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Music History Events: Innovations

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February 5, 2017 Lady Gaga opens the Super Bowl halftime show with a verse from "God Bless America," followed by the song Woody Guthrie wrote as a parody, "This Land Is Your Land."More

September 8, 2016 Lance Bass of *NSYNC hosts Finding Prince Charming on the Logo network, the first all-gay dating show.

November 24, 2015 The only copy of Wu-Tang Clan's new double album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin is sold at auction. The buyer is not Wu-Tang obsessive Quentin Tarantino as many hoped, but Martin Shkreli, a 32-year-old pharmaceutical executive notorious for buying a drug company and raising the price of their AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill.More

March 25, 2015 Mariah Carey joins James Corden for the first installment of Carpool Karaoke.More

November 8, 2014 As artists realize they can get paid to go on cruises, many take advantage of the opportunity, including the country duo Florida Georgia Line, who conveniently have a hit song called "Cruise."More

September 9, 2014 Who doesn't like a free gift? Apparently, about 500 million iTunes users who create an uproar when U2's latest album, Songs of Innocence, shows up sans charge and sans permission in their personal libraries.More

May 12, 2013 After the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield records the David Bowie song "Space Oddity" on board the International Space Station, his sublime rendition is posted to YouTube, quickly garnering millions of views.More

April 15, 2012 A virtual Tupac Shakur performs at the Coachella festival, rapping "Hail Mary" and "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted" before disappearing in a flash. Often reported as a hologram, the technology used to bring Tupac to life is later revealed to be a system of mirrors, glass and computer animation.

September 18, 2011 At the Austin City Limits festival, Awolnation lead singer Aaron Bruno does a little crowd surfing, using a boogie board to actually surf on top of the crowd before performing their apropos hit "Sail."More

July 10, 2008 By simply tapping an app button on an iPhone, music fans can finally get an answer to the timeless question, "What's that song?" Shazam's free smartphone app is the first music recognition service of its kind - using a phone's microphone to listen to any song being played publicly - like in a restaurant, at a friend's house, or on TV - and identify it. And it actually works.More

April 3, 2008 Jay-Z joins Madonna and U2 in signing a huge contract with Live Nation; he scores a 360 deal that includes his own label.More

October 10, 2007 Radiohead takes an innovative approach with the release of their seventh studio album, In Rainbows, by offering it as a pay-what-you-want download. Most people pay nothing for the download, but the album still fares well - better, in fact, than the previous Hail to the Thief album - through pre-sales for "discbox" editions.More

June 29, 2007 Apple's new device, the iPhone, is released, integrating music into a phone for the first time.More

January 9, 2007 John Mayer joins Steve Jobs onstage at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco to introduce Apple's latest invention: the iPhone.More

September 27, 2005 The White Stripes are the first to webcast a concert when their show at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland is streamed on NPR.org.

April 23, 2005 YouTube launches. It works so well that Google can't beat it (they try with something called Google Video), so in 2006 they buy it. It eventually becomes the most popular place to hear music for free.

August 30, 2004 Björk releases Medúlla, an album made up almost entirely of human voices.

August 13, 2004 At the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Björk wears a dress that unfurls about 10,000 feet of fabric, which is stretched to cover the viewing area where a world map is then projected. All of this takes place while she sings "Oceania."More

October 16, 2003 Apple launches a Windows version of the iTunes store, previously available only on Macs.

April 28, 2003 Apple launches the iTunes store, the first widely successful legal music download app, thanks to the emergence of the iPod, which lets people take their music with them. At first, the service is available only to Mac users, with the music files encoded in Apple's proprietary format (AAC) restricting where they can be played.More

May 15, 2002 The Wu-Tang Name Generator goes online. The apps turns your real name into one suited for the rap collective; the Songfacts Calendar Wu name is Drunken Desperado.

Donald Glover gets his stage name from the generator, becoming Childish Gambino.

February 25, 2002 The Avalon Ballroom in Boston hosts "virtual band" Gorillaz on their first show in the USA. The band members, who appear as animated characters in music videos, play behind a giant projector screen. Their 9-date tour of North America ends on March 8 at the Palladium, Los Angeles.

October 10, 2001 Embracing the Internet at a time when broadband is rare, U2 webcasts a concert from their Elevation tour in South Bend, Indiana, for free on U2.com.

February 14, 2001 Prince launches the NPG Music Club, one of the first music subscription services. The club acts as a virtual hub for the Prince faithful, with a thriving community, online access to his music, VIP passes to concerts and other exclusives. It runs until 2006, when Prince shuts it down, saying it "has gone as far as it can go."

July 5, 1997 Organized by Sarah McLachlan, the all-female Lilith Fair tour kicks off with a show in The Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State. The lineup includes Jewel, Suzanne Vega and Paula Cole, with Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow and Fiona Apple joining on subsequent stops.More

November 25, 1996 J-Bird Records, the first Internet record label, opens for business, offering previews using Real Audio and Shockwave. Clients include Mitch Ryder and Billy Squier, but the label folds a few years later.

October 26, 1993 Michael Jackson is awarded a patent for the system that allows him to lean in unnatural angles during performances of "Smooth Criminal." To recreate the video on stage, Jackson and his dancers wore special shoes that they could insert into pegs set up on stage for the famous lean.More

May 25, 1991 Billboard implements SoundScan technology on their Albums chart, replacing the decades-old system that relied on record stores to report sales figures. With SoundScan, the sales are tracked electronically, providing much more accurate data.More

May 1, 1991 For the first time, MTV Unplugged features rap acts, with De La Soul, MC Lyte, A Tribe Called Quest and LL Cool J performing. LL steals the show with a shirtless rendition of "Mama Said Knock You Out."More

November 26, 1989 MTV's acoustic showcase Unplugged premieres with an episode featuring Squeeze. Jules Shear hosts the first season.More

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