First Official Digital Single in Music History Celebrates 20th Birthday

It took up to 90 minutes to download a 3:14 Aerosmith song back in 1994.

Ultimate Guitar

Over 20 years ago, on June 27, 1994, the very first official digital single was released, marking the beginning of a revolution not many were aware of at the time.

Noisey did an extensive research on the matter, discussing how it took up to 90 minutes to download a 3:14 track. And speaking of which, the song was "Head First" by a band called Aerosmith.

"Twenty years ago, on June 27, 1994, Geffen Records made history when it released the first major label song for exclusive digital download," the article reads. "The song was Aerosmith's 'Head First,' an unused cut from 'Get a Grip' sessions.

"Ten thousand CompuServe subscribers downloaded it in eight days. It is three minutes and 14 seconds long. It took 60 to 90 minutes to download. 'Head First' was a trial, a marketing ploy, a flash of the future, an iceberg for a titanic industry, and 4.3 megabytes of riffs and double entendres, available as a WAV file."

"If our fans are out there driving down that information superhighway, then we want to be playing at the truck stop," singer Steven Tyler said back in the day.

Meanwhile, MetalSucks pointed at a 1994 New York Times article written by Motley Crue biography author Neil Strauss. Oddly enough, the piece suggests that at the time, record labels weren't even sure if it was worth to pursue copyright protection on the web.

"At stake may be nothing less than the future of the record business. If songs are available free through a computer's phone line, this leaves record labels, manufacturers and retailers out in the cold," Neil wrote.

"The current state of technology makes it impractical in terms of time and computer storage space to download an entire CD, but several computer companies are working to remedy the matter. More urgent is the matter of copyright. On the vast information network known as Internet, music fans have been making songs by popular acts available free for some time. Several major recording labels are in the process of deciding whether they will lobby for copyright protection on Internet," the article concludes.

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    "On the vast information network known as Internet" This just struck me as way funnier than it should have