Oh tiny independent record store, now you have even more competition. The good people at Apple have apparently decided that it isn't enough that independent artists seem to get a pretty decent share of the normal iTunes Store homepage, so they've gone and created this "Indie Spotlight" feature, which only features independent artists. The feature is currently only in its soft launch phase, so there's a possibility that we're going to get some new features out of this, but currently there's a list of indie podcasts, indie artist playlists, and not much else.
The homepage prominently features Vetiver, bloghouse/New York Times golden boy Wavves, Neko Case, Fever Ray, Lemonade, Cut Copy, and Animal Collective. The artist playlists include Bon Iver, Hercules and Love Affair, Diplo, Switch and Digitalism. What does this all mean, since it's not like these are things that aren't avaiable through the normal iTunes store? Well, it could mean that the people at iTunes are genuine lovers of independent music who just wanted to show some love for "the most innovative aspects of music... coming out on indie labels all over the world," like it says on the page of the store dedicated to Wavves. It could also mean that Apple has got a bunch of cool dads sitting around in the office, who've recently become aware of the money to be made in marketing independent artists to an increasingly "hip" demographic of music consumers, and the importance of looking cool.
Whatever the reason, if this results in independent artists and labels getting a little more cash funneled their way, or the Indie Spotlight feature being used to break new artists, then Apple deserves a pat on the back.