Unpopular would not be the word I am looking for. Something may be popular but only among a small group of people. For example, classical music: here in India, not many people like it but there are some who do. Therefore, I cannot say classical music is unpopular in India. Is there a word that means liked only by a few?

  • 1
    You can say classical music is unpopular if not many people like it. That's what unpopular means. Oct 20, 2017 at 15:08
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    @MattE.Эллен: It's ambiguous between "not liked by the majority" and "disliked by the majority". I agree with you on the literal definition of the word, but there is an implication (in casual conversation) that "unpopular" can refer to being actively disliked, as opposed to an absence of being liked.
    – Flater
    Oct 20, 2017 at 15:29
  • @MattE.Эллен ...of limited popularity would be better.
    – WS2
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:30
  • A small but loyal following? An acquired taste?
    – jxh
    Oct 20, 2017 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


The first word that comes to mind is niche*.


A specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.

  • ‘he believes he has found a niche in the market’

Denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.

  • ‘a niche show that ran on late-night television’
  • ‘the video game industry is no longer niche’

I'm mainly focusing on the adjective here.

For your case, it would be:

Classical music is a niche genre in India.

*Actually, the first thing I thought of was "cult classic", but that refers to movies in particular.

  • I think 'niche genre' is the closest to the term I'm looking for. Oct 21, 2017 at 2:30

You could say that classical music has an esoteric following in India.

esoteric : limited to a small circle : 'engaging in esoteric pursuits'

Merriam Webster

Classical music may not be 'unpopular'; people may be just indifferent to it. Esoteric focuses on the desirability of the music to those who engage with it.

'Pop' music, when it was so-called, was not necessarily 'popular' at the time if the whole population is considered. It was commercially successful and, for that reason became common, on radio and TV, because money was involved.

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