If you grew up in Canada between 1996 and 2008, odds are you owned at least one of MuchMusic’s ubiquitous Big Shiny Tunes compilation albums. The annual series ran from 1996 to 2009, amassing the year’s biggest rock and alternative songs onto one CD in an era before streaming and filesharing would render it obsolete.
For many young Canadian music fans, Big Shiny Tunes was their first exposure to mainstream rock and alternative music. Featuring homegrown Canadian acts alongside some of the biggest international artists helped to show audiences that Canadian musicians could stand toe-to-toe with their American and British contemporaries.
The albums became a uniquely Canadian cultural phenomenon, and Big Shiny Tunes 2 remains the third best-selling album in Canadian music history. In total the series sold over 5 million copies before being cancelled in 2009 after its fourteenth installment. The albums remain a cornerstone in Canadian nostalgia.