even though it was not qualified. After popular music was popular among listeners and new bands, the big production companies took advantage of it and played in the most common live shows – no longer substandard.

There are still some independent models in Europe and the United States – such as rock bands and record labels, but they are no longer associated with subculture. The concept of independence has clearly disintegrated, and the independence of music is no longer the exclusive preserve of subculture, but rather the product selection of the band or artist, regardless of the product. In addition, there are many types of music that can be seen as “different” from the mainstream, but are made and promoted by major brands. Bands are independent, mainstream, exclusive or categorical, usually indifferent.

Nirvana, one of the most prominent rock bands

Blur, “tomorrow”

An independent scene in Egypt

In the early 2000s, “independence” became a common word, as space and foundations supported independent artists and bands, such as Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (cultural resources). This term has never been associated with any subculture (subculture in the past and now are almost non-existent), and start at the end of the independent music from other countries, in addition to mahraganat music. The latter can be considered a mixture of pop culture and subculture; It started from independent production and was quickly absorbed into the mainstream by major producers. It is difficult to judge whether we have experienced the music production of the 1970s or the United States in the 1970s and the relationship with subculture, or whether we have completely skipped this stage.

Many truly independent bands, such as Wust El Balad, Resala, Massar Egbari, Nagham Masry, Cairokee, and other Arab bands recently in Egypt. The bands are independent in their production, promotion, publicity and live performance venues. As for their music structure, rely on the western music, mostly rock, western Musical Instruments, there are some in the east, with the traditional or modern spoken English lyrics, singing in a between western and eastern style. The music has attracted a lot of attention because it is different from pop singers such as eliza, Haifa, sherin, tamer hosney and may diab.

Absorption of independence into the mainstream

The scene changed a lot and many bands were invited to enter the business world. Coca-Cola and Pepsi, for example, sponsor Cairo and Wust al-balad. The band and others took part in a large advertising campaign, to promote their music, it has become a kind of product, not to mention their sales depends on the Virgin Megastore such big retailers. Egypt from other Arab countries band and the band (such as Mashrou ‘Leila and Autostrad) attended by Bassem Youssef television show hosted by Al – Bernameg first is ONTV, later is MBC, clearly illustrates how the band surge in commercial channels, at the same time hold mainstream entertainment and talk shows, including, Fifi abdo (Fifi Abdou) and Hisham show hosted by Mr Abbas.

The bands are also involved in other business ventures. Gas, ballard and Cairo to red bull race, massa, Mr Gerry and other bands in Pepsi, maura Leila in a shopping center in Cairo amel group (Porto Cairo Mall). Those are the channels that commercial artists and bands use to promote and profit, so there’s no difference, but they make music.

The independence of music seems to be just a transition or a temporary option to bring artists into the mainstream, producing pop music – with the exception of course.

This explains why many artists and team will choose to participate in the library of Alexandria and Cairo opera house site in countries such as live performances, and other places, the ministry of culture in spite of some band will think these Spaces belong to “public” rather than a country.

However, many bands and audiences still adhere to the “independent” label, just because music is different from the mainstream. Only the differences of music makes it a kind of genre, present different genres does not necessarily mean that it is independent and otherwise muhammad’s Neil will be considered to be independent, that is not the case.

Massar Egbari and other bands at the Pepsi event

Wala al-balad in the Pepsi AD

Dina al-wedidi lives in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Independent of terminology

The band gave up its independence, completely or partially through the business channels. Oddly, however, it is still a contradictory and ambiguous word. Close to the band of the word may be in order to keep the audience’s loyalty, and some audience thinks this is because it’s different from the mainstream and the exclusiveness of business, increased the personality and taste of individuality and uniqueness. Some have been searching for new, unknown “independent” bands, losing interest in older bands that have gained more publicity – and although any band is seeking publicity, it should not be tarnished. In this sort of classification and the permanent debate around it, the audience may actually miss the real measure of the art of assessment:

One of the reasons for the indie band’s use of traditional production and advertising is that it helps to “spread the culture of independence”. But it is a paradoxical argument that the spread of “independent music” through commercial channels has made it a parallel mainstream art. This ignores the mainstream music’s absorption of “independent music”, which has become increasingly popular, and this is what happened in America in the early 1990s. The inevitable evolution of “independent music” is to become part of the mainstream music, which is good unless the artist chooses to stick to the radical idea of independent music.

Wadi al-balad in the movie “Awdit al-nadla”

At the request of the audience

After confirming this contradiction, we will look at the interaction between independent and independent production companies and art space, audience and mainstream taste.

The best example is mahraganat. At first, folk art was only popular in a certain circle and community, completely independent art form, but then moved to big cities, BBS, social network. This allows large studios to sign up to these artists, using them in films and advertisements, and including them as a natural response to their concerns. Alternative, on the other hand, organizations are also eager to these artists in music conference, such as Al Maqred Al Thaqafy Genaina the theatre, and 100 songs and D – CAF, and promotion of a product is a combination of popular culture and advanced culture, to the requirements of the audience.

Both cases illustrate how the bands were marketed as an audience. There is no difference between the mainstream and the independent entities, both of which have the same goals. But it is worth mentioning that malaga artists are indifferent to whether they are labeled as commercial or independent. The same pattern applies to other indie bands. Because of social networks, mainstream audiences now demand “indie bands”, so commercial entities try to present them properly. At the same time, “independent” entities are doing the same. Eventually the two audiences assimilated into one, leading to the gradual disintegration of the concept of “independent music”. The Internet is another helping factor, because all artists, mainstream and independent,


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