Pop-Culture Isolation

Clearly, the answer is Morioh.

Max: It's only Powerline, dad. The biggest rock star on the planet.
Goofy: Ohh, not bigger than Xavier Cugat, the Mambo King! Everybody mambo!
A Goofy Movie (1995)

Pop-Culture Isolation is basically a case of pop-culture myopia of sorts. Where celebrity, music genres, media or events that are huge and significant in one subculture or ethnic group, but elsewhere nobody knows it exists or is indifferent to it altogether. We're not talking about separate countries here, but within the same country or region. A lot of this is especially prevalent in entertainment, especially music. Radio is probably the main cause of this as radio is very isolated in terms of programming and format. Though some just see all of this as another form of segregation.

Let's face it, there are cultural barriers, and people thrive in their own microcosm. Another likely reason for this is because mainstream media is so homogenized and is prone to favoring monochrome pop culture that other cultures start their own pop-culture media outlets. That fuels this trope even further for better or for worse. This isolation of pop culture can lead to such ignorance as Cowboy Bebop at His Computer. It's even possible for this trope to happen within the same culture. This, in turn, resulted in a pop cultural Broken Base or Fandom Rivalry. Hip Hop is a good example of this (see Hip-Hop's Broken Base entry). This trope possibly could lead to Monochrome Casting.

Expecting Pop-Culture Isolation not to be an issue is a sure way to incur Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure. Can also result in people outside the subculture experiencing Informed Real Life Fame.

For some people with a certain ideology, however, Pop Cultural Isolation may be seen as a good thing.

Contrast Small Reference Pools, and Pop-Cultural Osmosis. May lead to Germans Love David Hasselhoff or Americans Hate Tingle. Could also overlap with Critical Dissonance. This trope along with Public Medium Ignorance goes together like peanut butter & jelly. This often is the cause of Minority Show Ghetto. Compare with Fan Myopia, which is when the fans of a particular form of pop culture believe it to be far more well-known amongst the general public than it actually is.

By the way, did you know there are people and places out there who discuss and list the tools of storytelling but have almost no knowledge of wiki editing or TV Tropes? It's very true. Do you know about them? Probably not.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men (at least Wolverine and possibly Cyclops and Storm), Aquaman, The Flash, Iron Man, Captain America, The Mighty Thor, and Incredible Hulk are the only superhero exceptions to this trope. Even then, the only of their supporting cast to be generally known by people are The Joker, Robin, Lois Lane, and possibly Lex Luthor and Catwoman. J. Jonah Jameson may have crossed the threshold as well, helped by J. K. Simmons' performance in the Spider-Man Trilogy.
  • Female and black superheroes are a big victim of this trope. Whenever a new (or newly popular) black or female character is mentioned in a news story (especially when the entire point of the story is that most superheroes are white men, such as when a paper interviews a local artist who's just getting into the industry, almost always involving a quote along the lines of "reading comics as a kid, I always wondered why there weren't more characters who looked like me") the article will act as if there are, at most, three black superheroes (the average non-comic-reader might recognise Storm, Luke Cage and Black Panther, and John Stewart if they grew up in the nineties) and no superheroines except Wonder Woman. It's the same with gay and lesbian characters, except worse, because trying to discuss of gay or lesbian superheroes often seems to attract homophobic trolls, plus there's still the assumption that only kids read comic books. Anytime an article in mainstream media talks about a gay or lesbian superhero, you can expect to see a shitload of comments about the "gay agenda" or "gays forcing acceptance down children's throats"...
  • Speaking of the assumption that comic books are for kids, whenever a comic that is specifically not kid-friendly gets adapted into a movie, such as The Crow or Watchmen, you're definitely going to hear stories of unsuspecting parents bringing their kids to see it (despite the R-rating!) and then being shocked and appalled when an R-rated movie based on comics meant for adults is filled with graphic violence and sex. Even reviewers get in on this at times. One reviewer of Watchmen spent most of the review lamenting that we were now marketing extreme violence and adult content to children. When tons of readers commented that the movie and comic both were meant for adults, the reviewer stood by her words, stating that the existence of Watchmen action figures proved this movie was meant for children. Evidently she had no clue that nerd culture includes grown men and women collecting action figures and that there are many lines of action figures marketed exclusively to adults.
  • Ask anyone outside of comics fandom to name a comic book writer, and you'll probably get a mention of Stan Lee (his legendary cameos in Marvel superhero movies probably help). Maybe Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman as well, if they're a certain sort of literary. Any other name will be met with a resounding "who?", no matter how popular or prolific they are within the comics industry.
  • Underground Comics: Massively influential in the 1960s and 1970s, read by many young people and graphic artists. Yet to the general public the genre literally is "underground", because they are hardly aware of any titles or artists existing, or if they happened to read one in a store they assume it's all Porn Without Plot. The only artist to get some kind of notoriety in the mainstream is Robert Crumb, yet most people only know him for Fritz the Cat.

    Fan Fic 
  • There's a whole subculture dedicated to this. But it's only popular with the geek side of the Internet.

  • Boyz n the Hood: Which this trope was inversely lampshaded in the film it self by the character Doughboy (quoted above).
  • Fear of a Black Hat, contrasted with This Is Spinal Tap (which can also fit)
  • In an inversion, Australian film critic David Stratton seems to be quite isolated from other forms of media - in his review of The Simpsons Movie he said he had never watched The Simpsons, in his review of Bee Movie he admitted to never having watched Seinfeld, and he also said he had never read the book Where the Wild Things Are in his review of that movie. Some critics and pundits would argue that such a stance is actually for the best, as it ensures that reviewers will remain unprejudiced toward the film content and avoid Hype Backlash and / or They Changed It, Now It Sucks. One theatre critic, for example, had never seen any incarnation of West Side Story prior to attending a Broadway revival of it; with this fresh and unjaded perspective, the reviewer was able to honestly (if kindly) evaluate the play's objective worth and point out any flaws it had. (After all, a worshipful attitude often indicates just as much bias as an unreasonably hateful one.)
  • The popularity of several cult actors, at most they'll likely just be Hey, It's That Guy!! But in certain circles they're as popular as Tom Cruise and Will Smith. A few Examples are....
  • Also true about many African-American actors, such as Mo'Nique, Loretta Devine, Angela Bassett, Boris Kodjoe, Jill Scott, Tracee Ellis Ross, Meagan Good, the list goes on. Often when African-American actors have a movie that is a crossover hit, that movie will be treated as their first by mainstream media. Hilariously demonstrated by Fox News when LL Cool J demanded to have a pre-recorded interview dropped out of a program hosted by Sarah Palin. In an apparent Take That, one of the network anchors, referencing his role in the popular NCIS: Los Angeles, probably the only time most of the Fox News main demographic would have ever seen him acting, said there was no hard feelings and wished him well "in his fledgling acting career". LL Cool J had, at that point, been acting in film and TV for nearly a quarter of a century.
  • In the days of drive-ins and regional film distributors, it was possible for a filmmaker to be successful making movies that did good business in one region of the United States, but were almost completely unknown elsewhere. The North Carolina-based Earl Owensby, aka "The Redneck Roger Corman," is but one example.
  • The financial success of Tyler Perry's movies, particularly Diary of a Mad Black Woman, seemed to catch the mainstream media off guard. Perry had been currying good favor with black audiences through his plays for the better part of a decade, but the white American majority was ignorant of his existence until Madea hit the mainstream. The audience for Perry's films are usually black women, a demographic that is either virtually ignored by mainstream films or relegated to a supporting "sassy friend" sidekick for the star. The fact that black woman might want to watch movies where people who look like them want to find some fulfillment out of life besides following their white friends around and supporting them seems have found voice in Perry's works.
  • Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry), despite being the 2nd largest film industry in the world (behind Bollywood), is pretty much only known among Africans, or maybe West Indian people if you're lucky.
    • Bollywood itself is almost unknown to Western audiences, despite being the largest film industry in the world.
  • Discussed in Smokey and the Bandit, when Carrie mentions that Bandit doesn't know much about the theater or any of the things she's interested in and Bandit comes back by saying that she doesn't know anything about people like Richard Petty or Waylon Jennings. "When you tell somebody somethin', it depends on what part of the United States you're standin' in as to just how dumb you are."
  • Priyanka Chopra is one of the top actresses in Bollywood and Miss World 2000. In the US, she's probably best known as the singer of the NFL Thursday Night Football theme song, "In My City."
  • Pre-1968 pornographic films are poorly known for a very good reason: no self-respecting theater owner of the era would have been caught dead showing one, and they tended to be screened only in underground, male-only venues. The only chance one of these vintage porn films had of gaining true notoriety was if a major celebrity did a cameo in it (which most were not willing to do, although it did happen once in a while).

    Food and Drink 
  • What North America and the United Kingdom consider "Italian cuisine" are only found in the Northern regions, like Tuscany and Emilio-Romagna (except for pizza, which is Sicilian/Campanian). The middle and Southern regions, along with the furthest Northern ones, are entirely different (Sicily, for example, is heavily based around fresh Mediterranean vegetables, nuts and fish.) Some areas don't use tomatoes much, if at all.
  • Certain soft drinks are only popular in certain regions of the United States:
    • Faygo is mostly found in the Midwest USA, specifically around Detroit. It is also a Trademark Favorite Food of Juggalos.
    • Vernors ginger ale was originally tied to Detroit as well, but it is now nationally distributed by Dr Pepper/Snapple. However, about 80% of Vernors sales are still in Michigan.
    • Green River sodas are only found in the area around Chicago.
    • Grapico, a very popular grape soda is primarily found in Alabama and surrounding states.
    • Likewise with Buffalo Rock, a VERY strong ginger ale that's considerably more popular than Canada Dry.
    • Nehi is typically limited to the South of the country.
    • While popular in Mexico, Jarritos and sister brand Sangria Señorial are typically found only in the U.S. in areas with prominent Mexican populations.
    • Sprecher Brewery of Wisconsin makes root beer and other gourmet soft drinks. While the root beer and cream soda can be found in "normal" grocery stores in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, all of their flavors are typically limited to speciality grocery stores elsewhere.
    • Briefly averted with Big Red, a Texas-based red cream soda that enjoyed a minor surge in popularity in other states during the first years of the 21st century.
    • RC Cola is available worldwide but is massively popular in the American South, where, paired with regional favorite snack food Moon Pies, formed the "working man's lunch."
    • A double-subversion: Cracker Barrel stores often stock pop brands normally found only in the South, such as Cheerwine, Dr. Enuf, etc. However, the chain is all but non-existent on the west coast.
    • Moxie is virtually unknown outside of New England...although these days, it's hardly popular; it's one of those Love It or Hate It kind of things.
    • If you live in Buffalo, you may well love and can name several brands of loganberry juice. If you live anywhere else, you may never have heard of it.
    • Ale-8-One is a popular ginger ale soft drink in Kentucky (especially near the town of Wincester where it is bottled), but it is practically unheard of elsewhere. Distribution only expanded to include southern Ohio and Indiana in 2001 according to The Other Wiki, and it may only be sporadically available in other parts of the South-East.
  • Rivella, Switzerland's national soft drink, is practically impossible to find outside the country.
  • In Scotland, Irn Bru is the most popular fizzy beverage, being one of only a handful of countries that doesn't have Coca Cola in the top spot. While it's possible to get it in the rest of the UK, it often gets more obscure the further south you go, and once you're out of the British Isles, it's likely no one will know what you're talking about.
  • Outside of Alaska and Hawaii, SPAM luncheon meat is only popular among blue collar and low income families. The same could be said for things like Potted Meat, and Vienna Sausages.
  • Kool-Aid, similarly could be considered a blue-collar-specific beverage. Which would be ironic, since it was first marketed to middle-class people.
  • Blue Moon ice cream is popular in the Great Lakes states (most notably Michigan and Wisconsin), but is virtually unknown anywhere else. This is complicated by the fact that what exactly Blue Moon tastes like is almost as unique as the vendor who sells it, with flavors ranging from almond to spices to cola (although ironically Word of God says "true" Blue Moon is NOT "tutti-frutti" or blue raspberry). And in Oklahoma and Texas (and possibly other states in the same geographical area), Blue Bell ice cream attracts a fervent following not understood by anyone outside of the area that Blue Bell serves. This is purely the company's intent, though; the higher-ups wanted to make sure the ice cream was as fresh as possible, so have never really thought of expanding nationwide.
  • And speaking of Texas, the Whataburger fast food chain attracts an almost scarily devout clientèle of people who simply cannot get enough of their food, particularly their burgers and chicken sandwiches. In Texas, unless you're a vegetarian, you'll have your favorite Whataburger menu item, whether it be one of their speciality sandwiches (such as the A1 Thick & Hearty Burger or the Monterey Melt) or a specific way you order your regular Whataburger (e.g. a bacon cheeseburger with mayo and mustard [the default condiment is mustard], no onions, extra pickles, and on Texas toast [instead of a regular bun]).
  • Caviar. Admit it: unless you were reared in an old-money family or are from Russia, Central Europe or environs, you spent practically all of your childhood completely in the dark about what that was. (For the record, the top brands of caviar are made from salted and pressed sturgeon roe, generally harvested from the Caspian and Black Seas, and are stupidly expensive and usually only available from luxury goods shops. In Western Europe there are cheaper brands available, made from things like lumpfish and salmon roe, which you can buy in supermarkets.)
  • Eagle Brand baby formula and dehydrated milk products are so ubiquitous on certain Southwestern US Indian reservations that they're mentioned by name in the phrasebook at the back of the best-selling Navajo dictionary. Probably nobody not from one of those Indian reservations, or near them, has even heard of it.
  • Very few people outside Michigan will know what a "coney dog" is. But if you live in Michigan, particularly around Flint or Detroit, the "coney island" restaurants that serve them are everywhere.
  • Also speaking of Michigan, the Upper Peninsula (UP) offers the pasty (pronounced "PASS-tee", not "paste-y"), a pie stuffed with meat and vegetables. They were brought by migrants from Cornwall in the late 1800s, who went to work in the region's then-numerous copper mines, and they remain a part of UP culture to this day. Show the word to anyone else, though, and you might get "Oh, isn't that a thing that strippers wear?" Pasties are still very popular throughout Britain, with various bakery chains that sell them as a popular street snack food. In fact, there was even a minor, unpopular political policy (a 5p tax on shops selling 'food above room temperature) that got nicknamed "the Pasty Tax".
    • A similar thing happens in South Australia, for similar reasons (only the copper mines were a few decades earlier). Expect every bakery in the state to sell a range of pasties alongside the nationwide favourites of meat pies and sausage rolls; elsewhere in Australia, they're practically nonexistent.
  • Ask anyone who has never lived in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia Area what a Wawa convenience store is. Be expected to be met with blank stares. (They also have locations in New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida, but these are largely localized to areas with lots of Philly transplants.
  • In the Southeast, shopping malls often have a cafeteria-style restaurant in them, such as Piccadilly or K & W, alongside or in place of a food court. Such chains sometimes have standalone cafeterias, too. Elsewhere, the cafeteria chains are almost entirely unheard of (barring a handful of MCL Cafeterias in Indiana), and can come across as strange to those expecting a more conventional restaurant in a mall.
  • Chinese food. Much of what you find on the menu at a typical take-out, like General Tso's chicken, pork fried rice, chow mein, sweet & sour chicken, etc., are purely American inventions. Chinese expatriates more or less refer to American-Chinese cuisine as essentially a lie. Pinpointing what could be considered Chinese food would be a problem as it's extremely diverse, to the point that no two households are likely to share the same tastes.
    • Hilariously, "Chinese"-food restaurants are starting to open in China, mostly because tourists who travel to China expect "Chinese" food. Reality Is Unrealistic, indeed.
    • Dim sim (Not to be confused with Dim sum) is Chinese-inspired, but is actually Australian. However, many assume that they are completely Chinese.
  • Italian Beef sandwiches (also known as "beef sandwiches" or even just "beef") are virtually unknown outside of the Chicagoland area, where they are wildly popular. To the point that some stands will specialize in beef sandwiches (or make only beef), and can even be found in the deli section of local stores. Portillo's (a fast food restaurant chain that sells beef sandwiches alongside hamburgers and hot dogs) has opened franchises in California, but they still remain obscure outside of a very small section of the Midwest.
  • On a related note, loose-meat sandwiches (often called "Maid-Rites") are extremely popular and prevalent in the Midwest, but virtually unknown outside it (or confused with Sloppy Joes).

  • Phenomena: is quite a big hit in Norway with the books often sold out in bookstores and the board game is completely out of stock. It has been translated to only a few languages, making it very little known about with other people around the world.
  • Zane novels, black erotic literature, probably count.
  • You probably know the Cthulhu Mythos. You probably also know who HP Lovecraft is. But do you know the names of Jim Turner, Robert Bloch, or Robert M. Price? No, Lovecraft didn't write ALL the Mythos. It's actually sort of like Star Wars Expanded Universe. Moreover, could you name any of the actual WORKS of the Mythos? Probably Call of Cthulhu or if you're really in the know, At the Mountains of Madness may ring a bell. Same goes for any deities other than Cthulhu like Yog-Soggoth, Azazoth, or Nyarlathotep.
  • Young adult literature, obviously. Because these novels and short stories are read neither by single, middle-aged or elderly adults (unlike generally "serious" fiction, which is acknowledged by critics and the media) nor by young parents with prepubescent children (as is Dr. Seuss, etc.), they are relegated to the readership of adolescents and tweens, whom mainstream culture tends to ignore except as a marketing demographic (and today's businesspeople are not trying to sell a lot of books). Go ahead: ask your typical fiftysomething Baby Boomer who Wilson Rawls was; they probably won't remember, if they ever knew about him to begin with. Some series, such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, do manage to "cross over" and become popular with audiences outside their intended 12-19 year old demographic.
  • Same thing could be said for Speculative Fiction (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror). This also swerve into Sci Fi Ghetto territory as well. For Sci-Fi, the Big Three of Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke are most likely to be known, at least in regards to their most famous works. Fantasy writers are limited to J. R. R. Tolkien and J. K. Rowling, and then only as the authors of The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, respectively. George RR Martin is starting to become this as well, thanks to the popularity of the TV series Game of Thrones, which is based on his series A Song of Ice and Fire, but even there, they probably don't realize he's written anything else. The only well-known modern Horror writer is Stephen King.
  • In-Universe example meets Truth in Television in Jorge Luis Borges short story "Averroe's Search" : Averroes, a philosopher confined to the Islamic orb, never could understand the terms Tragedy and Comedy.
  • It's amazing how many people appear not to have heard of Terry Pratchett, even though he is the second most-read author in the UK, and the seventh most-read author in the USA, across all genres. One newspaper interview lampshaded this with the introductory paragraphs including the line "Terry Pratchett, for those of you still pretending to have no idea who I'm talking about, is..."
  • In Murderess, when Lu crosses over to Greywall’d, she enters an inn and tries to order hot cocoa. The owner’s son is bewildered, as cocoa doesn’t exist there.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Game is one of the most, if not the most, popular drama/comedies in the black community. Most white people aren't even aware the show exists. The show is now on BET but even when it was on CW, it never really found a strong white audience.
  • George Lopez and Chris Rock are interesting examples since before they had their own self titled sitcoms they were well known, but they weren't well liked by anyone outside of their targeted demographics.
  • Steve Harvey is a very popular comedian in the black community, but not too many people outside of it even know he exists. He arguably may have overcome this due to his sitcom, and appearing in The Kings of Comedy. And taking over as the host of Family Feud in 2010. And then getting his own talk show in 2012. This is arguably true of most Black comedians before they land a sitcom deal, or hell, any comedian since they tend to only be popular within a certain niche (women, college students, blacks, Latinos, Asians, other ethnicities, etc.)
  • The Cosby Show subverted this; on the other hand, it was Bill Cosby's intention.
  • Roseanne contrasted with The Cosby Show, not in terms of race, but class. In fact, you could swap out Roseanne for Good Times and get the same results.
  • MTV was also the cause of a lot of this, so much so that MTV refused to acknowledge that 90% of the songs on the chart were by black singers and kept trying to push a next Big White Hope like Winger or Warrant. There was such an embarrassing disconnect between their Top 20 played videos and the Billboard charts back then. David Bowie awesomely called them out for it during a interview with the network. They eventually caved in with the meteoric rise of Michael Jackson though. The '90s version of MTV subverted this trope, though, by basically not putting music in a box or programming block (Yo! MTV Raps, 120 Minutes, and Headbanger's Ball being the exceptions). On the other hand, this might be why they started putting music in a programming block and eventually stopped showing vids all together circa the early 00's. Simply put, nobody was gonna wade through rap vids to see a rock vid or vice versa.
  • The popularity of Martin. VH-1's I Love the '90s actually brought up that the show was virtually unknown to white viewers, in part because it was scheduled against Seinfeld.
  • Similarly, Living Single contrasted with Friends, some even going as far as to say the latter ripped off the former or at least inspired by it.
  • According to VH-1 Classic, New Wave and Hair Metal were the only music genres in The '80s. Care about college rock or old school hip hop? Hope you're willing to stay up until 3:30AM! VH-1 Classic's That Metal Show definitely seems to have a bias towards hard rock and heavy metal bands from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Interviews with metal musicians from more recent bands are few and far between.
  • Doctor Who provides an age-gap version of this trope all by itself; there are passionate fans of the series who either had (or continue to have) no idea that there was a show before 2005 and / or have no interest in watching any of the old series.
  • As surprising as it may seem on the Internet, there are other TV shows beside Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Sherlock and Supernatural. There are still lots of people who don't subscribe to premium cable channels or subscribe to cable at all. And who presumably do not illegally download them.
  • In-show example: in the BBC documentary Deborah 13 Servant of God (about a young girl from a fundamentalist Christian family who was very zealous in her faith) there was one point where she is asked if she'd ever heard of the likes of Britney Spears- and being not immersed in popular culture like most teenage girls (having no television, being homeschooled etc.) she didn't. In response, however, she asked if most people knew who a certain (fairly obscure) Biblical character was.
  • Arguably one factor counting for the success of The Arsenio Hall Show in The '90s was the fact that he, being a hip, younger, black late night talk show host in a field mostly populated with older white hosts and audiences, booked celebrities, politicians, music acts, activists, etc. (particularly those who catered to urban audiences or were in an ethnic or sexual minority) that his competition would rarely to never touch, while still being mainstream enough to appeal to a mass audience. Ultimately this would help Arkansas governor Bill Clinton reach audiences he likely would never reach on other talk shows, which would help him get elected in 1992.
  • Christian-themed television shows can be slightly puzzling to non-Christian viewers. Touched by an Angel is probably the most prominent example of this; it lasted for 9 seasons mostly off the backs of its devoutly Christian audience.
  • Almost Live! was a Long Runner in Seattle and a television icon. Mad TV was not even going to be shown in Seattle because FOX didn't think the show could stand against it. Even now, you could probably get half of the city to give up coffee for a month to get a box set note . When Comedy Central picked it up during the Nineties, during the world's grunge-induced fascination for all things Seattle, it crashed and burned hard because much of the humor was based on local-area customs and stereotypes. It was still a great springboard for Bill Nye the Science Guy, however.
  • An interesting example of Genre overlapping with Region. In the 80s, Canada began to aggressively court American film and television producers as a relatively cheap filming location due to the exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollars. The one genre that really snapped this up was sci-fi/fantasy (The X-Files, The Stargate Verse, Smallville, Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash etc.) possibly to allow the lower production costs to offset the higher special effects costs that sci-fi inevitably has. Due to the use of local Canadian actors, it creates the interesting situation of Canadian actors being easily recognizable to American sci-fi/fantasy fans, but unknown to the mainstream. A similar effect happens with the combined talent pool of Australia/New Zealand, thanks to New Zealand-filmed shows such as Hercules The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Power Rangers and Legend of the Seeker, alongside The Lord of the Rings.
  • Before the 2000s, most Americans who weren't serious comedy nerds had probably never seen a British TV show. Most of the shows that did cross The Pond were classic comedy shows like Monty Python's Flying Circus and Are You Being Served?. These were usually seen on low-rated PBS stations. With the rise of BBC America and Internet distribution, Doctor Who and other British shows have garnered wide stateside audiences.

  • Rolling Stone and similar mags have been accused of having a rock bias. RS in particular is accused of 60s-70s bias in their lists.
  • The Source magazine, or any genre specific mag is this by default.
  • Lowrider mags, vs custom car mags (like DUB magazine), sport tuner car mags, and American muscle car mags. There's over-lap but they're somewhat significantly separated. Plus each scene has its own car culture, and preference of female models. Mags like DUB almost always have black girls AND Hispanic females, whereas the lowrider mags are more or less exclusively Hispanic, the tuner mags are almost always southeast Asian, and the muscle car mags are almost always white. Illustrative example: Ask a gearhead what a "Donk" is and he/she will reply that it's any car with huge rims, very thin-walled tires, a very expensive and flamboyant paint job and other hallmarks of "bling." Ask an editor at a Lowrider mag (or any "authentic" Lowrider enthusiast) and he/she will tell you that it's specifically a 1970s Chevrolet Caprice (independent of whether or not it's stock or blinged out - it's just a slang term for that specific type of car. He/she will also tell you that "Bricks" are 80s Caprices and "Bubbles" are 90s Caprices due to their general shape). Of course, ask an average person on the street and expect to get a blank stare.
  • When Fine Scale Modeler did an article on Gun Pla — the hobby of building Gundam plastic model kits — it was an unusual and controversial step. This despite the fact that the Gun Pla market dwarfs FSM's target market, American modelers of realistic vehicles. Tthis is not unknown in the plastic modelling community; in Great Britain, the "orthodox" historically-based hobby tends to look down on sci-fi and fantasy modellers. The respective readerships of Military Modelling and White Dwarf do not overlap, and Warhammer topics almost never make it into the "mainstream" modelling press - Mil Mod got complaints from readers when it tested this particular water.
  • Erotic or porn magazines like Playboy, Hustler, Mayfair, Penthouse,... are all well known as brands, but to most people in the mainstream this mags are just "titles". People will probably recognize Hugh Hefner as chief editor of "Playboy", but have no idea what other writers or cartoonists regularly contribute to these pages.

  • Older than Television: R&B of the 1930s and 1940s was generally known only to black people due to segregation. This isolation was made clear by a name given to R&B back then — "race music". The same happened to Jazz, Blues, and Rock & Roll.
  • Most pop-culture music trends start out this way. Punk Rock (the American version, at least) started out in lower Manhattan sometime in the mid-1970s and slowly gained a following in other big cities across the country before finally breaking through to the mainstream. Similarly, Hip Hop began in the Bronx and only gradually spread throughout the rest of New York and then to Los Angeles before going nationwide.
  • The British parallel concerns a cultural establishment - including big radio and TV names - who are based in London, consider the London scene is all and everything (and dismiss the rest of the country as "provincial"). Therefore they fail to notice what's going on outside London and only register it either when it moves South or it gets too big to ignore. Examples: "Northern Soul", a specific sort of soul beat popular in Wigan and the North-West, so popular that people from all over came north to join in, but largely ignored by the establishment. Or the way northern groups were ignored - the myth grew that Punk Rock was solely a London creation and bands from other parts of the country were simply imitating. (as the British provinces are of course populated by people incapable of creativity.)
    • A modern example is the rise of Garage, Grime and Dubstep music. Whilst not unheard of elsewhere, it surprises many how popular they are in inner city London.
    • Lots of bands in Sheffield were early adopters of synths and other electronic influenced music in the late-1970s but they stayed underground until The Human League, Heaven 17 and ABC suddenly hit the mainstream in the early 1980s. In general the Sheffield synth-pop scene often gets overlooked in histories of UK music.
  • Grunge was very popular among young white youth. But young Blacks and Latinos for the most part were somewhat oblivious to it. The Lollapalooza tour helped bridged the gap a little. The reason hip-hoppers were oblivious to the grunge movement was because Hip Hop was going through what some would call a Golden Age renaissance. Nostalgia Filter card aside, most fans believe 1994 alone crushes everything that came out in the past decade. Some argue that that era was a really, really good time period for Hip Hop and its fans. So basically, many Black/Latino youth were preoccupied by their own cultural rise.
  • The Mexican-American singer Selena might also count. How many of you knew of her before she died? Right after she died, and her murder was being covered nonstop in the press, People magazine put out an issue with Selena on the front — but only in the Southwestern US. (The rest of America got a cover with the cast of Friends.) They were probably figuring the only people who were interested in reading about Selena (AKA Latinos) were all living in that area. Except that issue not only outsold the Friends one, but also went through several reprints. It ended up spawning only the third full commemorative issue in that magazine's history, and led to the creation of People en Español. The people at the magazine grossly underestimated not only mainstream interest in Selena, but also the significant consumer power of the Latino community.
  • Some say this trope created rockism.
  • During the documentary Pump Up the Volume (a docu-series about the rise of House Music, Techno and the whole Detroit/Chicago/New York scene.) One guy was discussing the backlash against Disco around that time. He said there was a bonfire where people were standing in a line throwing in disco records (Now if you're Genre Savvy enough you know where this is leading), similar to Chicago's Disco Demolition Night. He began to notice that most of what they were burning isn't disco, but just black music in general. said he saw one guy with a Marvin Gaye record in his hand. This is also a double example as around this time House was only thriving in Chicago, and the New York underground.
    • The same documentary noted that Chicago House music first really took hold in the UK in Northern discos (such as the Hacienda in Manchester), then via D Js on holiday islands like Ibiza, and finally becoming mainstream by reaching London.
    • Many listeners dismissed disco as "too black" or "too gay," or both: making it the musical sub-genre equivalent of a Twofer Token Minority.
    • On a similar note, how many urban black people can tell you the difference between Aerosmith and Alice in Chains? Keep in mind rock is almost non-existent on black radio, so the popularity of these bands probably flew over their heads (unless you include the general mainstream media which is biased toward rock anyway). Or how about the fact some blacks got into rock thanks to bands like Faith No More, and Living Colour during the late 1980s, and Nu Metal during the late 1990s and early 2000s due to them incorporating Hip Hop, Funk and rhythm, or soulful vocals in Corey Glover's case? There's also the fact that some suburban whites can't tell you the difference between Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Run-D.M.C. To outsiders, rap music might as well all be the same. Similarly, many white people were introduced to Hip Hop through bands like Beastie Boys, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, and Linkin Park because they combined rock with rap.
      • There's always a segment of black people with a vested interest in rock music, at least stemming from the fact that rock came from black singers such as Chuck Berry. But not as much as say Hip Hop and R&B.
  • A funny sub example of this trope is that of singer Dionne Farris. Ask a white suburban person what song they know by her and they'll almost always say "I Know" (a Pop/Alt/rock song). Ask black urban music listeners and they'll say the song "Hopeless" (which is a down tempo soul song). The contrast is jarring, and funny.
  • Another example is modern radio. Which is heavily segre...uh...divided up.
    • This specific example might be at the heart of why Anastacia has had almost no luck breaking into the U.S. market. A massive success all across Europe and Asia, she is still a relatively unknown in the U.S., despite the fact that she herself is from Chicago. It's believed that since American radio is heavily format-driven and sharply divided, there isn't really a place for her eclectic sound to fit. Essentially too soulful for A/C stations, and not urban enough for urban radio stations, and not poppish enough for top 40, and not rockish enough for rock stations. No one can really seem to figure out what to do with her.
  • A inverse hip-hop example is from the east coast rapper Jadakiss when he asks "Why my buzz in L.A. ain't like it is in New York?"
    • Hip-Hop somewhat had this bad. If you're not a hardcore meticulous Hip Hop connoisseur who actively seeks out artists on your own, you probably missed out on a lot of regional acts. As radio from each region had different and diverse play lists. So whomever was popular in in the Northeast might not be as popular in the Southwest. For better or for worse it's different now though, as most stations tend to follow a VERY strict playlist. And for the most part they're more or less the same around the country. Likely because most radio stations are corporate owned now instead of privately owned.
    • Queen Latifah said if it wasn't for rappers like NWA she wouldn't have known what life was like in south central LA.
  • Go to a few rock concerts and you'll see a sprinkle of a few black kids, But not a lot. In the documentary Afro Punk, some of the black kids that were interviewed said that they didn't always feel accepted. Or when they did get acceptance, it felt like it was for the wrong reasons to them.
  • When Eminem's third album The Eminem Show was released, two different singles were promoted at the same time on different genre stations. "White America" was mostly played on the rock stations, while "Cleaning out my Closet" was played on hip-hop stations. TLC's Unpretty had 2 different versions released for radio. One was a "Urban" mix, and the other was a mix for pop radio. The latter was the original version though.
  • There's a lot of guitarists out there who are revered and recognized and put on a lot of top guitarists list. Guitarists like Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen, etc. But you'll be hard pressed to see people like Vernon Reid, John Petrucci, and Ernie Isley mentioned, or listed though. Exceptions being the politically correct choice of Jimi Hendrix, and MAYBE Eddie Hazel...maybe.
  • Clive Davis INTENTIONALLY invoked this when marketing Whitney Houston. Primarily by sending her exclusively to A/C radio stations instead of urban radio stations.
  • This might have been the seed that help formed "The Black Rock Coalition"
  • New Edition contrasted with New Kids on the Block, This is believed to be why the latter was created in the first place. Maurice Starr was apparently very Genre Savvy.
  • Three Six Mafia lampshade this with the album title "Most Known Unknowns"
  • This trope possibly explains the sub-culture division among 40 somethings when it comes to black music. In the beginning when hip-hop was in its infancy in the early eighties, only a hand full of 20-somethings were caught up in the culture of Hip Hop, while the majority of the other 20-somethings were still into the post-disco/R&B new wave funk scene. This explains the cultural schism of 40-something African Americans regarding the hip-hop culture, and why you have 40-something hip-hoppers and hip-hop artists, and 40-somethings who are outside the culture, despite being young adults around the genre's inception.
  • It can still be true today with R&B. Everybody knows Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Rihanna but very few people know India.Arie, Maxwell, Musiq Soulchild etc. outside the African-American community.
  • Similar to the New Edition and New Kids on the Block example; There was Pat Boone who used Covered Up as a way to market black music to whites. But all it did was veer into Unfortunate Implications territory..
  • Robyn had a "urban mix" for "Do You Really Want Me" for urban radio stations. She also counts in another way in that some think she's a new artist, but she's been around since 1995.
  • Arcade Fire took home a Grammy for Best Album in 2011. They're not signed onto a major label, and apparently not known by a very large portion of the population, prompting various "WTF WHO ARE THESE GUYS AND WHY'D THEY TAKE GAGA'S BEST ALBUM AWARD?" Tweets and Facebook posts. Chronicled in this Tumblr blog, with a heaping helping of Fan Dumb.
  • This is also the reason why many R&B/Pop artists usually have to release two singles at a time: one for pop radio and the other for the urban market.
    • Beyoncé basically had a Distinct Double Album (I Am...Sasha Fierce) for this - one side being the soft pop ballad and the other being urban jams. She released "If I Were A Boy" mainly for pop radio and "Single Ladies" for the urban market. The experiment Succeeded Too Well and the biggest hits from the album were only the urban songs.
    • Chris Brown is balancing his F.A.M.E. album to have pop and urban singles and released the poppy "Yeah 3x" to pop radio to compliment "Deuces".
    • Usher had the megahit OMG that topped the pop charts and didn't really make a dent in the urban market.
    • And, in 2010, Kelly Rowland released three singles, each for different market - "Commander" for international (i.e. non-US) audiences, "Rose Colored Glasses" for American pop radio, and "Grown Woman" for the urban market.
    • Ce Ce Peniston might have been the prototype, with one foot in house music, and the other in R&B/New Jack Swing.
  • For not only a whole generation but perhaps a largely white audience who grew up with Phil Collins as the drummer (and later, also lead singer) of Genesis, his transformation from white British art-rocker with hair down to his belly and a long white robe singing about squonks and eleventh Earls of Mar to 1980s, commercial, electronic blue-eyed soul/funk/soft rock singer in a suit and tie singing "Su-Su-Sudio" can be controversial. For a generation (and skin color) who know Phil's pop hits through black radio playing his MTV-era hits and who wouldn't necessarily pick up a copy of A Trick of the Tail, you would have the likes of Ice-T put in his place a white, smarmy, hipster rock journalist picking on the Phil Collins CDs in Ice's collection during an interview with Ice by responding, "Don't you mess with my Phil!" Similarly, the Genre Shift that The Doobie Brothers took by the late '70s from guitar-driven country-rock (with mild R&B influences) led by Tom Johnstone ("Listen To The Music"; "Black Water"; "Long Train Runnin'"; "China Grove") to the keyboard-heavy blue-eyed soul style led by Michael McDonald ("Takin' It To The Streets"; "What A Fool Believes"; "Minute By Minute"; "You Belong To Me") might possibly be more of a shock for white rock audiences than urban black audiences who would be less likely to pick a copy up of Toulouse Street or What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.
  • Similar to the Dionne Farris example above, this trope can apply to Signature Songs as well. If a artist is popular in more than one demographic it's HIGHLY likely that each group has their own opinion of what that artist's signature song is.
  • The death of R&B singer Aaliyah completely gutted the Hip Hop and R&B community with huge outpourings of mourning and tributes. When it came around to the mainstream media to react, most of the entertainment news outlets (that primarily cover white celebs) didn't even have her death as the top story, and they had to use Gladys Knight (Aaliyah's former aunt and close family friend) in order to make her more relevant to that audience.
  • Like the Whitney Houston example above, the same could be said for *NSYNC. This trope combined with the But Not Too Black trope was how they were marketed by their handlers. They didn't start courting urban audiences till the Celebrity album.
  • It is fiendishly difficult for J Pop and K Pop artists to cross over to American shores. Even Utada Hikaru (who is American) has had a difficult time despite switching up the production of her second U.S. album. And she's one of the most popular music artists in Japan and still has the worldwide record for most albums sold in a week. Both she and BoA tried for U.S. success, but couldn't expand beyond the people who already were fans. The only K Pop artist most Americans are familiar with is Psy.
    • Between both of the genres however, K Pop has a slight edge over them as the genre is very popular among Asians while J Pop at the moment is stuck in its own nation.
  • Instead of making a straight dance song, a lot of singles from the early-90s on come with dance mixes to get play in clubs and on dance radio shows, adding in bigger beats and a beginning drum track for transitions. Depending on the release, these tracks might be included as a bonus track on an album, on the single, or only on a special "DJ Mix" single. This means if you don't hear it in a club, you probably won't hear this version at all. This was even done in country music, where songs already suitable for line dancing had the beat jacked up and an extended bridge.
  • A main cause of Covered Up, where an artist in one genre covers a song from another.
  • Country Music. According to one survey, 38% of American adults are country music fans... but 25.4% of that group only listens to country music. While the stereotype of country music listeners being exclusively down-market blue collar types is no longer true, regional and demographic appeal does vary. Some urban markets have few to no country stations, with New York City not having one for years until 2013, when a commercial owner bought Family Radio's east coast flagship and converted it to the homogenous "Nash FM", a format which only plays the same few 'new country' songs. And with that, little to no knowledge of any country act who hasn't crossed over into pop (e.g. Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum). On top of that, country is also one of the whitest genres by far — Charley Pride and Darius Rucker (yes, the guy from Hootie & the Blowfish) are pretty much the only black country artists who have had any long term success.
    • On the religious side of this, Gospel Music, often called Southern Gospel to distinguish it from the very different-looking and sounding Black Gospel, has this in spades. At one time it was the most popular form of Christian music outside of church hymns, but these days it is distinctly a niche market and one that is hemorrhaging fans at an alarming rate as it primarily appeals to people who were young when the genre became popular. But ask a Southern Gospel fan and you'd get the impression that it's still the only "real" Christian music out there, and the current groups (most of which perform mostly in churches to crowds of less than a hundred) are super-stars that everyone knows about. The groups themselves usually have side-jobs because performing in this genre doesn't pay well, and often break up due to not being able to so much as break even. If you're a Southern Gospel fan, you likely believe the Inspirations, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Gold City, the Kingsmen, the Nelons, Karen Peck & New River, Greater Vision or the Booth Brothers are incredibly popular. If you're not, you likely have never even heard these names before, even if you're a regular church attender.
  • As far the United Kingdom is concerned, pop music in languages other than English does not exist. The fact that most Brits are hopeless at foreign languages doesn't help.
    • Very, very occasionally a song in French ("Dominique", "Je t'aime"), German (Kraftwerk's "Autobahn"), Italian ("Vado Via"), Spanish (Los Lobos's cover of "La Bamba") or ecclesiastical Latin (Steeleye Span's cover of "Gaudete") will hit the British charts. These average about one a decade, discounting things like the Beatles' Michelle (the French bits are a bit pidgin). Usually the only way to get a true international hit is to be completely instrumental or only have limited English within a song (Eiffel 65's "Blue"). The last foreign-language hit was probably O-Zone's Dragostea Din Tei (Romanian) in 2004.
  • This likely played a part in Mariah Carey's Broken Base. When her music became more urban and less adult contemporary her fans whined about the inclusion of Hip Hop. Some even went as far as blaming the change on the insecurities she have regarding her cultural background and ethnicity.
  • This is the case any time artists commit Genre Adultery. It's hard to sell a new genre to your fan base who is only used to the genre you are known for doing.
  • Da Yoopers. Extremely popular in Michigan (particularly the Upper Peninsula, from which their name is derived) and Wisconsin, where countless stations will play "Second Week of Deer Camp" around hunting season in November, and "Rusty Chevrolet" around Christmas. Outside maybe one or two stations here or there, they're almost total unknowns. It probably doesn't help that many of their songs are local in nature, and that they've always been on limited distribution on their own label.
  • Unless you were a member or were a band kid in school, you have probably never heard of the Blue Devils, Carolina Crown, the Cadets, Santa Clara Vanguard, Phantom Regiment, or the Cavaliers. In case you're wondering - they're drum corps.
    • Even within the drum corps fanbase, there is a lack of familiarity with the all-age circuit (as opposed to the above junior corps, where the maximum age is 21), since it is primarily a Northeast regional phenomenon. However, a number of corps from outside the region (Minnesota Brass Inc., Atlanta CV, San Francisco Renegades) have made inroads into that circuit.
  • This trope was very deliberately subverted with Hall And Oates in The '80s. They noticed, certainly after disco died, how racially segregated white and black radio stations were becoming, and sought to create a blue-eyed soul/pop/new wave/rock/dance style that was partly informed by white and black influences and would appeal to both audiences, which they succeeded in doing for the first half of that decade.
  • Amongst the general public, Nat King Cole is acknowledged as a great singer, for classics like “Unforgettable”. Amongst musicians it’s understood his real contribution to music was revolutionising jazz piano playing. This is to the extent that his brilliant innovations provided a bridge towards a style of piano playing that fit bebop.
  • Many underground/internet phenomenons, even after they break through to larger audiences. Lana Del Rey is a good example.
  • The Decemberists, unless you live in the Pacific Northwest or are an indie fan.
  • Anything Macklemore did before The Heist is fairly unknown unless you are from the Seattle area. Even fewer people know anything about Ryan Lewis, his producer, besides his name.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic doesn't exist unless you're a geek, you lived during The '80s, or both.
  • Judas Priest is one of the oldest and most influential heavy metal bands of all time. Most metal fans, regardless of their favorite subgenre, have a deep respect for the band and can name a lot of their songs. Despite this, Judas Priest isn't very well known in the mainstream. Their biggest hit, "You've Got Another Thing Coming", peaked at number 66 on the UK singles chart and number 4 on the US rock chart in the year 1982.
  • Social media activity during Eurovision is split into two categories: Europeans (and, rather curiously, Australians) talking about it and Americans asking "What the hell is Eurovision and why is everyone talking about it?"
  • In 2014, U2 released their new album on iTunes, and even "sent automatically" to many iPhone users. Reactions included a whole Tumblr regarding "Who Is U2" tweets. (most who don't know Bono and co. are either young fans of teen pop stars [mostly One Direction - see below] or Black people)
  • Music fan communities. 90% of the time pop artists' fan followings come up in the news it's either Justin Bieber's fans or One Direction's (although as of 2014 it's usually only the latter). You almost never hear about Little Monsters, KatyCats, Smilers, Hooligans, etc. unless you're an avid fan of pop music or part of a fandom. This is mostly because the former two fanbases are (or were, in Bieber's case) significantly larger than others. Male idol singers and boy bands (i.e., The Wanted, Big Time Rush, Austin Mahone) are disadvantaged in that the most popular acts typically have so tight a monopoly on the teenage girl demographic that it's almost impossible for any of their peers to break through. Older male acts and groups (i.e., Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5) typically don't cater to a rabid teen audience and are instead fueled by their universal appeal. Female acts (i.e., Katy Perry, Rihanna, Taylor Swift) have a similar mass-appeal factor, but boys don't idolize musicians the same way girls do, the female demographic they do appeal to is nowhere near as enthusiastic for female music idols as for their male counterparts, and the remainder of their fans are gay males, which makes up less than 3% of the population.
  • Boy bands have been a huge worldwide phenomenon since the 1990s, but most such artists don't make it far outside their home country. While American boy bands have generally had the most success abroad, only two international groups were able to achieve superstardom over there — One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer. And even then, the latter blur the line between a boy band and pop-punk act and only broke through by piggybacking off the former's popularity.
  • Avant-garde Music: Few artists get some general fame outside their niche. And even then it's usually more for being interviewed or being subject of a news report or documentary, rather than the music itself.
  • Green Day are one of the most popular rock bands of recent times. But the millennial generation are largely unfamiliar with any of their work predating American Idiot with the exception of their 1998 Black Sheep Hit "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)."
  • In the Southern United States, aside from major cities, it's possible to drive for hours without encountering anything but country stations on the radio
    • Somewhat related, is the launch and sudden, inexplicable, inevitable failure of alternative rock stations in these areas. This is largely due to the tech-savviness of that demographic as they were early adapters to innovation such as internet radio, while country and hip-hop demographics are less likely to have internet connections.
  • Robin Thicke has been a household name to R&B audiences for many years but he is known to the general public almost exclusively for "Blurred Lines."
  • Not very many Americans under 25 will be able to name a Daft Punk song other than "Get Lucky," as it was their only hit there and most of their other international hits came more than a decade earlier.
  • John Legend is either a well-respected R&B singer-songwriter or the "All of Me" guy, depending on whether or not you listen to R&B radio.
  • Mark Ronson: In the UK, he's a very successful producer; in America his only claim to fame is being the official lead artist on "Uptown Funk," a song almost universally associated over there with Bruno Mars.
  • Wiz Khalifa, despite being one of the biggest names in the rap world is primarily known to pop audiences for "See You Again," his hit song from the Furious 7 soundtrack. This, despite the fact that he also had a #1 hit with "Black & Yellow" and did a few memorable guest verses on other hit songs like Maroon 5's "Payphone."
  • James Newton Howard is a respected name as a composer. Outside of that audience however, he is only known for being the actual lead artist of "The Hanging Tree" from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack — assuming they know that it's not actually Jennifer Lawrence.
  • Rita Ora is a megastar in the UK, but in the US she's only known for three things: 1. singing the chorus in Iggy Azalea's major hit "Black Widow", 2. appearing in Fifty Shades of Grey, and 3. being a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Rihanna.
  • It's virtually impossible for rappers from international markets to get any sort of following in the US. Only two British hip-hop artists have gotten hits there in the span of twenty years — Stereo MCs with their Top 20 song "Connected" in 1993, and Tinie Tempah with "Written in the Stars" in 2010. Both are one-hit wonders despite their popularity at home. The rest are completely unheard of, which includes the popular UK genre Grime. Mention that genre to Americans, and you'll like be met with puzzled looks. Only two international rappers have had continued success stateside — Drake and Iggy Azalea. However, they did so by imitating American hip-hop culture. The results couldn't have been any more different — the former's Canadian nationality has become a footnote while the latter quickly became the 21st century equivalent of Vanilla Ice.
  • Walk the Moon is either one of the most promising indie rock bands on the market or those guys who made "Shut Up and Dance", depending on whether or not you're in the alternative scene.
  • Electronic Music group Clean Bandit are superstars in the UK. In the US, they're known for "Rather Be" and nothing else. Back home, that song was a Breakthrough Hit that led to many more hits. Stateside, they faded into complete obscurity afterwards.
  • Disclosure are massively popular in the UK but in America are known almost exclusively for "Latch" and are essentially a footnote to what is seen as a Sam Smith song.
  • Hozier: Is he either a well-respected Northern Irish singer-songwriter, or the guy who sang "Take Me To Church"? It depends on what audience you're part of.
  • PSY is either one of the biggest music stars in Korean history or guy behind one of the biggest one-hit wonders of the 2010s depending on whether or not you're a fan of Korean music.
  • Avicii is absolutely massive in the EDM scene, but to general (American) audiences he's only recognized for two songs: "Levels" and "Wake Me Up!"
  • Andy Grammer and Rachel Platten are both hot new singer-songwriters on the adult pop radio scene, but outside of that format, good luck naming any songs by them other than "Honey I'm Good" and "Fight Song," respectively. That being said, many people do remember Grammer from two minor 2011/12 hits, "Keep Your Head Up" and "Fine By Me", but still know Platten for only "Fight Song".
  • In the progressive rock community, Steve Hackett is a well-known figure, both for his contributions to Genesis and for his solo career, which contains a massive amount of records and is still going to this day. Outside of the community, if you were to ask someone about him, chances are they either won't know who you're talking about, or they'll only know him as a former guitarist of Genesis. In fact, since most (if not all) of the Genesis songs that still receive regular radio airplay are from after he left the band, and since Hackett himself doesn't release singles for his albums, a lot of people outside of the progressive rock community (especially the younger listeners) probably haven't heard his work.
  • Outside of Oceania, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who can name a New Zealand artist that isn't Lorde (maybe KeithUrban, who was born in New Zealand, will get a mention, but he's more associated with Australia).
    • Lorde herself is an example. For many she's a breath of fresh air in the world of pop music and is one of the most promising artists on the market, but others can only name "Royals" (or "Team", and maybe "Tennis Court"). More than a few people only know about her because she got parodied on South Park.
  • Major Lazer is a huge name in the world of EDM, enough to even get its own TV show. To the general public however, the only song from them that most people can name is "Lean On".
  • What is Lynyrd Skynyrd's signature song? If you're a rabid fan of rock music (whether it's classic, mainstream, or active) or part of the Guitar Hero/Rock Band community, you're most likely going to say "Free Bird." To the greater public however, their most famous song by far is "Sweet Home Alabama."
  • Journey are, to certain audiences, rock legends, but to many people born after their heyday in the 1980s, they're known almost exclusively for their 1981 anthem "Don't Stop Believin'."
  • Boston are, to certain audiences, rock legends, but to many people born after their heyday in the 1970s, they're known almost exclusively for their 1976 anthem "More Than a Feeling."
  • Survivor are, to certain audiences, rock legends, but to many people born after their heyday in the 1980s, they're known almost exclusively for their 1982 anthem "Eye of the Tiger."
  • Kansas are, to certain audiences, rock legends, but to many people born after their heyday in the 1970s, they're known almost exclusively for their 1976 anthem "Carry On Wayward Son."
  • Depending on whether or not you listen to progressive rock, Marillion is either one of the more underrated bands to come out of that genre, or they're the guys who made that '80s synthpop song "Kayleigh". They did have at least two other minor hits in the UK, but that song was the most popular.
  • Jpop, as stated above, is stuck in its home country. Doujin Music, gets hit with this trope much harder that even Jpop fans doesn't know much about them. For instance, Chata is hailed as the queen of doujin music, but she is only known within doujin music enthusiasts.

    New Media 

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Most comic strips start out in only one newspaper (usually a paper in a region of a country where the cartoonist works) and then are nationally syndicated, sometimes not until years later. More than a few strips have ended up dying on the vine - at least in some parts of the country - due to censorship.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • The territory days of Pro Wrestling used to define this trope. A wrestler who may have been huge in one area may have been relatively unknown to fans in another area. The WWF expansion and cable tv pretty much put an end to this however.
  • For that matter, wrestling itself could be a victim of this. Wrestlers like Jeff Hardy or CM Punk are household names among wrestling fans, but have little or no mainstream recognition. Only a handful of wrestlers are known to non-wrestling fans (i.e., Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, etc)

  • Radio is usually blamed for this phenomenon when it comes to music isolation.
  • Several radio presenters and stars are unknown to the general public unless they also happen to appear on TV.

  • The Ultimate Fighting Championship, AKA The UFC has dealt with this for problem for awhile, mainly due to the sport's previous violent image and detractors being unable (or unwilling) to get past it. Around the late 90's the UFC repackaged the sport as "Mixed Martial Arts" in an attempt to be taken seriously. It took a reality television show to gain wide acceptance. UFC has outsold boxing quite handily ever since '06, with '07 being the exception. Most of the sports broad casting community to this day refuses to except it as a legit sport. Some even went as far as to accuse it of being a poor (white) person's version of boxing, due to the UFC's heavy young white male demographics compared to boxing. Today, while most people couldn't them you the names of the champions in each weight class, could at least tell you what the sport is. And with the UFC's broadcasting deal with Fox, the days of the UFC being considered a niche sport are most likely over.
    • There is one major aversion: Ronda Rousey. Although she was very well-known in UFC circles ever since her debut in 2013, her 2015 match with Bethe Correia truly broke her into the mainstream like no UFC star has done before.
  • X-treme Sports
  • College Basketball/Football's SWAC division.
    • The MEAC too. Many of the schools in both divisions have traditions that are every bit as entrenched as the more well-known Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools. For example, each year a football team from a SWAC school meets a team from the MEAC in Indianapolis for the Circle City Classic. The festivities that lead up to the game draw more people to Central Indiana than any annual event besides the Indy 500, yet it's almost completely unknown to non African-Americans outside of the area.
  • Soccer, of course. (at least in North America)
    • That's a Cyclic Trope. I think every generation we'll have a Pele or a David Beckham, but they'll be few and far between.
    • But there are millions of soccer fans in America — enough to post decent numbers for European soccer broadcasts on ESPN/FSC and keep Major League Soccer's numbers growing. However, unless it's World Cup time, non-fans are unlikely to hear anything about soccer in America unless they very closely follow sports journalism.
    • Note that the sitcom Sports Night had a scene where the characters — who were professional American sports reporters! — were challenging each other to simply name American soccer teams.
    • The same is also true for Grid Iron/American Football. While there are teams and leagues across Europe (Britain hosts more than a few) the sport is largely ignored by the mainstream press except around the Super Bowl.
  • Just like soccer, Ice Hockey has a huge following in the US (it is the 4th most popular sport after all), but mainstream coverage is sorely lacking.
    • Again like soccer, it's a Cyclic Trope. Wayne Gretzky and The Mighty Ducks helped it out in the late 80s-early 90s but by the 2000s it faded out again, primarily due to the fumbling of the NHL's TV rights and having the league dropped from ESPN who now actively tries make its viewers believe the sport doesn't exist outside of the NCAA Division I championshipnote . Nowadays popularity is resurging again on the heels of new generation superstars like Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews, while the merger of Comcast and NBC-Universal saw the not-well-known Versus (the league's cable partner) become the NBC Sports Network, bringing a more recognizable brand and greater exposure. Unfortunately, NBCSN is still a distant 2nd to ESPN who now has more reason to put the sport down now that it's cozy with their only real competition.
    • Ironically, ESPN was originally founded to broadcast Hartford Whalers games. Fans of the Carolina Hurricanes joke that it was that move and name change that ticked of ESPN about Hockey.
    • The near-constant contract disputes and lockouts (to the point the fans joke about how often their seasons are at risk of cancellation) don't help.
  • Lacrosse, along a similar vein. Oldest sport in the United States, older than the country itself, but played, almost exclusively from Virginia to New York. It's expanding rapidly, though, heralded as the fastest growing sport in the nation. It's still almost exclusively played by white, upper-middle class boys.
    • Archer has helped awareness, and the writers seem to actually know that they're talking about, usually.
  • Team handball is sort of a big deal in certain parts of Europe, but pretty much nobody ever gets to see it outside the Summer Olympics. When they do see it, however, they're impressed: The Sports Guy Bill Simmons called it "a loony cross between hockey, basketball, lacrosse and Vince Vaughn's Dodgeball movie, only if it was created for people with ADD" and called for it to be brought to the US with a few minor tweaks.
    • Even in countries where it has some popularity handball isn't that big a deal. For instance, in Brazil it's the most played sport in physical education class, and the female national team won the 2013 world championship - but the Brazilian tournament suffers from lack of exposure and financing.
  • Until the late nineteenth century, sports were generally for the wealthy. Once athletic contests began to appeal to middle-class and working-class people, many of the more elitist sports (polo, regattas, fencing, etc.) fell into obscurity or semi-obscurity.
    • This leads to the fact the IOC has to help the sports that aren't lucrative outside the Olympic Games, particularly during the recession.
  • Cricket: Some estimates put it as the second most popular sport in the world after soccer (mainly due to its popularity in India), but it has never really caught on outside of the British Empire (with the possible exceptions of the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates). In the USA, it barely rates a mention today, despite the fact that it was popular until around the time of the civil war, and in fact the first international cricket match was played between the USA and Canada in 1844. Anecdotal evidence even suggests that George Washington himself was a cricket enthusiast!
  • As the name suggests, Australian Rules Football is mostly only popular in Australia - but did you know that it's a regional game there? Despite being the dominant code in 4 of Australia's 6 states, it still struggles to find a following in the other two (New South Wales and Queensland, the first and third most populous respectively), even with two teams based in each of those states in the national competition.
  • Red Bull Crashed Ice, otherwise known as downhill ice cross, is very popular among Canadian extreme sports fans but unknown to most of the world.
  • Welsh Rugby Union referee Nigel Owens experienced this when travelling to the US. Going through airport security, he stated he was visiting for his work as a rugby referee, at which point the security personnel asked "what's rugby?".
  • In the UK, any racket sport except tennis isn't generally noticed unless it's an Olympic sport in an Olympic year where we might have a medal chance. Squash, badminton and "real" tennis (the tennis you see at Wimbledon etc. is technically "lawn" tennis) barely get a mention.

    Tabletop Games 
  • To most people, Roleplaying Games other than video games is maybe something nerds did in highschool, and they may have heard the name Dungeons & Dragons, but the idea of it being a complex hobby mostly pursued by adults is unthinkable. "Board games" means Monopoly or Risk. Miniature wargaming can only be explained in terms of chess and toy soldiers.
  • Similarly, most trading card games. Thousands of dollars in prizes are given away worldwide in some of the bigger tournaments (mostly Magic The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh!), but most people still consider them kids' games, and would only recognize a "professional" player if they cross over into something slightly more mainstream, like poker.
  • And even with poker, only a few of the big names are well-known. And with the consequences of the poker boom, very few outside hardcore poker nuts could tell you who won the most recent World Series of Poker main event.

  • Since theatre actors are usually not famous to the general public unless they appear in film or TV you can have actors who have a long and successful theatrical career, yet are completely unknown unless you often go the theater.
  • Broadway actors often refer to themselves as "only famous for a couple of blocks". There are performers with astounding track records of roles and piles of awards who are absolute unknowns outside of New York City. Some have shaken this with success in film and television (such as Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Cheyenne Jackson, Aaron Tveit, Lea Michele, and Jonathan Groff most recently), but going through a list of names of Tony winners will leave the average person scratching their head. From The New Tens winners alone: Norbert Leo Butz? Sutton Foster? Audra McDonald, who won a record-setting sixth acting Tony in 2014? This is somewhat justified. A successful Broadway show can launch a tour or sister production in another city — most often London; the cities are Transatlantic siblings since it's easy to transfer a show from one to the other as there's no need to translate it into another language — but the original leads usually don't leave New York. Most theater productions are not recorded for posterity, aside from cast albums for musicals, limiting the audience for these actors to devoted Broadway fans and those who come to New York and see them. This also applies to London's West End stars; just substitute Oliviers for Tonys — Maria Friedman? Michael Ball? Even actors who've racked up honors on both sides of The Pond remain unknown to the masses — Mark Rylance? Douglas Hodge? Many of these performers do film and/or TV as well, but they're usually relegated to supporting/minor roles or guest spots, albeit well-compensated ones.
  • Theatre in general, at least in North America, has become something of a niche medium in the mainstream media. The Tony Awards are still regarded as one of the big four awards shows, along with the Academy Awards (film), Emmy Awards (television), and Grammy Awards (music), but posts far smaller ratings than those three, owing to declining interest in what's making waves in New York City. Even entertainment-focused outlets tends to ignore live theatre unless someone famous in another medium decides to take a stab at Broadway. This, combined with a desire to bring in people who wouldn't see a show otherwise, leads to Stunt Casting and/or limited-run shows that can accommodate a superstar's other commitments.

    Video Games 
  • GTA's radio stations are a great example of this. Some of the DJs even take shots at the other stations.
  • The ZX Spectrum is fondly remembered in Britain and Eastern Europe, but highly obscure in the United States.
    • Consoles (not counting shady NES clones) were a niche market in Eastern Europe for the better part of the nineties. If you went to Poland about 1992 or so and asked a random gamer about Metroid, Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda, he'd stare at you blankly, then ask what computer were they released on.
      • In some parts of America, Nintendo was a byword for "gaming console" throughout the 90s due to their enormous market share in the industry, especially due to its revival of the home console market after The Great Video Game Crash of 1983. For a while, even dedicated gamers of a certain age would refer to most consoles as "a nintendo" (small "n" usually), even if it wasn't Nintendo made. Outside the US, Nintendo didn't have as much of a visible impact since gaming was largely PC driven.
      • In Russia a similar thing happened in the 90s: in the absence of PCs and consoles, the NES clone "Dendy" became a generic name for any gaming console, and a lot of popular NES-era games were unknown because they were neither sold nor pirated.
  • How many people (including gamers) do you think have even heard of The Great Video Game Crash of 1983? Let alone know that it nearly spelled the end for console gaming as a whole?

  • Virtually any webcomic, no matter how popular, will go almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media. This can be observed by their Wikipedia articles — many webcomic articles have been deleted, while the few holdouts are widely padded with self-reference, and at best one or two third-party sources. The few that have ascended to mainstream notability include xkcd, Penny Arcade, Megatokyo, and Ctrl+Alt+Del.

    Web Original 
  • Anything that becomes popular on the Internet tends to stay in that particular sector of the Internet and completely unknown to those who don't use the Internet much or stay in a few social circles. Memes are an especially visible example: Familiarity with very popular ones like Longcat or Trollface is a good Internet-savviness litmus test. Periphery Demographics are another example; Pokémon is still seen as weird for adults to enjoy, for instance, among casual Internet users. Because things that become popular on the Internet rarely make much headway offline, spending large amounts of time on the Internet can cause a pretty skewed idea of general trends. There are exceptions though, most notably teenage girl phenomena that lead towards mainstream commercial success, like Justin Bieber, or concepts that get popularized in mainstream media such as the YouTube memetic videos referenced in the South Park episode "Canada on Strike."
    • In fact, whether or not an internet meme has been featured on mainstream media is generally considered a good indicator of whether or not that meme is now Deader Than Disco.
  • Being a famous video producer on the Internet is kind of a half fame. On one hand millions of viewers world wide can check a certain producer out, but at the same time many are only famous to people who regularly visit the Internet and even then some may be unaware of highly successful sites, unless they stumble upon them. The Nostalgia Critic is a good example. He's been active since 2008, gained quite some notoriety due to his high production values - releasing new videos every week - and has a large enough following to make a living off of it. Yet he still hasn't made much of a mark in mainstream media and even on the Internet itself there are many people who have never seen one of his videos or are only vaguely aware of him.
    • Nostalgia Critic affiliate Film Brain admitted that this is even tougher for producers who use a video hosting service that isn't YouTube, as the general public aren't really aware that other services exist.
  • Speaking of YouTube, this extends to YouTube celebrities. Millions of subscribers, but the odds of your average person knowing one of them isn't very good. The reactions on the YouTube React channel sometimes hints that most of them don't actually get this.
  • 4chan, while a cornerstone of internet culture, is very obscure outside it. Its main claim to fame outside of it is "The Fappening."

    Western Animation 
  • As strange as it may sound today, Disney fell victim to this trope for a very long time within the United States. While the studio was always massively popular from Chicago to the west coast (especially in California), everywhere east of Chicago its reception was a bit more lukewarm. Film critics considered the studio's output kitschy at best, and people used the term "Mickey Mouse" to refer to something poorly constructed or put together. The main reason for the Disney attractions at the 1964 New York World's Fair was for Walt Disney to prove to his studio that there was a market for Disney on the east coast, an experiment which proved successful and ultimately culminated in the opening of Disney World in central Florida in 1971; but even then, they didn't really gain the reputation they have today until the late 1980s/early 1990s. This was pretty much exemplified in the mid 1980s when New York City native Michael Eisner became CEO of the studio, and sheepishly admitted to the California-based board of directors that he had never actually seen a Disney film before taking the job.
  • As referenced in Anime above, many Voice Actors are unknown to the mainstream unless they've done some sort of live-action acting. It's a rarity that a voice actor is known for just their voice acting; even Mel Blanc was known mostly for being on The Jack Benny Program before the popularity of Looney Tunes shot through the roof.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Popular to the point of ubiquity on the internet, but still relatively obscure to a lot of people who don't go online much, or don't get the cable channel the show is broadcast on. If anything, it's likely to get most of its exposure from mainstream media poking fun at its adult fanbase, i.e. "bronies." This may lead to the impression that most of the fanbase is just weird.

  • Most major sci-fi/anime/comics conventions (except for San Diego ComicCon, which has become very mainstream and a crucial stop on many promotional tours) are not nearly as well known outside of various geek communities (and the locals of the particular city where the con is usually held). For instance, Dragon*Con is well known to geeks and Atlantans, but not very many else.
    • ComicCon itself used to be a case of this up until the mid 00s. Now judging from the sheer amounts of game (and movie) related announcements, one would think the event is now E3 2.0.
    • Similar regarding furry cons and meets - there are multiple ones in most major countries, to the point where people can make a lifestyle out of travelling to different ones when they are on. It's also a great financial boost for the local economies when they are held (often to the pleasant surprise of hotel staff). Yet, the fandom has sprung up largely due to the Internet and doesn't widely advertise itself. Generally speaking furries don't want the media covering them because it's historically presented the fandom as consisting solely of fetishists (who are a vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless).
  • Quite a few white people appear to be unaware of the But Not Too Black controversy. Ironic since every daytime talk show known to man from Ricki Lake to Jenny Jones to Tyra Banks has covered this issue.
    • Inversely a lot of black people think this issue is only seen within their community, but it's very prominent in Asian and Hispanic communities as well.
  • Back in the times of the Cold War, it was possible to receive West German TV-programs in most places of East Germany - except in the area of the Dresden Basin. Because of this lack of information regarding Western news coverage and of course also Western pop culture, it was accordingly called the "Valley of the Clueless".
    • In turn, few West Germans bothered to consume East German pop culture, which now can cause Pop Culture Isolation in re-unified Germany.
  • TONS of Internet models and celebrities that are made famous through the net are more or less obscure in pure mainstream media. Basically any model or obscure female actress that's ever appeared on or in Stuff magazine, Maxim, or FHM. Sure people on the net are familiar. But to the general public they might as well be nobodies
    • Their attractiveness is what help them get noticed in the first place despite being D-Listers. Case in point Jaime King pre-Sin City. You'd be hard pressed to find someone in the mainstream who knew who she was. But Maxim magazine and people on the internet did. Interestingly enough she hasn't done anything mainstream since. Likewise with Emmanuelle Vaugier prior to CSI: NY.
    • Cindy Margolis probably being the Ur-Example. From the way the Internet treated her you'd thought she was a break out star or something.
    • Then there's Tila "Tequila" Nguyen.
    • Amber Rose as well is gradually heading down this road thanks to photoblogs. Dating Kanye West probably helped.
  • Music video models are the same way obviously. Lots of rock fans know who Bobbie Brown, and Tawny Kitaen are. While urban music video watchers are probably only vaguely familiar if that. Same goes for models that appear in urban music video like Esther Baxter, Melyssa Ford, and Summer Walker etc...Even in that context there's not a lot of people who know them outside certain internet circles (I.E. Hip Hop Image Boards, where they're well known and popular). But bring their names up in certain mainstream social circles and you would get blank stares.
  • Unfortunately Black History Month has become this instead of being seen as part of American history too. Especially Native American History Month which is November.
  • Most popular porn stars who aren't Jenna Jameson or Ron Jeremy... although some might get some mainstream attention primarily from news outlets because of some type of controversy surrounding said performers or the industry itself, like the Belladonna and Sasha Grey Primetime Live/The Insider news interviews (respectively) for example.
    • Interestingly enough even the most obscure porn star can have tens of thousands of twitter followers. Of course, they do say that The Internet Is for Porn...
  • This trope with a dusting of racism might be the cause of all of the numerous segregated proms in the south, which have offended black teens and other minority teenagers.
    • Sorority pledges are the same way. There's usually flame wars on and off the net over whether people are "forcing" groups to accept them (usually saying it makes people secretly accept them less), while another group claims why would you wanna be apart of said racist group anyway. Or they'll accuse the group of wanting to be white, if there was likely a black sorority they could have joined.
  • A lot of cynics think this is why interracial relationships/marriages can't work unless they're from the same socio-economic background and are fully assimilated into mainstream American culture (or whatever culture their significant other is from).
    • Which is sad, as they could see the very same circumstances as an opportunity to learn from each other and widen their horizon.
  • E! network host Sal Masekela noted in an interview with Jay-Z that entertainment news media and tabloids generally don't cover black celebrities. Quite frankly, black celebs should probably see that as a blessing in disguise.
    • Unfortunately, on the flip side there's urban gossip mags and blogs to compensate for this, especially during the past ten years.
  • The aforementioned magazines like FHM, Maxim, Stuff, and so on run on this trope. It's a pretty safe bet that most people outside the internet have never heard of half of the listed people in Maxim's Hot 100. Just mention the name Gemma Atkinsonnote  to some random American and they wouldn't know who the hell you're talking about.
    • These mags have black counterparts as well like King, SMOOTH, and Black Men Magazine. And most of the models within are hardly known outside of Hip Hop message boards.
    • Playboy Playmates fall into this category as well. Although some Playmates have crossed over into the mainstream (Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy, Anna Nicole Smith), others are virtually unknown to those who aren't avid Playboy readers. For that matter, it's been noted that Marilyn Monroe was the only actress to have a smash career after appearing in the magazine.
  • If a country has regions that speak different languages they tend to develop their own cultures based on these languages.
    • In Canada, Quebec has many musicians, actors, and comedians that are unknown in the rest of Canada unless they also do English-language work.
  • Linux powers sites like Google (as well as Android) and hardcore geeks run it on their desktops, but among people who even know what an operating system is in the first place, they're more likely to be familiar with Windows or Mac OS X.
  • If you walk into a store that caters to wargamers, a store that caters to model train hobbyists, and a general crafts store, you will see very similar merchandise on the shelves, but the staff are likely to be completely unaware of their "competitors".
    • Similarly, stores where wargaming is king vs. stores where roleplaying and/or TCGs are king vs. stores where video gaming is king.
  • This is pretty common with universities in the United States, For example, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are the two top universities in Michigan and both attract huge numbers of students from all over the state. However, go to a more distant state like New Jersey, and you'll find plenty of Wolverines but hardly any Spartans.
    • With the exceptions of Ivy League schools and certain other prestigious colleges like MIT and Stanford, most national universities are known almost exclusively for their football and/or men's basketball teams.
  • Belgium is a literal example of this trope. The country is divided by a language barrier and as a result people from Flanders (the Dutch speaking part) and Wallony (the French speaking part) will often not be familiar with celebrities from opposite the language barrier. There are exceptions, of course, but while singer and TV star Annie Cordy, for instance, is an icon in Wallony she is practically obscure in Flanders. Flemish singer Will Tura is a huge star in Flanders, but unknown in Wallony. Similarly, Flemish comic strips like Jommeke and Piet Pienter en Bert Bibber are well known in Flanders, but completely obscure in Wallony. Le Chat is a popculture phenomenon in Wallony, but despite some translations in Dutch this newspaper comic strip has never gained the same amount of praise or popularity in Flanders. Actor Benoît Poelvoorde is a huge star in Wallony, even voted in the Top 10 of "The Greatest Belgians" in the Walloon version of that contest, but in Flanders most people only know him from starring in Man Bites Dog, if they would recognize him at all.