We are in a world of evolution not just as human beings or as we evolve daily and yearly, but also as societies which evolve over time with new innovations and changes. This evolution also transcends to the music industry which has experienced a lot of changes.
In the space of 10 years, 2009-2019, the music industry has experienced a lot of changes, with new stars taking the stage and the old ones becoming icons and legends. With some branching out into different styles and areas and some intensifying their efforts in their careers while others have changed music as we know it entirely. It’s been great 10years in the history and timeline of music some that we remember and some that we can’t even figure out again.
How about we do an almost perfect chronological time travel into the music world to see the 50 most important music moments that have gone down within the last 10 years. Ladies and gentlemen fasten your seatbelts for our flight is about to take off, please enjoy.
January 2010 – Ticketmaster and Live Nation become a live events giant. The controversial merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation took place after the U.S. Justice Department approved it. It was a big win for the two biggest players in the $4.4 billion global live music business.
November 2010 – The Beatles finally put their music on iTunes. The Beatles finally moved from the obsolete ways and joined the digital bandwagon as they finally dropped their catalogue on Apple’s iTunes. A win-win for both The Beatles and also for their fans.
March 2011 – ‘Friday, Friiiiday’. The month experienced a fever-like attack with the viral song recorded by the 13-year-old Rebecca Black. It was every one’s month jam as Matthew Perpetua wrote in the Rolling Stone‘s review, that little Rebecca presenter “a peculiar tonality that inadvertently highlighted the absurdity of boilerplate pop lyrics.”
June 2011 – U2’s 360° tour sets a new standard for concert-going. U2’s global tour concert from 2009-2011 set an almost unbreakable standard for concert going with their metallic, spaceship-like “Claw” coupled with LED light spasms and a two-hour long show spiced with elaborate choreography. Creating a standard for tour making that led to many replication attempts by others.
July 2011 – Spotify lands in the U.S. Spotify was introduced to the American music streaming service. Initially it raised many questions as to its use and function but over the years it has become one of the most used popular music platforms with over 250 million users.
Spring 2012 – ‘Call Me Maybe’ goes viral again, and again, and again. Carly Rae Jepsen had the world with her song on repeat as her iconic “Call Me Maybe” was a hit back-to-back. The vibes from the song was so great that it got cover versions out of everyone from Justin Bieber and Katy Perry to James Franco and Harvard University’s baseball team. Her song transcended generations of singers and listeners lifting Carly to the level of generation-spanning celebrity.
April 2012 – Coachella’s Tupac hologram sets off an entire cottage industry. Coachella brought back the dead to perform as the hologram of Tupac Shakur performed at Coachella alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. A very expensive appearance (cost an approximate of $400,000) and it inspired the appearance and performance of other gone legends like Roy Orbison and Whitney Houston in hologram tours.
Winter 2012 – ‘Gangnam Style’ opens a door to the world stage. The Korean Pop music had the spotlight on them with the all-occasion and crazy hit ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy going viral everywhere and for everything. The cheesy, comical record was everywhere and everyone in the world was doing the ‘horse dance’ as Psy called it.
February 2013 – The ‘Harlem Shake’ meme takes EDM mainstream. The new steps trend that began with ‘Gangnam Style’ was immediately followed by the new fun wave “Harlem Shake.” A record of DJ Bauuer which went viral in 2013 and was trended even more by such artists like Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon who participated in the dance rave.
Winter 2013 – Disney’s unshakable, Oscar-winning song about snow. Disney hit the music world hard with its animated movie production “Frozen” whose soundtrack hit records got a million album sales and hundreds of millions of streams, not to forget the Oscar win for its title track “Let It Go.” Disney’s phenomenal work was a hit.
December 2013 – A Beyoncé album takes the world by surprise. The Queen Bey hit the world with a big boom as she dropped 14 new songs and 17 videos in her “visual album,” titled Beyoncé. The album was enriched with collaborations with Jay-Z himself and little 2-year-old Miniature Queen Bey, Blue Ivy. The album which gave a glimpse into Beyoncé’s mind was a forerunner for subsequent surprise albums from Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and others who realised that everyone loves surprises as much as they love anticipation.
January 2014 – Macklemore, Kendrick Lamar, and the Grammy that isn’t. The music world experienced a weird brotherly act that brought the question of the credibility of the awards ceremonies and their outcomes as Macklemore’s message to Kendrick almost overshadowed his four Grammy awards as he said in his message that he had wanted Kendrick to win as he felt that Kendrick deserved the best rap album instead of himself.
Summer 2014 – Shawn Mendes becomes a global superstar from six-second covers. With half a billion views on the social-media app Vine, the Canadian artist Shawn Mendes got thrown into the world of stars and success as he was discovered by an artist manager with his six-seconds covers of Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran songs.
September 2014 – U2 bestow its album upon 500 million unknowing fans. A stunt gone too far maybe or a simple glitch in Apple’s system. But whatever it was, half a billion unwanted got U2’s Songs of Innocence on their iTunes accounts downloaded by their phones at the same time. Apple was later forced to release instructions on how to delete the album within a week but the point had somewhat been made, not the album was everywhere.
2014 till present – The Kesha-Dr. Luke case challenges the industry’s dynamics. The issue of gender controversy and power issues in the music industry has been ongoing in the industry for a very long time. Kesha suing her producer Dr Luke claiming that he “sexually, physically, verbally, and emotionally abused” her to the point where she “nearly lost her life” is one of such issues. The case has been ongoing for years now and is still on the ground with many artists such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift weighing in on the matter.
November 2014 – Taylor Swift goes to war with music streaming. The artist’s abrupt pulling of her entire catalogue from Spotify was a means of protesting against the service’s free tier. Her argument was that music is rare and valuable and it should be paid for. She returned to the streaming line later in 2017 but her action was thought-provoking for the company.
February 2015 – A hip-hop dynasty drama becomes the TV hit of the year. The TV series ‘Empire,’ which is a symbiosis of music and entertainment became the hit of the year and is still even as at now. The television series about family, money, and rap depicts the hustle and bustle of the music world with an air of soap opera in it which has kept its audience glued and tuned-in up till date.
March 2015 – The ‘Blurred Lines’ lawsuit makes music copyright blurry indeed. The shocking ruling of the Los Angeles jury with respect to Robin Thicke’s hit ‘Blurred Lines’ with Pharrell Williams and T.I. which he was said to ripped off Marvin Gaye‘s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” led to his paying a multi-million dollar f compensation to Gaye’s estate. This led to a ripple of lawsuits on copyright in the industry over time.
March 2015 – James Corden and Mariah Carey debut a music show in a car. The new segment The Late Late Show with James Corden was pioneered by Mariah who decided to do so after watching a clip of Corden singing with George Michael in a car. This led to the “Carpool Karaoke” which in 2016 became a property of Apple Music.
June 2015 – Introducing Apple’s Spotify. The success of Spotify was really a hit and it encouraged the launching of Apple Music, a a subscription music-streaming service which to many was the same as Spotify but according to the developers of Apple Music it had a combination of software and hardware offerings for its users. The idea was a tip to Spotify that the streaming industry was not just their thing.
July 2015 – Discover Weekly and the advent of playlistomania. With a bid to improve services, Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist was simply a personalized mixtape and playlist for individual users through an algorithmic curation, and part hand-picked radio à la your favorite AM/FM station. This idea also spanned through to other streaming services who began to add new discovery features to their services along with a personalized playlist.
July 2015 – Album releases move to Friday to cash in on your paycheck. As a result of a consumer related research, The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry shifted all global music releases to Fridays. This was done in a bid to reduce piracy around the world, to allow artists to focus their social-media campaigns, and to also make an occasion of the release of new music.
November 2015 – Terror attacks forever alter the approach to concert safety. Concert venue security increased dramatically after various terrorist attack cases like the terrorist attack at an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan in Paris which resulted in the death of nearly 100 people; a bomb explosion which killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in 2017, and a shooter at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas who opened fire on the crowd, killing 58 occurred. Extreme security tactics like vapour-sniffing dogs and anti-drone technology were introduced to safeguard against attacks.
Winter 2015 – A musical about Alexander Hamilton makes a record-breaking chart debut. Soundtracks from movies and Broadway plays began to make waves not just as accompaniments to these shows but also as individual records. Such was the case for the soundtrack to Hamilton, a Lin-Manuel Miranda’s popular Broadway play. The soundtrack debuted at Number 12 on the Billboard 200 chart and it was a great record for a Broadway play.
2016 to present – All hail the classic rock reunion tour. The Guns N’ Roses’ Las Vegas show was the perfect emblem for the rock reunion that has been ongoing since the 2010s. The live music became one of the most perfect lucrative revenue streams for musicians, as rock bands reemerged for reunion shows one after another and cashed out greatly from the ever loyal fans.
February 2016 – ‘Ima fix wolves,’ Kanye West promises (and does). Kanye displayed another concept in album making as he made finishing touches in production and vocal tweaks for 12 songs on his record The Life of Pablo after he announced that he was yet to finish on one of his track “Wolves,” but he fulfilled his promise a month later with the updated 12 songs.
April 2015 – Prince’s death leaves behind a legal tangle over his music. Sudden deaths in the music industry are not unheard of, nor are they new. But the sudden death of Prince due to his opioid overdose left a great dilemma for his fans and also his record label as he left his hundreds of millions of dollars estate and lots of his unreleased music unwilled. Although Sony’s Legacy Records was able to reach a deal with his estate in 2018 as the exclusive distribution partner for 35 previously released albums, the vault’s music remains unheard for now.
June 2016 – Streaming is welcomed into the sanctum sanctorum. The announcement made by the Recording Academy of incorporating streaming as a criteria for nomination most especially for its nomination categories led to Chance the Rapper’s record Coloring Book to be the first to receive the Grammy’s award for the first Grammy-winning record to not sell physical copies.
July 2016 – Taylor, Kim, and Kanye battle it out in apps. The online battle saga between Kanye West and Taylor Swift which later went on to include Kanye’s wife Kim Kardashian rocked the social media platform as the stars took to the social media platform to give their own side of the story concerning Taylor’s approval or otherwise of Kanye writing lyrics about her in his songs. Fans were able to follow up on the he said-she said saga live via social media.
August 2016 – Frank Ocean’s one-two punch makes labels very nervous. Labeled as a very wise move was Frank Oceans’ release of his new album Endless (an exclusive on Apple Music and a fulfillment of his contractual obligation to Universal Music Group;) and his immediate release of a second album, titled Blonde which to many was the real album and which earned him much more royalties and yields than his original one with a record label involvement. This smart move of Frank led to the “outlawing” streaming exclusives at the music company by Lucian Grainge who was the chairman and CEO of Universal.
October 2016 – Desert Trip proves exactly how much nostalgia pays. Who says that oldies ain’t great, well whoever said so got it wrong as Coachella had a great festival with performances from the Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Bob Dylan, and the Who. A show that yielded a record-breaking gross of $160 million. Real good business with the oldies.
January 2017 – ‘Despacito’ sweeps the globe without a word of English. It was a win for the Latinos as Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s ‘Despacito’ was a hit in every sense and everywhere, almost becoming ever party’s anthem. The full on Spanish sensual and awesome music from its release became the first YouTube video to receive five billion views, the most-streamed track around the globe and a party anthem. It was proof that, good music is good music even when the language is foreign and unknown.
March 2017 – Drake releases a 22-track record that is not a record. Drake’s playlist More Life which he refused to acknowledge as an album was a collection of songs that swings listeners from the Caribbean dancehall to South African house rhythm.
March 2017 – Future unseats his own Number One with another Number One. Imagine having your position ousted by your own self. Yep, that’s what Future did with the billboards. His album record Future was unseated by his new album record HNDRXX all in a role. Although his double record was dubbed a sales trick, it at least showed that fans like and listen to anything released by their major artists as fast as they can release it.
2017 – Streaming takes over as the revenue leader of the U.S. music industry. Streaming services received a golden star as the Recording Industry Association of America releases figures showing that revenue generation was higher for the U.S. Music industry through streaming than all other forms of music distribution. A plus for streaming and a notice to other traditional music distribution channels and services to tighten them belt and seat up.
April 2017 – The Fyre that will burn forever. Many questions were raised with respect to Fyre festival with respect to the ongoing issues that were present in the festival, and its outcomes along with questions related to the person of Billy McFarland such as his being a genius or a madman? Well the answer to these questions would ideally be, Who knows?
July 2017 – ‘Gucci Gang’ and the conquest of SoundCloud. Who would have thought that a gang named after a designer would push one to stardom. Well I’m sure no one would have thought so not even Lil Pump who made a two-minute tune of non-stop repetition of “Gucci Gang.” Whatever the case was “Gucci Gang” took Lil’ Pump from being a SoundCloud rapper to a major-label artist with an $8 million deal all within the space of months. A pointer that rising talents might just have gotten the gist to rising to stardom.
December 2017 to present – The Vegas residency is the new stadium tour. Lady Gaga takes up a temporary residency at Las Vegas’s MGM Park Theater for a deal worth $100 million and she’s not the only one who has taken residency in the fun city, as Drake plans to sign a multi-year deal with XS Nightclub and DJ Marshmello will settle in at the Palms’ KAOS Nightclub. The new trend has turned Vegas to the new home of tours, good business for those who love the fun.
April 2018 – Kendrick Lamar wins a Pulitzer. Kendrick’s album DAMN was not just an album with cool and thought provoking lyrics but it was one that got the praises of the Pulitzer board as an album with “vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism” leading to Lamar being the first non-classical and non-jazz artist to ever receive the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The album according to Lamar comprises of pieces and bits of himself which he put into it as his musicality had been his drive since he was four-years-old.
April 2018 – Beyoncé and J Balvin remake Coachella for themselves. Queen Bey’s personalization of the Coachella is something no one can ever get over, tagged as “Beyoncé’s Coachella,” the super-star and mega-diva marched on stage with a full-on an army of crew members, bringing the rhythm of all genres alongside family. The Queen totally cracked the shell of the traditional Coachella festival and made even more history with J Balvin’s performance of the Spanish-language song “Mi Gente.” It was not just any Coachella but definitely Beyoncé’s Coachella.
June 2018 – What to do with R. Kelly and XXXTentacion? With the series of events surrounding artists R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, Spotify attempted to keep things morally sound by putting in place a policy that barred R. Kelly and XXXTentacion artists from appearing in playlists. The good deed was not so much perceived as good by the general public as Spotify was seen as probably a vibe buzzer and Spotify was forced to reverse its policy after a few weeks of heated backlash.
June 2018 – Drake admits he has a secret son, thanks to Pusha T. It all began with a diss track from Pusha T. who accused Drake of fathering a son and keeping his existence a secret in his diss track “The Story of Adidon.” Drakes reply came in his album Scorpion where he not only admitted to the son’s existence and also thanked Pusha for the favour. Although the producers involved attributed Drake’s acceptance as a mere reply to Pusha not really meaning that he had a son, others speculated that Push must have heard it from someone close to Drake. Whatever the case may have been, one thing was for sure, their dissing led to them making a few extra sums of huge cash and the fans still had unanswered questions.
July 2018 – Cardi B is the first female rapper to score two Number One hits. Since her entry into the rap world, Cardi hasn’t gone back on breaking records. She played her game just right with “Bodak Yellow” and went further to hit the bull’s eye with “I Like It” making both her hits to place her way high up the ladder as the first female rapper to claim two Number Ones. Cardio has remained a strong figure in the rap business and has been making waves as a woman in the industry.
July 2018 – Drake emerges as streaming’s dependable superstar. Drake’s Scorpion became the first record to hit 1 billion streams in a single week and Drake became the first artist to cross 50 billion total streams, according to his record company. It was a great milestone for Drake and one of many too.
November 2018 – Rap’s never-ending police saga. Talk about musicians representing what they sometimes sing. Tekashi 6ix9ine’s arrest by the police in Brooklyn, Bobby Shmurda’s sentencing and Meek Mill’s imprisonment are all part of a list of musicians Vs the law. And it seems that it might just be the beginning.
January 2019 – TikTok is not a fad. Launched in 2018, TikTok is the social app where users make 15-second videos set to music and with 1 billion downloads of the app in 2018, it’s been a place where everyone gets to make it either as an amateur or as a pro in the music industry. The app is basically to get it right in the industry and all have been on it to crack the codes.
Throughout 2019 – A cartoon fish (doo doo doo dooo) reunites America. We’ve all probably got a niece or nephew dancing to the famous ‘Baby-shark’ hit that has gone viral. Though no one really knows where the original tune came from, but South Korean educational brand Pinkfong levelled it up to karaoke mine of wonders for all. From there it was skyrocketed to becoming the de facto battle cry of the Washington Nationals baseball team and now its every mother and Nanny’s theme song and it’s already gunning for a live tour.
March 2019 – Old Town Road to where? Though not certain about where exactly it belongs to in the genre category, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” which is a perfect blend of good vibes and radio jam has been a hit for many since its release. It’s temporal removal from Billboard’s country chart not only made it rise up the chart levels in other areas but has also shown that no one really cares about the genre as all we need are the good vibes.
May 2019 – BTS blow up ‘Good Morning America’ Music now transcends barriers big time and even borders too as the K-pop group BTS has been chosen as the act to kick off Good Morning America‘s summer concert series. Not just that but they are also on Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and the lineup of the Billboard Music Awards. The K-pop group is making waves not just as the group that got a spot that every aspiring pop act in the States would kill to have, but they are also the first Korean group to go on a sold-out U.S. stadium tour. It’s a mixture of dazzling angelic-looking boys with cherubic voices and dance steps that can hardly be rivalled.
July 2019 to present – Who owns Taylor Swift? The ongoing battle between Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun is definitely the cause for this question as Taylor first affirmed that she had no prior notice or consultation about the sales of her master recordings and later argued that she was coaxed into unfair terms by both Braun and her former label boss Scott Borchetta. As to the question, the appropriate answer would be Taylor as she is using all she’s got including her fan base to make sure that she’s her own boss and her own owner.