Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 12-11-2023

Course Name

INPR 310: Work in Thought and Action


Dr. Joanna Simos


College of Global Studies


This paper aims to explore the evolution of “pop” and “indie” as words and as genres from within the London music scene, and to suggest the most appropriate or effective marketing techniques based on a standard understanding of each genre and its implications. For each of these genres, I establish two definitions: a semantic definition, based on the etymology of the word and the cultural implications of the genre’s origins and history, and a sonic definition, based on any overarching standards of how the genre’s music sounds. In defining each genre’s sound, its history and evolution are considered, as well as its modern connotations.

For this research, I conducted a series of interviews with the employees of a London-based music management firm regarding their own experiences with and understandings of genre from within the industry. These responses were synthesised with a number of historical and academic texts on the genres of pop, indie, and alternative music, as well as music publications from different years and eras of music.

Each genre’s differences are key to understanding how best to connect its music to its audience. A modern semantic definition of pop music is most relevant when marketing the genre today; marketing pop relies heavily on personality expressed through social media and can have a harder time being discovered through playlisting, or a placement of new music onto curated genre-specific playlists. Indie music’s sound is more historically consistent, so a historical sonic understanding is most useful for marketing indie; playlisting and live performances are a better fit for marketing this genre, whereas social media presence should pay homage to an indie lineage.