Emo vs. Indie

What is the difference between Emo and Indie? Two genres of music that developed in the 1980’s as…

What is the difference between Emo and Indie?

Two genres of music that developed in the 1980’s as an alternative to the mainstream music scene are Emo and Indie. They reflect the lifestyle of the musicians and that of their followers.

About Emo

Emo is characterized by expressive lyrics and melodies. It originated in Washington, D.C. in the mid 1980’s as an offshoot of punk rock. At the time it was known as emotional hardcore, then emocore and was finally shortened to Emo. The sound and the meaning of the music have changed since its early days so that by the 1990’s it was a blend of pop punk and Indie rock. It had become mainstream by the beginning of the 21st century.

About Indie

Indie, also called Indie rock, originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980’s as a sub-genre of alternative rock music. To some it refers to the music produced by independent musicians within the mainstream network but operating with small record label companies and in general, the underground music scene. Others would say it reflects a different type of music artistry and still others claim that it is a combination of the two.

How Emo and Indie differ

The lyrics of Emo music tell of the conflicts and troubles that a person experiences and offers a great outlet for the sensitivity of musicians. In Indie music, the musician is more concerned with the creation of music and doesn’t really care about the current trends or about what is popular on the music scene. There is a fashion trend associated with both sub-genres. Emo fashion is characterized by black tight fitting jeans and T-shirts bearing the name of an Emo band. Indi fashions include bright vibrant colors and although they are focus on comfort they do have a casual professional look.

Both Emo and Indie music appeal to the youth of today. They represent the goals of teenagers  – independence, creativity and originality. The melodies and lyrics are expressive in contrast to the mainstream catchy tunes that appeal to the masses.


  1. The sub-genre of Emo music focuses on lyrics that tell of conflict and trouble in the life of the artists. It is also the setting for fashion with skintight jeans and T-shirts emblazoned with the name of an Emo band.
  2. Indie is more about being creative and original in music. The fashion trends are bright and colorful, yet comfortable to wear.


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