The Google of Indie Music

By Jon Newton 4/18/05

Thanks to the Net, Indie music has come of age.

All musicians need is an online connection, a bit of initiative, a little imagination and they’re cooking.

The trouble is, there’s now so much out there, how do you get to hear to it all?

As we write this, we’re listening to Italy’s Cum Distortion ----- thanks to Indy, Freenet creator Ian Clarke’s latest brainchild which, he promises, does for freely available independent music what Google does for the world wide web.

Jon Newton

“Over the past few months, while working on Dijjer in public, we’ve been working on a sister project in private called ‘Indy’, and we’re now ready to release it to the public at-large,” he says.

It uses collaborative filtering, similar to that used by Amazon to recommend books, etc, to prospective buyers, to learn about your musical preferences in relation to other Indy users.

Everything it plays is from online indie music freely available on the web and you can rate each piece at between one and five stars. Using that as feedback, Indy will find and download music that’s keyed to what you like as opposed to what you don’t like : )

“Eventually it becomes like your own personal A&R machine,” says Clarke, going on:

“Artists benefit too, since the user can just click on the name of the mp3 and immediately visit their websites to learn more about them, or perhaps buy their CDs or other merchandise.”

Can you promote your own music through Indy?

Yep. Just go here.

What persuaded Clarke to develop Indy?

“We were concerned that even with all of the advancements with online media in the past few years, it was still pretty difficult just to find new independent music that you liked,” he told p2pnet.

“As a result, if you look at the type of music people were sharing on mp3 networks, or purchasing from a download site, it really wasn't all that different to what was being promoted by the mainstream music industry.

“We wanted to use the Internet to democratise the promotion of music in the same way that the Internet is democratising the distribution of music.”

Clarke says he’s planning on extending Indy it to other types of media in the future, including video. And right now it's for Windows only. But that, too, will change soon so it'll also work with Linux and Mac systems.

The app is freely available as of today, although there’s a mechanism in place to limit the number of downloads to stop the Indy servers from being swamped.

Tip: If you have trouble hearing anything the first time around, just exit and re-start.

Download it here.


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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