2010 until 2019 provided us with some of the most inspirational, controversial, shocking and all round entertaining moments in music that we have ever seen. From rising stars storming the music scene to legends seeing their downfall, there were so many memorable moments.
In these 10 years, music has changed so much, streaming services have taken over and it has had profound effect on everyone in the industry as well as the fans. We count down the greatest moments in music from the last decade which will live on well into 2020.
The Beatles get on iTunes
November 2010 was the time that fans could stop getting The Beatles music from illegal online sources or YouTube as the band finally ended their digital boycott and came up to date with the times. They dropped their music catalog on iTunes after a huge deal was penned.
Not only was the deal a huge win for the fans but it also exemplified how digital services have taken over. Five years after this big event, their music catalog also went onto Spotify, Tidal, Google Play Music and Apple Music.
Gotta get down on Friday
March 2011 saw a young American girl take YouTube by storm when she recorded a song that made wavelengths around the world – but not in a good way. 13-year-old Rebecca Black’s Friday became a viral phenomenon, generating millions of views on YouTube and brutal comment section which ripped the teen for her autotuned song.
It was one of the most disliked videos on the platform but it got the media around the world talking. There were many parody videos of the song where people made Black a laughing stock.
U2’s 360° tour set a new standard for concerts
From June 2009 until 2011, U2 changed the way people experienced and attended concerts when they featured a metallic, spaceship-like claw in their worldwide tour. The massive structure was flanked by LED light spasms and incredible pyroglyphics throughout the 2-hour set.
Despite their poor music sales during this time, the stunning staging resulted in the band selling out every venue in a matter of minutes. When everyone saw U2’s success, other artists wanted to emulate this to make their shows bigger and better.
Spotify takes over America
In 2011, we saw one of the greatest music phenomenons of the decade, the birth of Spotify, the music streaming service. Initially, people didn’t understand what it was all about and many music industry executives massively underestimated how huge it was going to be.
The service went on to become one of the most popular platforms around the world and amassed 248 million users globally. The growth it has seen in the last nine years is unprecedented and the app has huge plans for the next decade.
Everyone was addicted to Call Me Maybe
In 2012, a relatively unknown artist Carly Rae Jepsen took the music charts by storm when she released her catchy, hit-single “Call Me Maybe”.
The singer was signed by Justin Bieber and her song sparked a global movement, making it one of the most watched videos on YouTube with celebrities including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Kendall Jenner featuring in videos of the song. The song took the number one spot in 15 countries and was nominated for two Grammys.
Coachella’s Tupac hologram implemented a whole new industry
The world lost Tupac in 1996, but this wasn’t the last time we would see the acclaimed rapper perform. In 2012, a hologram of the rapper was projected at Coachella which saw the rapper perform alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre which facilitated discussion around the world of holograms in music.
The special effect reportedly cost between $100,000 to $400,000 and this was essentially seen as a trial run to see if it would work. After it was a massive success, there were talks of hologram tours featuring late artists including Roy Orbison and Whitney Houston.
Album releases move to Friday
2015 saw the strategic move of The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry moving all album releases to Friday in order to reduce piracy and allow artists to focus on their social media promotions of the album.
The association added that this would “reignite excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new music” and through their market research of music fans around the world, suggested that people prefer to buy music just before the weekend.
Harlem Shake brings EDM mainstream
Another music genre that was brought mainstream was EDM thanks to the help of DJ Baauer’s dance track “Harlem Shake”. Despite being an unusual dance track, it became a viral meme after everyone started posting videos of them going crazy when the beat drops in the song.
From celebrities to professional sports teams, everyone started posting videos to their YouTube channels and fans then wanted to replicate it. Not only did it become successful on YouTube, but it was one of the highest Google searches of the year.
Let It Go takes number one
In the winter of 2013, the biggest smash hit became one of the most unlikely ones. Idina Menzel’s hit from Disney’s Frozen ‘Let It Go’ surprised everyone when it won the Oscar for Best Song.
Moreover, the soundtrack grossed more than a million album sales and hundreds of millions of streams in a matter of months. While Disney knew the film was special, they never expected the success to take off as it did.
Beyonce drops her surprise album
December 2013 saw Beyonce drop her new “visual album” which comprised 14 new songs and 17 videos. Features on the album included her husband, Jay Z as well as her daughter Blue Ivy.
The press release for it described it as a “non-linear journey through the thoughts and visions of Beyoncé, designed to be consumed as a comprehensive audio/visual piece from top to bottom.” From her surprise drop, other artists realized the success they would see if they did the same thing.
Macklemore wanted Kendrick Lamar to win his Grammy
At the 2014 Grammy awards, Macklemore took home the award for best rap album, but the rapper didn’t feel he deserved the success and it should have gone to someone else.
That someone happened to be Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore even took to social media after the event to say about Lamar “I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and it sucks that I robbed you.” It was a selfless and compassionate act in music and people hailed the rapper for doing so.
Shawn Mendes was discovered on Vine
The video app Vine was all the rage in 2014 and many emerging talents were able to get their start off of 6-second videos. One of the people who got their big break was Shawn Mendes and the singer started off posting short, six second covers of songs by Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran which started getting millions of views.
He was discovered by an artist manager who saw him on the app and his career got a kickstart from then on.
Taylor Swift attacks streaming sites
Streaming had seen a huge rise by 2014 and it was all the rage with so many artists dropping their new albums digitally. However, one artist who was not happy with this was Taylor Swift and she abruptly pulled her entire music catalog from Spotify in protest.
She wrote in a message “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” In 2017, Swift returned to the music streaming site after succumbing to the fact that this was the way music was going.
Hip Hop drama takes over TV
In 2015, TV show Empire became a huge success which commanded a massive viewership. The TV series was all about family, money and rap and it’s success said so much about the way people consume hip hop and the huge strides the music genre has taken in recent years.
Rolling Stone described the series as “a gloriously preposterous full-court cheese blast, combining a hip-hop sensibility á la Hustle & Flow with an old-school sense of prime-time soap corn.”
James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke is the best new music show
Host of The Late Late Show, James Corden created a new skit in his late night show which saw artists singing in the car with him. In the segment called Carpool Karaoke, Mariah Carey took the front seat next to James as the first artist to do so and it became a viral success.
Everyone from Celine Dion to Kanye West and Justin Bieber has taken part in it and it led Apple Music to snap it up in their first licensing agreement.
Apple turns to streaming
After seeing the runaway success of Spotify, Apple new they had to change iTunes to something else to compete with the streaming service. From this, Apple Music was born in 2015.
The platform was essentially the exact same thing as Spotify as a subscription music-streaming service but to this day, they still haven’t been able to match the overriding success that Spotify has seen over the last decade. It remains to be seen how they enhance the music service going into 2020.
Spotify debuts Discover Weekly
In order to level up their streaming service, Spotify wanted to come up with something that drew more customers into their app, and away from rivals. From this, they came up with ‘Discover Weekly’ in 2015 which is part algorithmic curation, part hand-picked radio.
The section presents all new music as well as giving you other songs that you may enjoy, given the ones you have been listening to previously. It changed the game in how we consume playlists and many other streaming services made their own versions of it.
‘Gangnam Style’ took the world by storm
In late 2012, Korean pop singer Psy went viral after his song Gangnam Style became a knockout success. Billions of people around the world were exposed to the Korean pop music scene from this and it became the first video on YouTube to reach a billion views, a number that has grown exponentially to 3 billion today.
The song became a dance craze and the singer said of it “When we made this choreography, we called it ‘horse dance, I told [the director], ‘Hey, this is horse dance, so let’s find some horse place.’ In that way, it can be more cheesy. It can be more ridiculous. So we did that.”
Hamilton finds itself on the music charts
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton saw stunning success as a Broadway show and the soundtrack was so popular that it found its way onto the mainstream charts. It debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200, something that is so rarely seen for a broadway show and an unprecedented success overall.
The show expanded around the world and recorded sold out shows day after day, not to mention the fact it ran away with almost a dozen Tony awards.