You seem to be narrowing the category in one way and then expanding it in a different direction.
not really. all i'm saying is that indie music is music released on an independant label, not on a major. that's a pretty simple category. i'm not narrowing it from anything other than what the OP asked, nor expanding it in any way. there are all sorts of genres of music released independantly as myself and others have mentioned a few times on this thread
It is up to the individual artist what they want to be called, and for that matter what they consider to be their first album. Their opinions are a lot more important than yours!
are they? in what way? an opinion doesn't change the facts. an artist can't write off their first album or two if they don't like them, and say their third album to be released is their first. even if in their opinion they consider it the first, it's not. and that's pretty simple.
as far as i'm concerned it's all just music. if you work in a record store, or shop in a record store you may want to know which section to put the stock or look for it, but in most stores the categories are pretty simplified and vague, such as rock and pop section, urban/hiphop/rnb section, dance section, classical section and jazz section. a more specialised store that specialises in say dance music may then break down into house/techno/garage/dubstep/etc, but most record stores that specialise in indie music will just have a vague rock/pop section, urban, and dance, and have a mix of both indie and major label releases mixed together. i don't remember ever seeing any record store where indie and major label music was seperated in such a way, or having umpteen subgroups of music. at record fairs i've seen the odd stand that say specialises in punk/hardcore have a couple of trays of cds and cardboard sections with subgroups, but that's about it. whether an album or artist is indie or not is irrelevant really. whether the music is good or not, or more importantly whether you as an individual like it or not as what really counts, unless you are in the business of making money from music.
but just like a thread asking to name favourite jazz albums, or favourite dance records, if someone is asking for best indie albums it's pointless listing albums that aren't indie. you wouldn't list led zep albums on a thread about favourite hip hop albums would you?