For some students, music doesn't come from mainstream channels.

Underground music is a significant portion of today's music scene that spans many genres and is hallmarked by its refusal to enter the mainstream.

Mainstream music, backed by significant commercial organizations, occupies larger media realms such as MTV and VH1. But for decades, bands have chosen to remain independent, even if it means their rise in fame will be much more modest.

"Modest Mouse, no one knew them when they released 'The Fruit That Ate Itself' or 'The Lonesome Crowded West,' since none of their songs were taken from those albums and thrown on the radio to play every ten minutes until your ears bled," Drew LaFasto, freshman in communications, said. "Instead, over a period of time, their audience grew and developed."

In past decades, underground groups faced a larger challenge than their mainstream counterparts. Without the funds from commercializing, music groups largely relied on word of mouth for circulation. As a result, music was more localized. But in the age of the Internet, the game has changed.

"Nowadays, music is everywhere on the Internet and much more easily accessible," LaFasto said. "Right now, online music radio is the best, because you can discover music similar to your favorite artists."

Once a person delves into underground music, a whole new world is opened, and that world is more available than it was in the past.

With the increasing availability of music, some might argue that underground music is going mainstream. The story is becoming increasingly common: artists begin on their own, perhaps through YouTube videos, and then hit it big within a small population. These artists are then given the opportunity to trade in their independence for a flashy backer and seemingly limitless exposure.

Yet, despite the strike of success it means for their favorite bands, fans of these previously independent groups are often disappointed at their plunge into the mainstream music industry.

"I would be excited to hear their music more like on the radio or stores or TV," Nicole Glenn, freshman in chemical and biomolecular engineering, said. "But I would be a little sad, too. They wouldn't just be mine anymore. It makes it less special, less intimate even, when it goes from you and your favorite group to everyone and their mother."