Spotify launched its new Facebook Timeline today, with the added wrinkle being that they have compiled a "History of Music," transporting users from the present all the way back to 1000 A.D. and the beginning of "popular music." They've covered a good deal of the European composers' birth dates in the early centuries after that point, before really revving things up year-by-year once the timeline hits the 1800s.
It's a great way to use the visual layout of Timeline, and as Spotify has said they'll be adding more and more music-related events to the year-by-year booklet, it's also a great way to get lost searching through the annals of music history. It's an exhaustive - though by no means comprehensive - look at the history of popular music, especially in the last century, and provides quick-hit playlists to listen to for each installment. Luckily, we've pulled out ten things we found most notable based on a quick perusal through the years.
The beginning, according to Spotify. This is some pretty obscure information - almost as obscure as the genre itself. Spotify did its homework tracking this down, and on first listen it's very... well... let's just say it's hard to see how we got from Léonin to Lady Gaga, but that's what the next century was for, wasn't it?
Skipping ahead about 800 years, we get to the original Lisztomania, before Phoenix ever had a chance to appropriate it. Hungarian composer Franz Liszt brought Europe to its knees with his debonair style and charismatic licks 150 years before the French rockers did the same to the rest of the world with their composer-name-dropping Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Lisztomania resurfaced another time between 1843 and 2009, as the title of a 1975 Ken Russell film starring Roger Daltrey that also saw Ringo Starr and Rick Wakeman make acting appearances.
Linguists get ready: within a decade two formidable American art forms were given their proper titles. 1944 gave rise to the term "bebop," first used in reference to Dizzy Gillespie and his crew of jazz bohemians, while in 1953 the song "Opus De Funk" by jazzman Horace Silver spawned a term - if not the style itself - that would go on to gain infamy among the likes of James Brown, George Clinton and Sly Stone.
Pop forward a decade and Phillips allowed the world to pop in a cassette for the first time. The magnetic tape would help to mobilize audio, as it allowed music to be taken off the record player and into the car or, eventually, the walkman. For the tape cassette's true enduring legacy, however, just take a look at the iPhone case that wraps around all your audiophile friends' phones. Phillips must have had that destiny in mind the entire time.
In what became one of the most infamous shows in rock and roll history, the Sex Pistols took the stage at Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1976 in a show that saw members from The Smiths, Joy Division, Simply Red, and The Fall in the audience. It was a show that transformed the British rock and punk scene for the foreseeable future, even though, according to some reports, only about 40 people in total were in the audience.
Barely 20 years after the tape cassette brought music off the turntable and into our hands, Polydor pressed the first compact disc in Germany in 1982, with the first officially-released CD being Billy Joel's 52nd Street. Like all new technologies, the CD took a little while to catch on, but once it did it launched a digital revolution that would wind up dooming the record industry as we knew it - though nobody would realize it for another 20 years. It was only until a little company called Napster came around that anybody started to realize the true effects of digitizing music, and the world hasn't looked back since.
When it comes to artist myths and wild stories floating around, the White Stripes were shrouded in as much confusion as any other band when they first started making music in the late 1990s. Stories have been bandied about forever - that they were brother and sister, that they were married, that they were divorced - until finally the latter was confirmed to be true and Jack and Meg's marriage - and the White Stripes along with it - were consigned to the past. What was lesser known, or not at all except to true die hards of the band, was that John Anthony Gillis changed his name when he married Meg, just a year before they formed the now-widely-influential group.
NSYNC sold 2.4 million copies of No Strings Attached in a single week, completely obliterating any record that thought it had a chance of standing in its way. On the strength of hit singles "Bye Bye Bye" and "This I Promise You," NSYNC came out on top of the Backstreet Boys in their battle for boy band supremacy. Oh yeah, and then Justin Timberlake had a solo career, and all that.
In 2001 Apple introduced its first-ever iPod, hilariously (at least it is now, looking back) advertising its ability to hold "1,000 songs in your pocket." Less than five years later, the iTunes Music Store sold its 1 billionth song, Coldplay's "Speed of Sound," and the digitization of the music industry was officially in full force, with record companies finally embracing the digital stores as a growing - and soon, dominant - force in the way music is purchased and consumed.
On October 7, 2008, Spotify officially launched in Sweden, and quickly took Europe by storm with its streaming model. But it wasn't until July 14, 2011 that it finally landed on U.S. shores to huge fanfare, prompting widespread discussion about the usefullness and utility of streaming service models. After its integration with Facebook, Spotify began to infiltrate our lives via social media, and quickly became a buzz word for finding and discovering music.