25 of the best things the internet has done for music
In honor of the 25th anniversary of the internet. #HappyInternautDay
Some of us remember when former Vice President Al Gore said he created the internet, but today (August 23) is being celebrated as the actual day the world wide web was made available to the public, 25 years ago. In honor of #HappyInternautDay, we look at the 25 best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) music-related sensations that the internet gifted us with. Let’s reflect:
25. Rebecca Black
You watched Rebecca Black’s super-indie 2011 music video “Friday” to make fun of it. Then you found yourself singing along. Five years later, The Breakfast Club is still dusting it off every week to usher in the weekend.
What’s your A/S/L (age/sex/location)? With that CD-Rom, you dialed up and got connected to the world, and in particular, those AIM Chat Rooms that were the precursor to catfishing. Yeah, you thought you were talking to a 12-year-old in Minnesota who was also at home bored and liked music.
It’s that phenomenon where you click a link thinking you’re about to watch, say, a Prince video, but what you really get is a clip of the enduring 1987 Rick Astley song, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
22. Antoine Dodson
In 2010, the Gregory Brothers were some dudes who d-cked around on YouTube, taking reports, throwing some Auto-Tune on top and music underneath, and calling it songifying the news. Then some idiot tried to climb in the window and rape Antoine Dodson’s sister. Dodson’s interview was turned into the “Bed Intruder” song, and it was complete internet gold. Hide ya kids, hide ya wife.
“Do it for the Vine! I ain’t gon do it.” The site for posting six-second videos didn’t have the permanence of other networks, but folks like Shawn Mendes got big enough just by posting covers that he landed a legit record deal.
20. PSY, “Gangnam Style”
On December 21, 2012, this K-pop song became the first to reach 1 billion views on YouTube. Don’t act like you don’t know the dance — your grandma even knows the dance.
19. Kanye dancing videos
Dancing Kanye! It was so joyous. A moment in time. People realized it was a rare sight, and an entire Twitter account was created for submissions of Kanye dancing to, like, every song. Because he was #alwaysonbeat.
18. Goat singing compilations
These videos of goats screaming in perfect time to hit songs are the reason the laugh cry emoji was invented. You play one, next thing you know your homework still isn’t done because you’ve been on YouTube for hours. 😂 😂
17. That Patti pie review
“B-tch, I turned into Patti.” How is it that a review of a Wal-Mart pie has 5 million views? How, Sway? Because James Wright Chanel hollered just like Miss LaBelle and ignited a Patti pie craze IRL.
Our consummately cool president has sang every song you can think of, thanks to these vids that spin clips from his speeches into music. I mean, Barack “singing” OT Genasis’ “Cut It” is really something to thank the internet for.
15. What Does the Fox Say?
Still not quite sure what this…is. Watched it a buncha times, though.
14. “Whip/Nae Nae”
Silentó had the whole world dancing with this one. The best part is how much KIDS loved it. The video of MVP Riley Curry will give you baby fever for sure.
13. The Running Man Challenge
This viral dance trend took us back to 1996 with its use of “My Boo” by Ghost Town DJs.
12. WorldStar Hip Hop
Some call it the CNN of the hood.
11. House of Balloons
This 2011 mixtape by a mysterious artist named The Weeknd was free. Can you believe it? Hidden by balloons in the accompanying images and refusing to show his face, Abel Tesfaye made us all focus on those nine songs. And there was nothing like it.
10. Jimmy Fallon and The Roots’ Brady Brunch-style videos
Originality, nostalgia, pop culture — these vids capture so much and are impeccably executed.
9. Harlem Shake videos
It wasn’t the Harlem Shake we were used to, but it took over nonetheless. YouTube says this one started it all:
8. DJ Khaled
Using social media, Khaled became the most inspirational person on the internet, and revived his career in the process.
On December 13, 2013, one Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter forever changed the way artists release albums. No promo, no warning, just a full album with videos for every track, available online at midnight.
YouTube’s benefits are too bountiful to name. Insert your favorite thing here __.
These originated as free peer-to-peer file sharing programs. It was terrible for artists, because now their music was free. It was great for fans, because now music was free! (You just had to make sure to download the right file.)
4. Soulja Boy
With “Crank Dat,” Soulja Boy ushered music into an age where singles were king. So-called “ringtone rap” exploded, and now artists really did just need one hot song that people liked enough that they’d pay to download.
As one staff member said recently, “I loved Drake since he had four songs on Myspace.”
What did we do before these looping images came into our lives?
1. Black Twitter
Here’s the deal: “Black Twitter” is Twitter. Not only do black people use Twitter more than other races, but Black Twitter tops the list for being the source of your news in most cases. It’s the group tweeting during the BET Awards every year, making it the most-talked about show. It’s the group shutting the internet down with the play-by-play during Lemonade. And at the same time, it’s the group telling the world that #BlackLivesMatter. #HappyInternautDay.
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