It's the newest trend in a changing workforce, where people want to work on their own terms. The gig economy is expanding, and it will likely continue to grow. A gig economy is a free market system in which short-term engagements are prevalent, with businesses hiring independent contractors for brief periods of time. The word "gig" is a slang term for work that lasts a specific length of time. Musicians have used the phrase to define a live performance engagement since its inception.