Grunge (sometimes referred to as the Seattle sound) is an alternative rock genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American Pacific Northwest state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. The style became known as a hybrid of punk and metal. The early grunge movement revolved around Seattle’s independent record label Sub Pop and the region’s underground music scene. The owners of Sub Pop marketed the style shrewdly, encouraging the media to describe it as “grunge”. By the early 1990s, its popularity had spread, with grunge bands appearing in California, then emerging in other parts of the United States and in Australia, building strong followings and signing major record deals.