The Sex Pistols recorded a UK #1 album with Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, which never cracked the top 100 in sales in the U.S. It did not help matters that the Pistols' sole U.S. tour during their original run was a publicity stunt concocted by Malcolm McLaren that saw the Pistols touring the Bible Belt to generate lots of "rednecks vs. punks" news. (One oft-shown image has the theater marquee of the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas showing the Sex Pistols headlining that week, with the next week's show featuring Merle Haggard!) One of the only shows in punk-friendly territory was the very last in San Francisco and that one ended with Johnny Rotten leaving the stage, and the band, abruptly.
Much of this divide has to do with the different ways the US and UK punk scenes developed. Bands on both sides of The Pond drew influences from the same bands — the big American protopunk acts (The Stooges, Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, MC5, The Dictators, etc.) were widely respected in both the US and the UK, while The Ramones, an American band and firm believers in Three Chords and the Truth, played a major role in launching the British scene. Despite their shared inspirations, however, American and British punks came from very different backgrounds. The American scene was more artsy, middle-class and bohemian—in short, the '70s version of hipsters. The British scene, meanwhile, was predominantly working class. The breaking point between the American and British punk scenes was when Johnny Rotten openly mocked Patti Smith's 1976 performance in London as pretentious, a feeling that Smith reciprocated by claiming that the Sex Pistols had no talent. (By contrast, the more equally working class but more sophisticated The Clash managed to score hits across the Pond.)
One of the most prominent examples of this is Australian pop star Kylie Minogue. Throughout most of the world, she is pop music royalty, having sold more than 70 million records, was voted as the 49th greatest woman in music by VH-1, has received an Order of the Arts from the government of France, and has been cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most consecutive decades with a top-five album. Dubbed "The Princess of Pop", Minogue is a sex symbol and a musical and fashion icon, and her younger sister Dannii was able to become a successful artist simply by riding Kylie's coat tails.
However, Minogue's international success comes with one caveat: she has never been able to crack the United States. After scoring back-to-back hits with her two debut singles "The Locomotion" and "I Should Be So Lucky", she promptly fell off the American radar and was forgotten until her worldwide smash "Can't Get You Out of My Head" became a top-ten hit there in 2002. And even then, it only reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, compared to the laundry list of countries where it topped the charts. It wasn't until 2009 that she toured the US for the first time, and she has only had one album go platinum there (Fever in 2001, the album that "Can't Get You Out of My Head" came off of). In the US nowadays, when people hear the name "Kylie", they're more likely to think of Kylie Jenner than Minogue — a fact that Minogue is not unaware of.
This dissonance may be explained by how, while Europe remained friendly to pop through the early 1990s (the years when Minogue's career was just starting to take off), the US flat-out revolted against it during the same time period. When she first hit the scene in 1987, Minogue was merely a manufactured bubblegum pop artist in a market over-saturated with such. With Rhythm of Love in 1990 and Let's Get to It in 1991, she took creative control of her career and image, broke from the Stock Aitken Waterman team, and redeemed herself as a mature, credible artist while most of her peers fell into obscurity. However, Rhythm of Love suffered the worst possible timing: it was released on November 12, 1990, the same day that the Milli Vanilli scandal reached its apex, creating a huge backlash against bubblegum pop in America that fueled the rise of Grunge, Hip-Hop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary, and killed the careers of just about every American pop artist except veterans Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson. By the time the backlash subsided in the late '90s, Minogue's disco and synthpop-flavored style had diverged far from the new wave of American pop, which was influenced by R&B and hip-hop. Even after the internet exposed Minogue to a wider American audience, she's still seen as more of a niche artist popular among gay men rather than an international juggernaut.
During the '90s, a wall effectively emerged between the American and British rock music worlds that very few bands successfully crossed for more than one hit.
In the early mid 1990s, grunge was huge in the United States, but in the UK it received a very divisive reception. It got a lot of press coverage in the vacuum following the demise of Madchester, and for a time, almost every stand-up comedian had his own Kurt Cobain impersonation, but it never became the mainstream phenomenon it was in the States, and most Brits would have struggled to name a grunge band that wasn't Nirvana. Even Pearl Jam, who remained huge stars in the US for decades after the grunge-era, only had one Top 10 hit in the UK, and Stone Temple Pilots only made the Top 40 there just once. Meanwhile, the upbeat and exuberant Britpop music genre emerged as a backlash against the dourness and pessimism of grunge. However, there were some exceptions: the British band Bush, for example, continued to play music inspired by grunge years after the scene faded in the US.
Britpop, in turn, largely got the cold shoulder in the U.S., with Oasis probably the only band to have much success, and Blur becoming a One-Hit Wonder with "Song 2" (which was ironically intended as a parody of grunge). Americans who liked grunge naturally didn't take well to a genre that explicitly repudiated it, while Americans who didn't like grunge mostly turned to Country Music, classic rock, adult alternative, and bands like Hootie & the Blowfish as an antidote. While bands like Pulp and Suede gained an underground following, none of them really broke through on the alternative charts (Compare this to just a few years earlier, when Shoegazing and Madchester dance music were all over American rock radio).
This wall was especially pronounced with American and British indie music in the '90s. In the UK, Blur was the only famous British band to draw any influence from bands like Pavement, while in America, British indie music was largely ignored outside of music magazines and College Radio. These bands weren't immensely popular in their home countries, either, but they were even less popular across The Pond. This ended when The Strokes released Is This It, which had an immediate impact in the UK that was unmatched in America.
In Israel, Richard Wagner's music is very unpopular, mainly due to the composer's virulent (but not murderous) anti-Semitism and, more importantly, his popularity within the Nazi party inner-circle the death camps were known to blast Wagner over the speakers. After the War, many Holocaust survivors moved to Israel, and took their newfound (admittedly understandable) hatred of the composer with them, allowing it to become official state policy. When a travelling orchestra attempted to play Wagner in Tel Aviv, it was met with massive protests and a boycott. The unofficial ban is slowly being lifted as Holocaust survivors die off, and his music is slowly gaining more acceptance. Ironically, Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism and father of the modern Jewish state, was an admirer of Wagner's music.
Even The Beatles were victims of this, in a few different places, in 1966. The most famous one involved John Lennon's infamous "we're more popular than Jesus" comment, which was more or less dismissed as harmless in the Beatles' native Britain, especially after Lennon clarified it... but this was not the case in America. There, a few radio stations in the South held burnings of Beatles records, and the whole ordeal turned into a media ruckus. The anti-Beatles sentiment wasn't actually very widespread, but there was enough of it in some areas that the Beatles had to cancel a few tour dates due to threats. Far worse was the reception they received that year in The Philippines, when they were essentially chased out of the country for refusing to play for Imelda Marcos, and to a lesser extent, the controversy in Japan from their appearance at the Budokan (which is now a popular concert venue, but at the time was reserved for martial arts, and many saw the Beatles' appearance there as disrespectful). All of these incidents, along with the increasingly complexity of their music, made 1966 their last tour.
In the Northeast and other "blue state" parts of the U.S., being a fan of country music carries many of the same connotations as being a fan of NASCAR unless it's a hip alternative country act (like Ryan Adams, Neko Case, or—stretching the definition of "country"—Uncle Tupelo or Wilco), a crossover pop artist (e.g. Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum), an underground artist with significant ties to other genres (e.g. Hank Williams III, Woven Hand, or Slim Cessna's Auto Club), or a legend with universal appeal (like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, or Patsy Cline), admitting to being a country fan will most likely get you called a redneck, a hillbilly, or some variation thereof. The New York City area, for example, did not have any country stations whatsoever between 2002 and 2013, despite it being the largest radio market in America and country being, by some measures, the most popular genre of music in America.
It's similar outside America. When the Country 2 Country music festival was held in Britain, for instance, many critics'discussions of the event focused on the "American" nature of the music and its association with stereotypes of Type 2 Eagleland. There are only a few other countries that can be said to have significant country fandoms — Ireland (whose own tradition of folk music fed into Appalachian folk, which is an ancestor of modern country), a few parts of West Africa (possibly due to the popularity of the banjo), Brazil (a mishmash of American and local subculture, including rodeo acts and even the descendants of ex-Confederates), Canada, and Australia (both of which have frontier histories and vast rural areas not unlike those found in America). Country music is also surprisingly popular in the Caribbean, where from the 1950s-1970s it was some of the only American music imported into the area.
In Canada, you tend to find either a gentler brand of country (i.e. Anne Murray) or a more folk-infused style (like when Great Big Sea or Barenaked Ladies make occasional forays in to the genre) being heard universally although country stations exist, and more hard-core country groups are out there; they tend to stay in and around the central and western provinces that like to identify with the culture, such as Alberta, (it's not called "Canada's Texas" for nothing), Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. There is, however, a curiously large aboriginal following of country music.
Power Metal bands (of the European style) often do well in the Europe, placing high on the charts and playing stadiums and arenas. They do even better in Brazil and Japan. In the U.S. however, they're lucky if their CD gets a release, let alone charts, and the few bands that do tour the States are reduced to playing small clubs. DragonForce is the exception, having been made popular thanks to Guitar Hero. A prominent example is Kamelot, a power metal band founded in Florida. In their native US, the band has an enthusiastic but still niche following, while in Europe, it's one of the biggest names in music alongside such well known giants as Nightwish and Helloween.
The British rock magazine Q acknowledged this in their list issue, where they listed 10 British artists/groups who wouldn't get free drinks at any American bar, and 10 American artists/groups who wouldn't get free drinks at any British pub.
PSY's memetic hit "Gangnam Style" has been popular everywhere in the world... except Japan, where he received a horrible reception. This article explains this as being due to PSY not fitting the stereotype that the Japanese have of Korean pop stars being incrediblygood-looking, on top of anything that isn't mainstream not doing well (PSY's song was a parody of K-Pop, and he normally does genres that aren't mainstream pop), as well as a surge of nationalistic flame wars between Japanese and Koreans.note Motivated by a South Korean Olympic soccer player demanding that Japan return a number of disputed islands to South Korea, as well as South Korea's President saying that the Japanese emperor should apologize on behalf of Japan for its past colonial rule of Korea.
British boy bands have had a notoriously tough time breaking into the American market. Take That, for example, were the biggest boy band in UK history. While they didn't have the same popularity worldwide, they were at least able to have some moderate success internationally...everywhere except the United States, where their 1995 album peaked at a dismal #69 and they got lucky with one top 10 hit with "Back For Good". Bands like East 17, Westlife, and Boyzone all tanked miserably as well. Bands of the 2010s like JLS and The Wanted also experienced little to no success stateside (aside from one big hit for the latter). Then there's One Direction. To say that they subverted this trope would be a colossalunderstatement, as they became just as enormously popular in the U.S., if not evenmoreso, than in the UK. They are easily the biggest boy band to ever come out of the U.K. (unless you count The Beatles), and given it was such a lightning-in-a-bottle success story, it's unlikely their run will ever be replicated.
One British boy band that warrants particular mention is Blue. In 2001, they traveled to New York City to film a music video just in time to witness the September 11th terrorist attacks. A month later, the boys were interviewed by a British newspaper and bandmember Lee Ryan was quoted saying that the "New York thing" was being blown out of proportion and that the world should focus on other matters. To the other members' credit, they tried getting him to shut up, but the damage was done, and the group faced considerable backlash that led to them losing their distribution deal in the US, blowing to hell what little chance they had of being successful stateside.
Former Take That member Robbie Williams has fared similarly to Kylie Minogue. He's one of the greatest-selling solo artists of all time at over 75 million albums around the world, but the price of his fame is that he has never been huge in the United States. He's had some minor hits stateside, namely "Millenium" and "Rock DJ", but even those are better remembered for their creative music videos while charting poorly. However, Williams doesn't mind and actually uses it to his advantage: he lives in the United States—Los Angeles specifically—precisely because he's anonymous there, allowing him a break from the rigors of fame and giving his family a normal life.
British girl groups have been spectacularly incapable of achieving success in North America since the demise of the Spice Girls. How much so? There have been no significant top 40 hits by any girl group from the British Isles there since B Witched's "C'est la Vie" reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1999. The closest exception is Mis Teeq's "Scandalous," which reached a modest #35 on the Hot 100 in 2004, although it did peak at #11 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart. Unlike the '80s and '90s, during which the biggest British girl groups scored at least onemajorhit in the United States, their successors from the 2000s and onwards, such as Atomic Kitten and The Saturdays, are almost completely unknown in North America, despite scoring numerous major hits all across the rest of the world. Two of the biggest groups, Girls Aloud and Sugababes, are adored by American music critics, but they've both failed to catch on with both mainstream and indie music fans in the country. While Little Mix's albums have sold respectably enough in North America that they occasionally tour there, they have still never had a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 or Canadian Singles Chart and are completely overshadowed by fellow X Factor alumni One Direction and Fifth Harmony.
1814, an American Rock Opera about the War of 1812, toured Canada, only to find the audience cheering the redcoat characters' songs and booing the American characters, despite the fact that the Americans are written as the opera's heroes and the redcoats as the villains. This is because, in the War of 1812, Canadians fought on the British side against the Americans. What makes this a sticky subject for most Canadians is that Canada was an important front in that war, which played a large role in the development of Canada's national identity, which American depictions rarely even hint at.
The Tragically Hip have a career that spans 30-plus years, and are hugely successful and revered in Canada, but are treated with outright indifference or irrelevance in the United States. They've never been able to break through into the American market, despite appearing on at least one episode of Saturday Night Live (albeit chiefly at the insistence of Dan Aykroyd, a Canadian and diehard fan of the band) and doing several American tours, and have more or less given up on trying to make it south of the border. The announcement that The Hip's frontman Gord Downie had terminal brain cancer was headline news across Canada, with their final concert in 2016 attended by the Prime Minister and aired live, without commercial interruption or commentary, on CBC to an audience of a third of the country... and it was barely covered even by the music press south of the border. Part of this likely has to do with their songs, which are heavily dependent on references and plots taken from Canadian poets and historical events.
The lone exception to The Tragically Hip's inability to break into the US, and one that proves the rule, is the state of Michigan, including the area around Detroit. Many of the music radio stations in the Detroit market are actually based across the border in Windsor, Ontario, and therefore play The Hip's music (in large part to satisfy CanadianContent requirements), thus familiarizing their American listeners with the sound. Incidentally, this is also one reason that Michiganders have a tendency to like Barenaked Ladies, The New Pornographers, and other Canadian bands; the state is sometimes jokingly referred to as "Canada's 11th province" due to the Canadian influence in music, sports, and other elements of its culture. They also have a following in and around Buffalo, New York, which is another big border community where Canadian culture has seeped into.
The Scottish band Texas were enormous in the UK during the late '90s and early 2000s and achieved decent success in most other countries. In North America, however, they were never anything more than a minor blip on the alternative rock scene at the end of the 1980s and only had one extremely minor pop hit there in the late '90s ("Say What You Want", which was a smash in Europe). Only their debut album Southside ever charted on the Billboard 200, peaking at an underwhelming #88, while White on Blonde, their most popular record worldwide, missed it completely.
Probably the most obvious reason for their struggle to crack the US and Canada is their name, which was specifically derived from a 1984 movie, but deceived several people into thinking they were a country group. Except for their debut song "I Don't Want a Lover", none of their major singles were even remotely country-influenced, making the band a severe case of false advertising in a region where country music was still highly prominent. The fact that they weren't even from their namesake only poured salt on an open wound, as the state of Texas is highly protective of its cultural identity and also comprises an enormous chunk of the United States' population.
This article by Adam Kovac of The A.V. Club goes into more detail on the divide separating the Canadian and American music worlds in general. The short answer is that, in terms of size, Canada is the equivalent of an American regional market like the Southwest or the Mid-Atlantic, yet it has its own music industry and media structures separate from those of the US. Since it's easier to get big in the smaller Canadian market, which has strong government investment in the arts, than it is to risk it all for American fame, many Canadian musicians stay home and cultivate their fanbases in Canada.
Shakin' Stevens was one of the biggest hitmakers of the early 1980s all over the world, rivaling previous Welsh music legend Tom Jones in chart consistency and success. Unlike Jones, however, he completely tanked in the United States. He failed to crack the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 even once and his only song to chart at all was "Cry Just a Little Bit", which only reached #67. He didn't fare much better in Canada, either, where he only scored two moderate hits in "This Ole House" (#17) and the aforementioned "Cry Just a Little Bit" (#30), while the rest of his discography was left overseas.
Although BEMANI unit Prim is particularly popular amongst Japanese players, they cause quite a Broken Base amongst Western BEMANI fans.
Although Glam Rock bands had a lot of success in their native UK, many Americans just found their look much too effeminate for their tastes. T.Rex managed to have a hit with "Bang a Gong (Get it On)", and David Bowie and Roxy Music also had a couple of hits in the US later in The '70s, but Americans at the time generally preferred more macho British hard rock acts like Led Zeppelin and The Who. Glam had a following on the East Coast, particularly New York City, as reflected by native artists like Lou Reed, the New York Dolls, and Wayne (later Jayne) County. It didn't get much traction out West, although Los Angeles did produce Sparks. The American bands naturally were much more popular in Europe. San Francisco's The Tubes had glam tendencies but were too late and too out-of-the-loop to capitalize.
Songs sung in languages other than English are a tough sell in the US. Even singing in English with a recognizable accent, such as ABBA, is enough to get a backlash. British acts tend to sing in an American accent (though plenty of UK-based singers do this naturally without any thought of making it across The Pond). There is some room for novelty hits, such as PSY's "Gangnam Style". The occasional exception to this is Spanish-language acts due to the USA's sizable Hispanic population. English-language media, however, prefers to ignore it if they can. Every once in awhile, though, a Spanish-language song often from Puerto Rico but sometimes from Mexico or a Hispanophone enclave within the States will become an unexpected crossover hit. A good example is Los del Rios' One-Hit Wonder "Macarena", the only Spanish language song to hit #1 in the US mainstream charts - until 2017 when "Despacito" took over, and the success of that song may well be due to Justin Bieber collaborating on a partially English version as well as the fact that its Spanish lyrics work well in Getting Crap Past the Radar (it also became a hit in Europe long before the Bieber remix was released). Plus, both of its artists, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, are also from Puerto Rico, which the song mentions half a dozen times.
Japanese music, whether it be pop, rock, metal, hip-hop, etc., largely falls into this with American audiences. The big acts are household names in their native Japan, and have a large amount of crossover appeal in other Asian countries, and even a fair amount in Europe and Latin America (enough that they can tour those areas to large crowds). In the US, however, most artists don't even bother releasing their material for Americans because when they do, they almost never chart anywhere. The few Japanese artists that do tour the US find themselves relegated to small venues. This is largely due to the aforementioned problem songs sung in another language besides English have with appealing to Americans, as well as the general perception of the people who listen to Japanese music.note They're often labeled "weeaboos" for it.In fact, often the only way a Japanese act can play to a fairly large audience stateside is by doing so at anime conventions. The only Japanese act to have any success, relatively speaking, in the US as of late is BABYMETAL, largely due the Memetic Mutation of a Teen Pop Idol Group performing Heavy Metal music. They opened for, of all people, Lady Gaga, and they actually got their debut album to chart on the Billboard 200... at #187... though their second album fared much better, debuting at #39. One song historically, that managed to reach the #1 spot was "Sukiyaki" by Kyu Sakamoto way back in 1963 and now become a Tough Act to Follow.
Rap music is an interesting case. The genre itself averts this trope - it was born in the US, but just about every country on earth has a homegrown rap scene by this point. Even Mongolia has incorporated hip-hop into its traditional throat-singing. However, it is damn near impossible for non-American rappers to cross over stateside. Two British exceptions are the Stereo MCs and Floetry, but Americans associated them with other genres - the MCs' one hit "Connected" is considered more of a dance song, and Floetry was seen as an R&B group. The reasons for this have been stated before: most non-American hip-hop artists rap in their native language, and the ones that perform in English will have a noticeable foreign accent, two traits unpopular with American listeners. There is room for Canadian rappers due to the similarity in speech, with Drake being the most famous example, but only if their preferred language is English rather than French. Australian Iggy Azalea is the exception that proves the rule; she left home as a teen in order to move to the US for the specific purpose of making it big internationally, and she goes to great lengths to hide her native accent in favor of sounding like a black girl from Atlanta. Perhaps the only international rap group to be successful in the US with their native accent is the South African duo Die Antwoord.
Black Metal is commonly associated with Scandinavia, but this is almost entirely due to Norway. While the black metal scene was quite big in Norway, especially at its peak in the late '80s and early '90s, it was hated in Sweden, where Death Metal ruled the metal scene. In fact, the Fandom Rivalry between the Norwegian black metal and Swedish death metal scenes was so fierce that there were reported incidents of Swedish death metal fans plotting to bomb and assassinate Norwegian black metal bands, and vice-versa.
Black metal was also notably unpopular in Germany, where thrash, speed, power and death metal all flourished, but black metal never took off much. It's possible that too many black metal musicians flirting with or even outright endorsing neo-Nazism, or at least Germanic paganism often associated as such, was too much of a sore topic there.
In the early '80s, Queen lost much of its popularity in the US thanks to their 1982 album Hot Space because of its heavy disco influence (not very appealing to Americans at the time). Their 1984 music video for "I Want To Break Free", featuring the band members dressed in drag, also squicked out American audiences, who were unaware that the video was parodying the British soap opera Coronation Street. In October of that year, they garnered controversy being one of the few major acts who chose to perform at the infamous Sun City resort in apartheid-era South Africa. Their shows at the resort proved to be a mini-Role-Ending Misdemeanor for the band: They were fined by the British Musicians Union and lost considerable face with critics and the general public in both Europe and America. The band told the press that they were promised that they'd be playing to an integrated crowd, although this was something that the organizers often told big-name acts to lure them to play there, and it's entirely possible that they were duped. While the band's popularity in Europe was relatively unaffected, the controversy was another ding on their American reputation. They did not regain their popularity in America until Freddie Mercury's untimely death in 1991.
British singer Lily Allen was an international pop superstar all over the world in the mid-00s to early-10s... except North America. In Europe, Asia, and Australia, she's performed in massive venues and has frequently toured those areas. In the U.S., her tours are brief and she's often relegated to small clubs. The funny thing is, there's a pretty good chance that people in America have heard about her, just not know a whole lot about her other than being a British pop star. As of late, her only claim-to-fame stateside is being the sister of actor Alfie Allen and cousin of Sam Smith, both of whom are better known than her.
DJ Mark Ronson is a superstar in in the UK — but in the US, he is only known as the brother of Lindsay Lohan's ex-girlfriend Samantha, his work with Amy Winehouse and for "Uptown Funk", a mega-smash hit that is primarily associated with superstar guest vocalist Bruno Mars, of which it was the biggest hit of his career as well. Despite being a 14-week #1, "Uptown Funk" is still Ronson's one and only chart entry as a lead artist in the US (and by far the longest reining of the "ultimate one-hit wonders"), and its parent album is one of the lowest-selling albums featuring a US #1 hit.
MAGIC!. In their native Canada, they're consistent hit-makers who aren't going away anytime soon. Everywhere else? Their song "Rude" has become one of the biggest examples of a One-Hit Wonder in The New '10s. In the US, much like Ronson, they're members of the "ultimate one-hit wonder" club.
James Blunt is often seen as a textbook example of a 2000s One-Hit Wonder for his chart-topper "You're Beautiful", which is often brought up as Snark Bait. They may not know that the album it came from, Back to Bedham, was the best-selling album of the '00s in his native UK and the 16th best-selling album of all time there.
Electronic Music and its numerous sub-genres are extremely popular all across Europe, to the point where they qualify as pop music in their own right and other countries such as Australia and some throughout Asia and South America have dedicated fanbases. In America (and to a lesser extent, Canada), while the genre is not outright hated and has a very large following (enough to draw in gigantic crowds at festivals), it tends to receive a polarizing reaction outside its target audience, with many fans of pop, rock, hip-hop, and R&B viewing it as competition. In order to cross over to American pop radio, an EDM song has to have very pop-ready sensibilities (using the verse-chorus-verse structure, having a pop singer as a featured artist), which has caused an equally large schism between mainstream-friendly "celebrity" DJs (i.e. Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Hardwell, Skrillex, etc.) and those who treat electronic music as an art form and have decried the increasingly commercialized "EDM" sound.
Jess Glynne is one of the fastest rising pop stars in the UK, with a whopping five #1 hits in just over a year, all of her singles going Top 10, and her album I Cry When I Laugh went straight to #1. In the US? Not so much. Her only claims to fame across the Atlantic is being the lead vocalist on Clean Bandit's #10 hit "Rather Be", and having her Signature Song "Hold My Hand" appear in a Coca-Cola commercial (which only peaked at #86 in the US, after the fact).
Guano Apes is a perfect example of this trope in action. The female-fronted band from Germany has been massively successful in their homeland and the rest of continental Europe, but they've failed to make even the slightest impression on the United States. Their debut single "Open Your Eyes" made them into superstars back home, going Top 10 in many countries, and paved the way for their album Proud Like a God to sell three million units. In the US? "Open Your Eyes" only reached a measly #24... on the rock charts. Afterwards, they never charted anywhere again (neither singles nor albums). Most Americans nowadays don't even know they exist as the aforementioned "Open Your Eyes" is mostly forgotten in the US today. This trope is in effect so hard that, while they're fully capable of playing to giant crowds back home, they haven't even officially toured the US since the early-2000s (they occasionally play a show there, but it's once in a blue moon).
The national anthem of Kosovo is popular in Albania and Turkey but has a lot of hatedom as the videos of the anthem due to a lot of dislikes. What is the hatedom composed of? People who lived in Slavic countries including Serbia and Russia.
Kimigayo is a highly-respected national anthem back within Japan, and has their fans in the Americas and Europe. However, the song has many detractors in South Korea and China, due to being associated with a very violent Imperial Japan.
Likewise, the Japanese navy anthem, Gunkan no koshinkyoku (Warship March). The Far East outside Japan does not take it lightly.
The GDR anthem is a very odd example, as it was banned in its own country while still being the national anthem. You see, the lyrics contained the words "Deutschland einig Vaterland" note Germany united fatherland - word which are often quoted in German nowadays or slightly modified for a pun, however, by the 1970s, the GDR had given up any pretense of a united Germany instead striving to cement the status quo of "two German states", while the West never gave up reunification. When Willy Brandt quoted the line on a state visit, the GDR regime noticed how dangerous their own anthem had become and instead chose to play it instrumental only from then on. The GDR is probably the only country in history where singing the national anthem could get you in trouble.
Die Δrzte and Die Toten Hosen are two relatively similar sounding German rock/pop/punk bands (though for a long time they had a rivalry that the media and some Fan Dumb took more seriously than the bands themselves), but their success abroad is vastly different. Die Ärzte are close to unknown outside of the German speaking countries and in fact once did a tour in Latin America as an opening act for another band (who returned the favor for them in the reverse in DACH) Die Toten Hosen on the other hand are very well liked and comparatively well known in Latin America. Nobody really knows why as Die Ärzte actually have a band member who was born in Chile and both bands mostly sing in German with only Die Toten Hosen throwing in an English song here or there (many of them cover versions).
In the United States (but nowhere else), purely instrumental music has not been popular in the mainstream since the 70's. From the 80's to the 90's, the vast majority of instrumentals that cracked the Top 20 have been theme songs to movies and TV shows, such as "Axel F." (aka the Beverly Hills Cop theme). The only exceptions are a few one hit wonders and Kenny G, who performed the last instrumental to be a major hit in the US: a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne" (aka "The New Years Song") released in December 1999. But even that included audio clips of major events from the 20th century, meaning the song relied on more than just the instruments to be successful. The reason why this is the case is mostly social - Americans identify more with lyric-based music, regardless of the content and in recent decades, starting with MTV, visual elements have become integral to music.
Extending from the above, in the United States, Ambient music artists such as Tangerine Dream, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Jan Hammer are frequently known only for their contribution to TV and movie soundtracks during The '80s. In Europe, these artists are recognized for regular studio album releases and productions as well as concert performances, along with influencing several different genres and artists. Americans often associate the style of these ambient artists with New Age or "Space Music"; both are terms that occasionally have derogatory connotations, especially among the mainstream audience. Progressive Rock, such as Yes, has a similar reputation in the States and one stereotype seems to be that it does not appeal to girls. There may be an element of truth to this conception as Prog Rock focuses on the music instead of the artists' stage presence or charisma, while in America, a performer's swagger is part of the attraction and female groupies are part of the culture. Prog Rock bands, in comparison, generally maintain low key personas both on and offstage and are not known for freewheeling lifestyles. Also, along with extended instrumental segments, Prog Rock lyrics are more abstract, cerebral, and conceptual. Americans perceive Prog Rock and Amibent music as taking themselves too seriously and appealing more to introverts.
While the Christmas novelty song "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" is a favorite of many Americans, Canadians find it to be one of the worst Christmas songs of all time. On many lists of that type made by Canadians, the song is often placed at a higher rank than "The Christmas Shoes". It's for this reason that the animated special of the same name has rarely aired in Canada.
Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson is one of the biggest new names of the 2010s and a dominant force all over the world, except in the United States, where her only notable charting song is "Never Forget You", which only hit #13 despite going top 10 almost everywhere else it charted. Larsson never had another top 40 hit in the country, despite continuing her domination throughout the rest of the world. That being said, her success in the States is still far greater than that of her collaborator on "Never Forget You", British EDM singer MNEK, as outside of that song his only other notable chart hit anywhere in the world is a guest appearance on Gorgon City's "Ready For Your Love", which was a #4 hit in his homeland but failed to make an impression anywhere else.
Due to their history, Turkey and Azerbaijan aren't exactly fans of the Armenian national anthem.
Similarly, System of a Down, an American band with members of Armenian descent, has a large amount of Turkish detractors partly due to their political stances.
The Smiths is widely considered one of the most definitive bands of the 1980s, and while popular in Europe at the time, have a completely different effect in the United States. Whilst all of the group's studio albums reached the top 2 on the British albums chart, their highest charting album is their last one Strangeways, Here We Come which reached number 55 in America. Also, they only had two charting singles in America, which both hit the top 50 of the dance chart. note This is especially ironic since both Morrissey and Johnny Marr have made disdainful remarks on that specific genre - they even wrote a song called "Panic" which had the prominent refrain of "Burn down the disco/Hang the DJ". This could be linked to the trend of most bands that charted in the United States were more hard-rock/new wave oriented than the Smiths' indie and jangle pop sound (though it could also have something to do with the popularity of another band with a similar sound at the time). Time has been very kind to The Smiths in America, and nowadays anyone with a basic knowledge of alternative rock music knows who they are...they're just not the definitive band of the 80s in the genre like they are in the UK.
Lead singer Morrissey zigzags around this trope. In the early 90s, he was one of the biggest cult acts in music in America, with his fans swarming him wherever he went. It got to the point where TV news stations began to run stories about his appearences and Johnny Carson was drowned out by screaming fans while introducing Moz for his first American live TV performance. However, all that attention did not translate to chart success: He had plenty of alt-rock radio hits, but just one Hot 100 chart appearance. After 1995, his American popularity significantly cooled and he only had a resurgence in popularity when he released 2004's You Are the Quarry. Nowadays, he's more Overshadowed by Controversy due to his extremely polarizing public comments and political stances than he is for his actual music.
German Europop/disco/reggae act Boney M.note yes, there's officially a period after the M ranks as the one of the biggest selling acts all-time worldwide, with over 150 million albums sold. They were big in Britain even at their peak in The '70s, with nine consecutive Top 10 hits. In America, they had just one Top 40 hit, "Rivers of Babylon", which peaked at #30. This actually played a role in the scandal involving Boney M. mastermind Frank Farian's next big project: Milli Vanilli. People in Europe were already familiar with Farian's Boney M. methodology of recording studio tracks and then having a "group" lip sync the songs live, but Americans weren't.
Patsy Gallant's 1976 disco song "From New York to LA" hit the top 10 in her native Canada, plus the UK and Australia. Ironically, the only major English-speaking country where it flopped was the country whose two biggest cities were mentioned in the song's title.