In popular music, independent music, often shortened to indie music or "indie", is a term used to describe independence from major commercial record labels and an autonomous, Do-It-Yourself approach to recording and publishing. Independent … see full wiki
There are so many indie artist these days that it is almost impossible to really know how popular their music is becoming until you get to see them at a sold out concert at a fairly large venue in your area.
Defining what makes a music artist popular is also very subjective since indie artist are not in the main stream of the music industry where CD sales and revenue generated are hard to define.
I have played the open mic-circuit in South Jersey for 10 years. In each town that has a music café that puts on concerts of local and some traveling indie artist you will find a wide range of talent from great to not your cup of tea or coffee.
I hope that the music cafés will continue to do well and receives the support they need to survive in these tuff economic times.