Revolution's brief history of digital music

LONDON - With the music industry in chaos and Spotify and Pirate Bay dominating the headlines, Revolution tracks the emergence of digital music since the MP3 file was invented in 1991.

Apple's iPod has fuelled the boom in digital music
Apple's iPod has fuelled the boom in digital music

December 1991

The MP3 file is invented by the Fraunhofer Institute, following years of research into compressing files

November 1997 is founded, enabling users to access their music online, provided they have a genuine copyright version

February 1998

eMusic launches, becoming the first website to offer MP3 files for download as well as a subscription service

April 1998

Saehan, a Korean electronic manufacturer, produces MPMan, the world's first MP3 player

June 1999

Napster, the first large-scale P2P network, is founded by Boston student Shawn Fanning

December 1999

Shazam, the mobile music recognition service, is established by Californian students who later move to London

April 2000

A US judge rules that is liable for copyright infringement, one of the first rulings in favour of record labels

March 2001

Niklas Zennstrom, Janus Friis and Priit Kasesalu (who subsequently set up Skype and Joost) found KaZaa

July 2001

Napster is ordered to shut down by the US Circuit Court of Appeal for infringing copyright

October 2001

Apple sells its first iPod. It has sold almost 200m since, becoming the world's most popular music player

January 2002 launches in London, the first ad-funded internet radio platform offering personalised music

April 2003

Apple launches the iTunes Music Store which has since grown to account for 70 per cent of digital music sales

October 2003

Napster re-emerges with a paid-for model after Roxio bought its remaining assets at a bankruptcy auction

January 2004

Coca-Cola, with Mycokemusic, becomes one of the first major brands to launch a download store

January 2005

Downloaded tracks outsell physical singles for the first time and are later incorporated into the UK singles chart

September 2005

HMV and Virgin Megastores are late to the party when they both launch online music sites

July 2005

Apple sells 500 million tracks through iTunes after just over two years of offering downloads

September 2006

Microsoft lifts lid on Zune, its rival to the iPod, which promises to deliver 'connected music and entertainment'

June 2007

Apple unveils the iPhone, providing the long-awaited joint experience of communication and music

October 2007

Radiohead releases its single In Rainbows online, inviting people to 'pay what they like' to download it

July 2008

UK record labels, media owners and ISPs agree a Memorandum of Understanding to combat illegal file sharing

October 2008

Nokia brings its Comes With Music mobile play to the UK market, backed by a multimillion-pound ad campaign

February 2009

Spotify opens free registration in the UK and becomes one of the fastest-growing start-ups in history

April 2009

The founders of Pirate Bay, a peer-to-peer file sharing site, are sent to jail for a year by a Swedish court.

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