There's been much made about Macklemore & Ryan Lewis making it to #1 on the Billboard charts in America with "Thrift Shop" from The Heist as an indie artist. And it's true they are non-aligned with an major label. They are indie. Mostly.
NPR reports on how this album managed to make it to #1.
The truth is that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hired a company to help them get their music into stores. That company, Alternative Distribution Alliance, is an arm of Warner Music Group, one of the most major of the major labels.
Still, the rise of "Thrift Shop" is something new. It's an indication of a power shift away from the major labels to the artist themselves. Clearly, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis accomplished a lot on their own.
The rap group spent their early years hustling and playing small clubs like a lot of acts. But they also used technology to build a devoted following on Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube.
This is not to denegrate Macklemore & Lewis' achievement. They worked really, really hard for this and did a ton of the work on their own, on their own terms. But we need to be careful about declaring this an all-out victory for indie culture.