The last decade has been full of incredible moments in the music industry. Some new pop stars were born, some legendary icons passed away, and some incredible viral moments took over the internet. Here are the most memorable events, and how they changed music forever.
Prince’s Death Marked the End of a Musical Era
In 2016, one of the greatest performing musicians of all times passed away. Many of his fans were shocked to find out that the artist lost his life due to an opioid overdose. Since the artist did not have a will, the control over his multi-million-dollar estate became a matter of conflict. Eventually, Sony reached a deal to be the exclusive distributor of albums that Prince has released, but the artist’s vault, which contains thousands of hours of unreleased music, will remain closed for the time being.
James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” Broke the Internet
James Corden, host of The Late Late Show with James Corden (and occasionally of the Tony and Grammy Awards) has created a new skit on his show, and the YouTube views count was off the charts. Initially it was Mariah Carey who joined Corden for the singing event, and the viral success was outstanding. Later on, some of the biggest names in the music industry, from Kanye West to Celine Dion and from Stevie Wonder and Adele, have took part in the skit.
Disney’s Timeless Anthem “Let It Go” Won an Oscar
In 2013, Disney released one of its biggest blockbuster movies of the decade – Frozen. The movie was a best-seller of historic scale, and the credit for much of its success goes to songwriters. The movie’s anthem, Let It Go, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. When it did, one of the songwriters, Robert Lopez, became the 12th person to ever win the EGOT – Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
Rebecca Black’s “Friday” Annoyed Millions Worldwide
The song was recorded by the 13-year-old, and soon after reaching YouTube, it became the source for countless viral memes. People made fun of the just about everything about it – from the cheesy pop lyrics to the awkward and staged scenes shown. Nonetheless, the song has earned Black a short but intense rise to fame.
Apple Forced U2’s Album On Millions of Users
In 2014, out of the blue, half a billion Itunes users suddenly found U2’s 13th studio album, Songs of Innocence, in their album. The pricey PR stunt by Apple is, full of technical bugs and issues, was frowned upon and many did not like the forced musical addition to their library, calling it “worse than spam”. Embarrassingly, within a week, Apple released instructions to user, explaining how to delete the album. Not quite the viral hit they were hoping for.
“Gangnam Style” Became an International Phenomena
It was in 2012 when the Korean pop singer Psy, anonymous to most non-Koreans, became a huge global star. His song, Gangnam Style, was all over the place, and it also holds a historic web record – It was the first video on YouTube to reach a billion views. Amazingly, the video currently has more than 3 billion views, and counting.
Taylor Swift Declared War on Music Streaming
In 2014, music superstar Taylor Swift made a surprising move – she pulled all of over music from Spotify. She later explained that the move was done in protest against Spotify’s treatment of the artists it showcases. When asked about the music, she said that “Valuable things should be paid for”. In 2017, her music was back on the streaming service, but she definitely made a clear point.
The “Blurred Lines” Lawsuit Opened a Conversation About Music Copyright
In 2015, a jury in the United States ruled that Robin Thicke’s hit song (co-written by Pharell Williams), “Blurred Lines”, was in clear copyright violation of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up”. The verdict stated that they must pay Gaye’s family millions in compensation. After the ruling, many in the music business were concerned that it would cause many more similar lawsuits to be filed.
“Hamilton” Conquered the Charts and Won a Pulitzer
The musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda has provided a new take on the story of the United States’ founding fathers, as it told their tale in a unique rap-style musical with a diverse and incredibly talented cast. The musical has been insanely successful – for the first few dozens of shows, the only ones who could afford a good seat at the front of the theatre were rich celebrities. The show’s music has even made it to mainstream charts, a rare event in the Broadway universe. The show is now all over the world, and has even won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
“Call Me Maybe” Became a Viral Hit
In 2012, this earworm was unavoidable on radio everywhere. Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen became a household name and earned millions of fans. The song has over a billion views on YouTube, and its catchy lyrics made it a karaoke hit around the globe. Carly has since developed a successful career, and has recorded other songs. But still, well, she’s the girl from Call Me Maybe.
“Despacito” Earned Global Success
In 2017, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s song broke the internet, and soon after that Canadian superstar Justin Bieber took part in a very successful remix. The song was the first video on YouTube to ever get 5 billion views (it currently has more than 6 billion), and for a while was even the most streamed track around the world. Impressively, even though it does not include a word in English, the song became a giant hit in the US too.