Inside Taiwan’s Indie Music Scene: Is It Truly ‘Independent’?

Taiwan’s indie scene has coalesced with the mainstream, sometimes muddying the distinction between ‘indie’ and ‘independent.’

The News Lens
Date: 2018/10/06
By Chen-yu Lin

Taiwanese musician Cheer Chen. | Credit: Wikicommons

Other than being known as the production center for Mandopop in its heyday, in recent years, Taiwan has also a burgeoning indie music scene. The capital city, Taipei, has even been praised as the world’s newest capital of indie music. Just like many other places in the world, when it comes to music, the notion of ‘independence’ and ‘indie’ have been contested, yet these concepts remain powerful regarding the creation and mobilization of collective identities among Taiwanese music lovers.

Due to its specific socio-economic and cultural context, the label of ‘indie music’ in Taiwan has distinctive meanings generated by local practices. This article will explore what ‘indie music’ means in today’s Taiwan by examining three aspects of independent music: firstly, the connotation of ‘independent music’ by inspecting local development and changes of recording music industry. Secondly, it will look at the spatial attributes of indie music performances. Finally, the article will conclude by examining indie aesthetics by providing an example of a particular version of ‘independent sound’ associated with Taiwanese music, ‘Little Fresh’ (小清新).    [FULL  STORY]

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