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Mainstream culture refers to the current of thought that is presently prevalent in a given community or society. This includes the popular culture and the media culture; whereas the former is the totality of ideas, attitudes, perspectives, images, and other phenomena that has something do and are within the mainstream of a particular culture most especially Western culture; while the latter refers to the current Western capitalist society that rose and developed under the wide influence of mass media.
These three go hand-in-hand denoting what is popular, what is trendy—giving the masses the illusion of what they must have and what to consume in order to fit in the community. For example, pop music is played almost everywhere you go—in the malls, parks, grocery stores, etc. Through the help of media playing it in radios, MTV, and basically everywhere, the music then becomes mainstream and a lot of people get driven by this. In turn, they consume the pop culture and major record labels make more profit out of it.
On the other hand, countercultures such as hardcore punk, heavy metal, and grunge emerged to oppose such kind of subcultures. These three do not follow the mainstream and the pop culture which they refer to as “sellout”. Hardcore punk and heavy metal are generally faster and heavier and more abrasive than any genres. Evidently, these kind of music are not largely advertised by the mass media as compared to pop music and they are definitely not played regularly on your usual stores. These countercultures in the music industry are also known to be underground, where, if you want to listen to their live music, you have to seek it for yourself. They are not much advertised on televisions unlike the pop and classical singers and artists in the mainstream community.