Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/12/2009 (3595 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Ten years ago a playlist was something only a DJ compiled, you purchased music on plastic or vinyl at a store and you had a Discman for listening to albums on the go.
In the Noughties, all that changed.
With the widespread use of audio digital encoding — MP3s — people starting sharing music online, first with Napster, then with numerous other file swapping sites that sprung up by the time Napster was shut down in 2001 following lawsuits by the Recording Industry Association of America, Metallica and Dr. Dre.
The ability to instantly download music for free altered the entire musical landscape and set the trends for the rest of the decade. Despite the Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Kanye West and the death of Michael Jackson, technology was the biggest musical story of the decade, affecting every aspect of the industry.
Here's a look at some of the decade's biggest trends, technological and otherwise.
The rise of peer-to-peer music sharing led to a decline in album sales, which forced artists to hit the road to make money, leading to longer tours to places they might not normally play. Think Winnipeg has lured so many artists to town just because we have a new arena? Think again. Iron Maiden, Roger Waters, Gwen Stefani and Tom Petty would have played the old barn for the opportunity to sell some T-shirts.
With the live show and merchandise sales such an integral part of the revenue stream (music is a business, after all), bands and festivals started getting even more creative by having groups perform entire albums in concert. Artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth, Roger Waters, the Pixies and Steely Dan all played their iconic albums live.
And if bands wanted to reach a huge audience without touring, they could just stream their concert online or have it beamed via satellite into movie theatres.
Apple started something of an "i" revolution in 2001 with iTunes, a site where consumers could buy songs for 99 cents a track. Now you didn't have to shell out $20 for a CD with two or three good songs. The iPod followed months later and white ear buds became ubiquitous.
With the Internet becoming the go-to place for music, and digital sales rising every year, it's no surprise the bestselling album of the decade was released in 2000. SSRqN Sync's No Strings Attached sold more than 10 million copies in the 2000s, according to Billboard Magazine. The album sold 2.4 million copies in its first week, an unheard of number today, when albums usually hit No. 1 on the charts with sales of less than 300,000. For comparison, the top-selling album of 2009 so far is Swift's Fearless with sales of 2.53 million.
The website MySpace allowed musicians to upload their music — which could easily and cheaply be recorded on a home computer — for the whole world to hear. Next up was YouTube, allowing anyone the chance to be a video director or get discovered. The two sites became the easiest way for artists to promote themselves, alongside Facebook and Twitter, which emerged at the end of the decade.
British band Radiohead came up with the idea of allowing consumers to pay whatever they wanted for 2007's In Rainbows. The "pay what you want" concept is becoming more common and is another trend that should spill over into the new decade.
Boy bands, nu-metal acts and dance-pop artists ushered in the decade, but in 2002 the television idol phenomenon struck, pumping out image-driven karaoke singers by the stageful. Some still have careers (Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood) while others are merely answers to trivia questions (Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard and every winner of Canadian Idol, which isn't even being produced anymore).
Guitar Hero debuted in 2005 and soon millions of people were rocking out in front of their television sets on plastic guitars to everything from classic rock to metalcore. Rock Band was next, allowing vocalists and drummers to get in on the action. The games were a source of new revenue and fans for artists, and soon bands such as Metallica, Aerosmith, AC/DC and the Beatles had their own games.
Getting back together was big business in the 2000s, with bands who broke up years ago reuniting for lucrative tours no matter how acrimonious the initial split was. The Police, the Pixies Mötley Crüe, Rage Against the Machine and the Spice Girls were just a handful of artists on the road again in the 2000s. Two notable reunions were only one-time events: Pink Floyd's 2005 four-song Live 8 appearance and Led Zeppelin's 2007 concert, a benefit for the Ahmet Ertegun Education Foundation.
As for what else we can expect in the Twenteens, look for more elaborate promotional schemes and packaging to get consumers to buy albums, more live concerts being released on video, artists releasing exclusive material to online subscribers (the White Stripes just announced this exact program), bigger concert spectacles, larger music festivals and more non-major label bands hitting the charts.
And of course, something will happen no one can predict. If the next 10 years is anything like the last 10 it will be a fascinating decade filled with change, and hopefully, some great music.
Top 10 albums of the decade
1. Hold Steady, Separation Sunday
2. Neko Case, Blacklisted
3. Mclusky, Mclusky Do Dallas
4. Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
5. Mastodon, Leviathan
6. At the Drive-In, Relationship of Command
7. Grinderman, Grinderman
8. White Stripes, White Blood Cells
9. High on Fire, Blesses Black Wings
10. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
Next 10 best (alphabetical)
Arcade Fire, Funeral; Big Business, Here Come the Waterworks; Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!; Fugazi, The Argument; The Hold Steady, Almost Killed Me; Libertines, Up the Bracket; Melvins, (A) Senile Animal; New Pornographers, Mass Romantic; Reigning Sound, Too Much Guitar; Tom Waits, Orphans, Brawlers & Bastards
The best and the worst of the decade:
Single: Outkast, Hey Ya!
Worst song: Black Eyed Peas, My Humps
Canadian single, mainstream: Avril Lavigne, Complicated
Canadian single, non-mainstream: Arcade Fire, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Video: Andy Samberg & Justin Timberlake, Dick in a Box
Comedy album: Demetri Martin, These Are Jokes
Skank (music): Britney Spears
Reunion, mainstream: the Police
Reunion, indie: the Pixies
Comeback: Green Day, American Idiot
Most divisive band of the decade: Nickelback
Canadian album: Arcade Fire, Funeral
Breakout country artist: Taylor Swift
Trend of the decade, technology: Rise of downloading
Trend of the decade, non-technology: Idol phenomenon
Most profitable death: Michael Jackson
Free Press albums of the year
2000 - Neko Case & Her Boyfriends, Furnace Room Lullaby
2001 - Propagandhi, Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes
2002 - The Sadies, Stories Often Told
2003 - New Pornographers, Electric Version
2004 - Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
2005 - System of a Down, Mezmerize/Hypnotize
2006 - Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
2007 - Grinderman, Grinderman
2008 - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
2009 - Future of the Left, Travels With Myself and Another
Top 10 local albums of the decade (alphabetical order)
Hide Your Daughters, The Teen Girl's Guide to Social Success
Nathan, Jimson Weed
Novillero, Aim Right for the Holes in Their Lives
Perpetrators, Tow Truck
Propagandhi, Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes
John Smith, Pinky's Laundromat
Stagmummer, The Nutcracker
Telepathic Butterflies, Songs From a Second Wave
Various Artists, Winnipeg Riot!
The Weakerthans, Left and Leaving