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11.09.1996   David Bowie becomes the first major artist to distribute a new song – Telling Lies – as an online–only release, selling over 300,000 downloads. Two years later, Bowie was to launch his own ISP –
02.1987   Marillion confirm that they won’t be touring North America in support of This Strange Engine due to it not being financial viable. US fan Jeff Pelletier comes up with the idea of a ‘tour fund’ – the &u0024;60,000 raised enables the boys to tour later in the year and gives them the confidence to pioneer the pre–order campaign for the next studio release.
06.1999   Napster launches.
02.2000   After coming to the end of their record deal with Castle, Marillion ask their fanbase to pre–order their next album before they’d even recorded a note. 12,500 do so to finance the recording of Anoraknophobia. A distribution deal is struck with EMI and the album is released on 15th May 2001. The crowd–funding model is launched.
17.11.2000   Marillion’s acoustic gig at the Bass Museum in Derbyshire is broadcast live over the internet (a Webcast) and is later released as the Piss Up In A Brewery DVD.
08.2002   MySpace founded.
17.12.2002   Marillion ask their fanbase to pre–order their 13th studio album, to finance the marketing and promotion of the new opus. 18,000 do so and Marbles is released in May 2004.
04.2003   Apple opens iTunes Store.
02.2004   Facebook founded.
02.2005   YouTube launched.
01.2006   Arctic Monkeys release their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, having built a considerable following online from giving away early versions of the album tracks – it remains the fastest selling British album of all time. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor precedes it as a hit single in October 2005.
04.2006   Crazy by Gnarls Barkley makes pop history as the UK’s first number one song based on download sales alone.
07.2006   Twitter launches.
10.10.2007   Radiohead release their In Rainbows album as a pay–what–you–like download, with a physical release following two months later.
03.03.2008   The Charlatans become the first major act to give away a new album as a free download when releasing You Cross My Path; physical releases follow two months later. The band had previously made the title track a free downloadable single in October 2007.
10.20008   Spotify launches.
10.09.2008   Marillion become the first band to release a new album Happiness Is the Road legally, using P2P (Peer–to–Peer) internet networks for distribution. Those fans pre–ordering the album receive a deluxe double CD package similar to the Marbles and Anoraknophobia releases.
04.2009   KickStarter launches.
15.05.2009   Coldplay give live album LeftRightLeftRightLeft away over the internet.
18.05.2009   Justin Bieber releases debut single One Time having built up a huge following from uploading R&B covers to YouTube from the age of 12 (2007).
08.2009   PledgeMusic launches.
10.2010   Instagram launches.
02.04.2012   Another Marillion album, another pre-order. Sounds That Can’t Be Made is released September 2012.
11.2012   Marillion App launched.
25.11.2013   Rothers launches a Crowdfunding campaign to finance his The Ghosts Of Pripyat solo CD.
09.2014   U2 give their new album Songs Of Innocence away to all iTunes users.
01.2015   Periscope launched.
06.2015   Apple Music launches.
01.09.2015   Marillion announce that their 18th studio album will be released via PledgeMusic.

Words by Ian Walford

This article should have accompanied the Marillion’s Online Presence article in the Spring 2016 issue of The Web UK Magazine.

Click here to view the pdf of Mathijs’s layout of this article.

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