Street musicians are present everywhere and entertain people by playing wonderful melodies. They are not playing music to annoy people; they are playing music to make the world more lively.
The main reason to play music in the streets is to earn some money. However, money won’t come to you if you are not talented: that’s what truly makes a street musician different from a regular musician.
The regular musician plays for people who want to listen to him; the street musician plays for everyone. The regular musician plays for those who paid to watch them play; the street musician needs to work hard to earn even the slightest penny. The regular musician satisfies the expectations of their audience; the street musician surprises the public. The regular musician creates a world with their music (they play in buildings); the street musician uses the world to beautify their music.
The biggest difference to note is that regular musicians are dependent of their audience, while street musicians are independent and so play what they want to play — regardless of whether the public will like it or not.
Now it must be noted that regular musicians “create” new songs in order to impress the audience. That’s a fact. Their songs are recorded, and sold into CDs, mp3 files, etc. More than that, they can happen to hear the music on the radio. It can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. They earn money from CD and digital sales and more, but they have to carry a burden in exchange: they will need to create new songs if they want to keep their fans, because they will carry their expectations. On the other hand, street musicians do not have to write any new song, or to ask someone to do so for them. Most street musicians are not expected to be good or talented — expect in rare cases where people will help the street musician turn into a regular musician.
Street musicians usually sing famous songs or songs they like. To make it entertaining and new, they sing those songs by adding their own style — change in rhythm, change in tempo, change in the instrument played.
You may be wondering by now who are those regular musicians I’m talking about, right? I consider regular musicians as being people who play for an audience in a specific place determined beforehand, and earn money in many ways other than waiting for a charitable person to pass by and leave a penny, a dollars, a euro, in an old-fashioned hat (and thinking that there is a possibility they will end the day without having earned anything).
But what about Indie bands? Indie bands are more than street musicians; they are less than regular musicians. They are in-between. Indie bands can start in the streets to show their skill to people and create their own image, to play for fun, or to give a preview of their future performances. The wish for money is less stronger than for street musicians; the wish for fame takes over.
Once they become famous enough, they get closer to the status of regular musicians. But the difference can be observed in the fans. Regular musicians’ audience is composed of a great number of people living in the country or overseas; Indie bands’ audience is usually restricted to the country, and sometimes does not go farther than the cities in which the bands play.
Indie bands do not transform existing songs into their own (like street musicians do), but they create their own music to fascinate the public (like regular musicians do). However, unlike regular musicians, Indie musicians will stick to a theme or type of music, even if it may disappoint some fans or prevent them from having a bigger audience.