I know that “indie” is short for independent to refer to a band’s record label but overtime it grew to encompass a music genre.

When/who does “indie” (ex. Indie rock, indie folk) as a genre identifier trace back to?

  • This article isn't specific about who coined the term — and when — but it does give a general answer: Explainer: indie music.
    – Aaron
    Nov 6, 2022 at 2:24

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Buzzcocks, Spiral Scratch, 1977

According to the BBC documentary Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie, 1977 was the year indie music was born. The Buzzcocks, a band from Manchester, released an EP independently of a major label and coined the term indie. (Source: What is Indie Music? 10 Top Examples, by Liam Duncan, 10 Dec 2021)

The BBC documentary Music for Misfits: The Story of Indie[25] pinpoints the birth of indie as the 1977 self-publication of the Spiral Scratch EP by Manchester band Buzzcocks. Although Buzzcocks are often classified as a punk band, it has been argued by the BBC and others that the publication of Spiral Scratch independently of a major label led to the coining of the name "indie". (Source: Wikipedia, Indie Rock, History)

It is thought that the first example of a band publishing their own record was the 1977 Spiral Scratch EP by Buzzcocks. (Source: "A History of Indie", by Richard Copley for 23 Indie Street)

Etymology.com adds some interesting history, pointing out that the term was first used in the context of film production companies in the 1920s.

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