Selling out the indie music?: re-examining the independence of Hong Kong indie music in the early 21st century

  • Pui Yee Leung

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The rebellious spirit generated by the 1970s punk movement in the UK and the US influenced many local Hong Kong indie bands. However, in the early part of the 21st century, local indie music has created different kinds of relationship with the mainstream and commercial fields, which seem to have the potential to destroy the original meaning of indie music. The aims of this research were therefore to re-examine the independence of indie music in the early 21st century; to understand the role played by indie music and artists within the local music scene; to describe the “authenticity” of indie music, and to suggest how to bring about a better and more sustainable development for these kinds of “independent” and grassroots organizations. In response to these research aims, a case study was conducted of four local indie labels: 89268, Redline Music, Harbour Records and Music is Free Foundation (M.I.F.F.), by applying a marketing mix of the 4 “P”s—promotion, place, price and product—in order to investigate the business practices of these indie labels and to present a more comprehensive picture of Hong Kong indie music. Although indie music has become no longer purely “indie/independent”, it is also believed that the core values of indie music are being repackaged. Moreover, an interdependent relationship between indie music and commerce and/or the mainstream has been created. This interdependence is not necessarily leading to the end of indie, but has the potential to create more opportunities and spaces for the development of indie music.

Date of Award10 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAmy W S LEE (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Alternative rock music
  • China
  • Hong Kong

Cite this