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These range from clear and crisp indie rock, too noisy techno and to even heavy metal.

It can be argued that this term encompasses most of the genres and styles one could imagine, from deathcore to metalcore.

It is very possible to find commonalities between these seemingly dissimilar sounds. This article is not going to talk about genres, only what is considered alternative music.

Many alternative musicians often work in or out of the music industry

Thom Sonny Green of alt-J performing at VH1 Supersonic, Pune. Feb 2018.


Alternative music is very often the way some people make their living. This means they make the majority of their money off of their creative talents, rather than from a regular 9 to 5 job.

In fact, many of the prominent alternative musicians today (such as Radiohead) started as very normal people.

We’re talking about someone who attended college and studied a computer science degree but quit school to pursue a career as an artist.

They quit their job to live off of their artistic talents, which is exactly what all music artists are required to do.

They must find their place, whether that means working in the music industry, or their field of study.

The point is, if you are serious about the art of music, you can do this on your own.

A few alternative musicians get paid a lot

Not everyone can make a career out of their art. It requires incredible talent and patience and passion to create good music.

The majority of alternative musicians work for a living. Not all of them have record deals, but they do sell their albums at concerts or online through other means.

Many indie artists have a record deal with one of the popular labels and sell to stores such as iTunes or Amazon.

Where does alternative music come from?

Many of the alternative genres exist because people are tired of listening to the same music they hear all the time.

It’s always simple, bland, background music. When one looks at most genres of music, they are usually organized by the musicians who created them.

With alternative music, the origin of the sound can be traced back to many different musicians.

There is often a long chain of inspiration leading to a new sound that is created in a specific time and place.

Is alternative music really alternative?

The best part about alternative music is the fact that you can listen to it without being labeled an outsider.

It doesn’t matter if you were born and raised in New York or Seattle.

If you know about progressive rock, jazz, metal, or even R&B, then you are just as progressive as the people who made the music.

The best example of this is when popular artist Outkast released their song “Rosa Parks.”

It’s so true to the actual life of Rosa Parks and it sounds like the actual voice of Rosa Parks herself. If you know the story behind the song, you are considered an expert in this area of music.

Alternative music is accepted into the mainstream

It is very rare to see the term alternative music on Billboard charts or any music charts. As long as it sounds good, it can be played on the radio or anywhere music is sold.

It isn’t something you need to hide your love of. In fact, it can be the perfect opening to bringing in the mainstream.

The same can be said for rock music. It doesn’t need to be underground, because rock music is not underground anymore. It is the mainstream!

Popular music is extremely structured

man in black crew neck t-shirt standing on stage

Popular music, when it first started, was fun to listen to. It was anything goes.

Just a few years later, musicians discovered that the best way to make money was to make a very structured song.

A song that was very powerful, but took a very basic structure.

Popular music is typically organized by the artist, which makes it easy to remember their lyrics.

Songs can start with a verse, chorus, bridge, and even refrains.

No music is this structured in modern music, which is why it is so successful. Pop music is a very challenging genre to produce and a very competitive genre in the market.

Alternative music is extremely expensive

If you are going to make a career out of making music, you need to learn how to write music.

You also need to learn how to perform the music in public. It takes a lot of time and hard work to create good music and it takes even more time and works to make it marketable.

This doesn’t make it easier to become successful. It makes it harder! Most of the people who make a living out of making music can’t afford to have a band and a sound engineer.

To make money, they must take the music they make to a major label.

You will be competing with the mainstream

Now you must compete with the mainstream. Their greatest asset is money. It is the only way they can afford to produce music.

They have years of experience to help promote the music and that alone can be a big advantage. You don’t have this luxury.

You have nothing that can compete with the mainstream.

You must be able to produce music and market the music if you are going to become successful.


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