This study investigates the potential of independent component analysis (ICA) to provide a data-driven approach for group level analysis of magnetic resonance (MR) spectra. ICA collectively analyzes data to identify maximally independent components, each of which captures covarying resonances, including those from different metabolic sources. A comparative evaluation of the ICA approach with the more established LCModel method in analyzing two different noise-free, artifact-free, simulated data sets of known compositions is presented. The results from such ideal simulations demonstrate the ability of data-driven ICA to decompose data and accurately extract components resembling modeled basis spectra from both data sets, whereas the LCModel results suffer when the underlying model deviates from assumptions, thus highlighting the sensitivity of model-based approaches to modeling inaccuracies. Analyses with simulated data show that independent component weights are good estimates of concentrations, even of metabolites with low intensity singlet peaks, such as scyllo-inositol. ICA is also applied to single voxel spectra from 193 subjects, without correcting for baseline variations, line-width broadening or noise. The results provide evidence that, despite the presence of confounding artifacts, ICA can be used to analyze in vivo spectra and extract resonances of interest. ICA is a promising technique for decomposing MR spectral data into components resembling metabolite resonances, and therefore has the potential to provide a data-driven alternative to the use of metabolite concentrations derived from curve-fitting individual spectra in making group comparisons.