Music Promotion for Indie Rock Bands


One of the most interesting things about the history of Rock N Roll and “band oriented music” post Beatles in the 20th century, is how many different branches music made with guitars, bass, and drums have split into from common ancestors.

For example, slowcore, emo, postpunk, Americana, folk rock, noise pop, shoegaze, and dozens of other subgenres radiate from Indie Rock alone, and Indie Rock itself can be three or four different things based on who you ask, and when.


The 70s

In the 1970s “independent labels”, meaning very small, run for the love of music, rosters of bands put out records that didn’t sell very much, but gained cult status. The first band to really create this mold was the Velvet Underground, whose first three albums pushed the limits of distortion, noise, song length (some over fifteen minutes!) and lyrical content. Although they didn’t sell many copies when first released, their first album, produced by Andy Warhol, is considered one of the most influential Rock N Roll albums of all time. 

The 80s

In the 1980s, Indie Rock meant hardcore punk released on DIY labels run by musicians in Washington DC and on the West Coast. These bands had political minded lyrics and were in a way activists for different personal causes such as abstaining from drugs and alcohol (straight edge) or being philosophical anarchists and challenging the status quo of American consumerism and Reagan-era politics. Bands like Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Jawbreaker are examples of the hard-edged, machismo fueled, moment that went on to influence countless genres of Hardcore Punk, Pop Punk, Metal, Nu-Metal, Grindcore, and other subgenres. 

The 90s

In the 90s, the previous two decades of Indie Rock influenced a new generation of kids in bands who craved the melodic sensibilities of early indie rock as well as the volume, intensity, and personal lyrics of the hardcore movement. This was dubbed college rock, due to the radio stations that played their music, and certain bands, such as Nirvana and Radiohead, came out of local scenes in America and England and rose to be some of the most successful bands of all time. (embed:


One component of indie rocks song are intensity of feeling and volume. Indie rock songs are usually loud the entire time or alternate between loud and soft strategically. Some bands specifically craft all their songs this way, such as Explosions in the Sky, where dynamics and dramatic build-ups make their instrumental only albums anything but boring.

Another indie rock technique is to borrow from old rock n roll, but modify it so it feels tongue in cheek or sarcastic. Cynical and sardonic humor, or deadpan delivery is common in Indie Rock, and irony comes in full helpings. Kurt Vile has a really skilled way of combining a dead-pan delivery and almost shoulder shrugging sound to his jams, while simultaneously portraying deep human emotion, hidden beneath the surface.

Indie Rock is a direct descendent of rock, so loud, distorted guitars is a great place to start. Complex or tricky drums can compliment a repetitive guitar riff and allow indie rock bands to “jam” without feeling like they’re playing hippy music. Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse are masters of towing the line between experimentation and musical innovation, without improvising or “jamming” in a proper sense.

Indie Rock is one of the most fertile grounds for making music. There is so much room for variation and different sounds, different voices, and different people’s experiences. The common thread between it all is a sense of doing it for the process of making music and not for the fame, like some pop or other rock musics unabashedly celebrate.

Authenticity is a hard word to use, because most indie rockers scoff at the term, and yet being an authentic DIY musician in it for the love of local community and just doing it for the social aspect is always baked into the thinking of any indie rock band.

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At Planetary Group, we specialize in promoting Indie Rock bands. Our experts can assist in the following ways:

RADIO PROMO: We listen to your music and make recommendations. Then we promote it to national college radio, AAA, non-commercial, NPR, public radio and commercial-specialty shows. There is no genre we can’t bring to the masses, and working with Indie Rock bands is one of our specialties.

INTERNATIONAL: Not in the US? No problem, we offer our services on a case by case, tailor-made basis to clients outside of America. Depending on different goals and different geographical areas of focus we can help you:

– Broaden your audience.
Be heard by radio stations.
Earn recognition and coverage from media outlets, industry professionals, and record labels.

Want to break out in the US? We can help promote you in the places your music will hit hardest and consult to help you promote along tour routes and pitch interviews, sessions, and ticket giveaways for supporting stations in tour markets.

DIGITAL MARKETING: We get your music to online publishers of magazines, newspapers, free weeklies, websites, blogs, podcasts, and online radio. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a new band just starting, we can help you begin a ubiquitous presence online across all social media starting now.

CONSULTING: We don’t just get you the press, we can help you learn how to best operate within the music press and learn the best strategies for making the most of social media, radio appearances, promotional events, and more.

We’re just an email or a phone call away. Get in touch with our experienced team at Planetary Group to find out how you can boost your online presence and increase your fan base. You can give us a call in at (323) 952-5050.


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The Indie Bible

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The Indie Bible has been a staple for musicians and performing artists for over 20 years. Learn more in our writeup below.

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