Underground music is music that contains practices considered as underground, or otherwise not in line with, mainstream popular music styles. Underground music has a unique perspective on its origins, culture, and influences from other cultures, most notably the underground of America. It is also often politically influenced, with many of its subgenres influencing their creators, their fans, and their surrounding social settings. Underground music often has a strong dose of post-punk, punk, or post-modern influence, though there is also significant presence of classic rock and roll, blues, and jazz within underground circles. For instance, The Beatles were underground but their music still resonated with their fan base, many of whom were in politics, in the arts, and in the anti-Vietnam war movement.
Rock is a subgenre of music that has roots in rock and roll, jazz, and rhythm and blues. Over the past few decades, rock has become one of the most popular music styles and there is such a diverse palette of sounds and influences to choose from within the genre. While it is predominantly a Western musical style, it has been used and written extensively in other languages, most notably Japanese, German, and French. Within the United States, country music, urban music, and Christian rock have all contributed to the growth of this multi-cultural hybrid that is now called underground music.
The term “underground music” brings to mind artists that are not widely distributed by major label companies or promoted by mass media outlets. These artists often use recordings that they make themselves, or are inspired by records that are not released commercially. Many independent artists and bands choose to self-promote and self-release their music, using underground music promotions such as word of mouth, recording contests, posting their music for free online, and touring as a group or artist. Because this type of creative expression is not commonly seen in mainstream media outlets, the vast majority of mainstream artists will choose to sign only well known, mainstream talents that will market themselves and their music to their fan base. However, because so many talented individuals are being ignored by the major labels, underground music artists and bands have become increasingly popular over the past decade and are bringing fans into concert venues by filling the seats in their venues with their music.