Indie rock is a sub-genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. The meaning of the term "indie rock" is contested today by many musicians, fans and commentators. Most use the term "indie rock" to describe any rock music produced by artists working within the network of independent record labels and underground music venues that emerged in the United States and elsewhere in 1980s and 1990s. Others see indie rock as a distinct genre of rock music with a specific artistic aesthetic, and care less about the context in which it is made. Many embrace both meanings of the word, believing that the aesthetics of the genre and its means of production are deeply intertwined.
Indie rock artists are known for placing a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, releasing albums on independent record labels and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, airplay on independent or college radio stations, sometimes modern rock radio and, in recent years, the Internet for promotion. However, in the 2000s many acts with a musical style identified as "indie" signed to major record labels or their subsidiaries, and began promoting themselves through more traditional media outlets. This has led to a further blurring in the meaning of the term.