adj. Of a music artist: ostensibly independent, but secretly backed by a mainstream record label; independent, but with mainstream success and exposure.
This is an open-secret strategy with roots in hip-hop — Wiz Khalifa allegedly released his critically beloved 2010 mixtape “Kush and Orange Juice” after he’d already signed with Atlantic, under the guise of an indie rapper — that has crept into other realms, particularly the world of female pop.

There is a semi-official name for this breed of artist: “a ‘mindie’ act — a major artist with indie bonafides,” The Fader explained in a recent story about Kehlani, a promising young R. & B. talent from the Bay Area.
—Carrie Battan, “Carly Rae Jepsen and the Rise of the 'Mindie' Artist,” The New Yorker, September 24, 2015
Ok, you got me, it's true. The first thing I thought when I heard Vic had signed to the Roc wasn't "Is the label a good fit for him?" or "I wonder how this will affect his music?" The first thing I wondered was, "Was he mindie, and if so, for how long?"
—Nathan Slavik, “How Long Has Vic Mensa Been Signed to Roc Nation?,” DJBooth, April 23, 2015
And why does music need to be so black and white? Millenials [sic] have been making a statement in decade two of the Y2Ks that you can be both, a mainstream/indie hybrid, or "mindie" if you will. What's wrong with fitting nicely in the middle, making deep and meaningful music that also makes a healthy profit?
Fun Fun Fun Fest (FFFF) has just plowed all other 2011 music festivals into the ground with their bangin' line-up! Not only focusing on today’s indie buzz bands and mindie (mainstream indie) heavy hitters, but FFFF keep it real by bringing a lot of classic bands and musicians into the forefront.
—Sandy, “Fun Fun Fun Fest 2011 Line-up Announced,” Grimy Goods, August 01, 2011
2010 (earliest)
As we enter the post-Vampy Weekend #1 album in the World era, we must mentally prepare ourselves for this 'charting' phenomenon 3-5 more times in the next year. It seems like when a band 'charts' in the top 10 upon their album release, we should call them "MINDIE" bands, short for Mainstream INDIE.
—“Indie is/was/has been/will never be dead.,” Celebrity News Today, February 03, 2010
An earlier cite (from January 31, 2007) uses the phrase "Indie Mindie" in the title and discusses two indie bands, but it isn't clear that "mindie" is being used in either of the senses that I define above.
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