It was Christmas Eve, and in the whole house not a creature stirred, not even a mouse. In fact, scratch that. Because on Christmas Eve in 2013, there was at least one creature wriggling around, and that creature created a subreddit called Indie Heads – a place where people can talk about inide music on Reddit.
Indie Heads is one of the largest music subreddits on the site with over 2 million members. The moderators who run this page govern a massive community of music fans dedicated to a genre that has become increasingly difficult to define as self-published music becomes more prolific. But with tentacles that stretched to other social media platformsAMAs and community projects, r/indieheads is more than just a forum for discussing musicians from independently produced records.
When Kyle Lushell, now 31, joined the subreddit in 2014, it had a few thousand members. Now there are over 2 million members and a podcast to start. Matty Monroe, now 25, works on the podcast. He joined a few months after that fateful winter night and started working on a few projects just for fun: For your consideration, a series in which users write reviews and create discussions about albums that weren’t on the must-have list; and the album of the year series, in which each day in the month of December, a different user writes an album review from a record released that year.
“From there, I just caught the attention of the mod team and they hired me,” Monroe told Mashable. “Soon after, [a moderator] I had to leave the AMA stuff behind, so I ended up taking it for him. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”
Moderation on r/indieheads is quite similar to other pages and groups. Moderators must remove posts that go against their guidelines, but they can also work on cool projects that can be seen by millions of independent music fans. There are studies that show moderation pages can have an extremely bad effect on people’s mental health as they have to plod through the worst content. But, for the most part, their moderation experiences have been pretty fun, and the lack of too much content moderation to break the rules has allowed them to focus on growing the community.
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Many unpaid mods from the r/indieheads subreddit got involved almost accidentally – they were involved in the community organically, then another mod reached out and asked if they’d like to be part of the group. a more structural way. Take Rosemarie Smith, a 23-year-old who started getting involved with the Reddit page by writing a blurb or two for the album of the year series because “it’s something I’ve always enjoyed as a writer”. Eventually, she took over some of the curatorial work while coordinating another community project in which users pseudo-parenthetically rate albums.
“And that finally got me into the mod team in October 2020,” Smith told Mashable.
Back when the subreddit was formed, the biggest challenge was getting artists to get involved. It’s hard to call Lucy Dacus for an AMA and say, “Hey, 28 of my closest friends want to ask you some questions for our online forum, are you down?” AMAs on r/indieheads are, of course, when the band brings in an artist and allows anyone on the forum to ask the artist one of their most burning questions.
Lushell finally created the first Reddit page AMA seven years ago. It was a bit of a mess.
“It was with Riley Walker. I approached him after a show and asked for him and it was hilarious because neither of us knew how to do it,” Lushell said. had forgotten when it started. And Riley Walker answered questions for over a week. He kept coming back and answering questions and such. This is probably my favorite thing that I helped put together because… that first one was a total mess. We had no idea what was going on.”
But, as the group grew, things got easier. The team reduced it “down to a science,” Lushell said. And they no longer had to ask artists to participate in AMAs after shows. Instead, artists and labels started reaching out to the mod team at r/indieheads to find out how they could get the community of millions of indie music fans talking about their music. It has become a kind of mandatory step for any independent band on an album release press tour, and even for some artists announcing new releases on the forum.
You might think AMAs are the most exciting part of working as an r/IndieHeads mod – consider hosting and working with artists like girls pool, Illuminati hotties, Lucy Dacus, animal collective, SLOW MOTIONand so many others. And, in the beginning, they certainly were. But once AMAs within the community really took off, the subreddit returned to the reason for their formation in the first place: a place for fans to connect with each other.
“The number of artists who like the subreddit and enjoy reading it and seeing what people think of their own music or just music in general,” Monroe said. “I think we just created a really good community to discuss music.”
Smith wrote for the album of the year series for years, and, now as a curator, said it was “much better” and, frankly, more creative.
“We have such a good stable of writers who regularly put things together [for the series]”Smith said. “They’re really looking forward to it, because it’s just a good outlet for them. And we saw all kinds of things that I think take many different forms. People will make short fictions based on the vibrations of the disc or they will simply write like the songs themselves. It’s always interesting to see what kind of shapes people take with it.”
Monroe agrees. “There’s so much talent on the subreddit, from a writer’s perspective. And just being able to help organize that and help bring those writers together — it’s really special.”
And that’s what makes this space so great – it’s a community that fosters creativity and doesn’t lend itself to small talk. It’s just for fun, and everyone seems to be aware of that.
“We’ve done some really funny and insightful things over the years,” Monroe said. “We just created a really nice community thanks to r/IndieHeads that I’m really proud of.”