Alternative music, also known as alternative rock, is a sub-genre of rock music. This specific genre emerged during the 1980s when underground independent music began to become more popular. The word ‘alternative’ began to be used in order to signify that this new wave of music stood apart and in contrast to mainstream rock music. This umbrella term was used to describe all the forms of music which began to emerge in the independent underground scene and were gaining popularity of their own.
For more information on all of the latest alternative bands and music, as well as where to get all the best alternative music tickets, click here.About Alternative Music
Alternative music or alternative rock is an umbrella term which covers a wide range of music. Within the alternative music scene, there are a variety of distinct musical styles, each exhibiting their own unique approach and music scenes.
Music such as indie rock, rap-rock, gothic rock, indie pop, jangle pop, grunge, alternative hip hop, and more all fall within the ambit of alternative music.
Alternative music emerged out of independently signed artists gaining some attention. To this day, while many alternative music acts have gone on to become very successful, the vast majority of them remain signed to independent labels and have not become big in mainstream music.A History of Alternative Music
Alternative music first began to emerge in the 1980’s as a predominately underground phenomenon. Bands started emerging that were signed on independent record labels and received attention from college radio stations and fanzines. Alternative music featured a wide range of different styles. What unified all musicians within the scene was that they all owed a collective debt to punk music of the 70s. It was the original wave of punk music of that time which laid down the groundwork, in terms of style, ethos, and the prevalence of independent record labels, for the alternative scene to be created in the first place.
They didn’t have a mainstream presence. An exception to this was when an occasional song or album would receive critical acclaim and be featured in Rolling Stones magazine.
In the alternative music scene, bands had to record their albums on a budget and had to tour the underground music scene relentlessly to get attention. Throughout the United States, various sub-scenes started to develop which featured the top alternative music acts at the time. While these artists weren’t known to mainstream music fans, many of them lay down the groundwork for some of the more successful bands and artists to emerge from the alternative music scene in the 1990s.
By 1989, alternative music had grown exponentially and had begun to gain attention. The first ever alternative music cross country arena tour was carried out that year and featured the likes of Public Image Limited, New Order, and The Sugarcubes.Gaining Popularity
The alternative music movement started to pick up momentum after the surge in popularity of the grunge music. Grunge was a specific type of alternative rock music which featured lyrics denouncing commercialism. Grunge had its roots in Seattle, Washington, and rapidly gained popularity. In hindsight, it seems ironic that a sub-genre of music which was anti-commercialism would pave the way for the commercial success of many alternative rock music acts such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Soundgarden. For the best alternative music tickets, click here.
As alternative music came to the attention of mainstream media in the early 90’s, it was associated with grunge music. This period was also categorized by a rise in what was known as an ‘alternative culture’, similar in many ways to the hippie movement of the 60’s.
Since alternative music had become very popular during this period, many artists were lumped into the alternative music category in the hopes of capitalizing on the growing popularity of this genre of music.The Characteristics of Alternative Music
As stated earlier, alternative music is an umbrella term for a wide range of different musical styles. That’s why it’s difficult to define. Lyrically, much of alternative music challenges the status quo and is anti-commercialism, capitalism, and all things mainstream. The themes present in this type of music deal with a variety of different social issues, including everything from environmentalism to social justice.