Why is underground music so popular in Canada?
Canada is an enormous country with a very diverse population, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that Canadian musicians have quite different backgrounds and influences, just like their fans. Artists from French Canada might have more in common with European bands or singers while English-speaking Canadians are on par with US rock bands (e.g., Broken Social Scene). Even though this distinction between English and French Canadian artists isn't really valid anymore - thanks to music sharing via the internet and international festivals - it still has an impact on why people like specific artists and what kind of music they prefer.
The main reason for this diversity, however, is the fact that Canada is made of immigrants. There are over five million Canadians who were born abroad, and almost one in five Canadians had at least one parent who was an immigrant. This various mixture of cultures has had a huge impact on Canadian society and its art scene, including its underground music scene.
From indie rock to rap-metal/rap-punk to folk rock - every type of sound imaginable can be found within Canadian borders. The list of bands produced by Canada is endless: Arcade Fire, Billy Talent, Broken Social Scene, Death From Above 1979...the list goes on and on. The best thing about it? Canada's keen interest in their own music and its affirmation to the world: They make it loud and clear that artists from Canada are talented, original and deserve their place on the world's music scene.
Canadian subculture is also unique for its anti-commercial views, growing out of the strong DIY ethic that dominated the original punk rock movement in the late 1970s. This was not related to any particular national identity; instead it was shared by many different underground movements across Canadian society at that time. Although this spirit has somewhat disappeared over the years, it still exists among some parts of Canada's heavy metal community today.
The last fact about underground music in Canada is its connection with politics and societal issues. The strong anti-American feelings among many Canadian young people have led them to embrace bands criticizing US society or ruling ideology (hence bands like Propagandhi). Other political social groups promote veganism/animal rights, anarchy etc., using their music to spread their views (e.g., Skinny Puppy).
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So there are lots of reasons why underground music is so popular in Canada, but that doesn't mean it's limited to this country only. Like many other things on the internet, music scenes can easily cross borders and countries nowadays - which means Canadian bands' success isn't limited to its own country either. Their impact on the world stage isn't limited to underground scenes anymore, as they roam free across genres and media both on-and offline.
Last but not least: The current economic crisis has encouraged people worldwide to look for new ways of expressing themselves, including through art . Underground scenes reflect society's concerns about politics or social issues, while some artists even use their music to earn money. Canada, however, still produces bands whose main purpose is pure entertainment. All this diversity makes underground music even more popular in Canada nowadays!