Underground and Mainstream Music

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The term mainstream is usually applied to the arts, such as music, literature, film, etc. and can also be associated with media publications. Mainstream material or media is something familiar to and accepted by the masses; it is by definition, not unusual.


Underground and Mainstream Music

With news, we understand the mainstream publications to be those that are most accessible and prevalent, i.e. The New York Times or CNN. The American culture holds high regard for these media, trusting in their content and reports as they never seem to deviate too far from general opinion. More importantly, the big news networks and papers strive to keep the American public content with government and national policies, sometimes employing biased techniques in doing so (Cable, 1977: p.60). Similarly, with music and film, those artists that create popular mainstream works use the known and loved formula for success, whether it's through generating pop icons or Hollywood blockbusters. Neither will stray very far from traditional subjects, perpetuating the success and prevalence of mainstream art and media in our country.

It is difficult to define the underground. In fact it is almost easier to unveil its meaning by explaining what it is not (especially in association with the more understood idea of "mainstream"). The underground, then, is culture that has not reached the mainstream but has found an audience of loyal, sometimes obsessive, fans. Often, the underground is associated with illegal, secret, or clandestine activity.

When we talk of the underground movement, this can be associated with film, music, books, TV and even comics. Each underground media culture usually relates to privately produced material, whether its film, music, etc. ...
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