July 3 – Opening of the O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London, UK.
July 5 – Staatsminister Rainer Robra and Halberstadt Oberbürgermeister Andreas Henke preside as the notes A♭ and C are added in the sixth sound change of the performance of John Cage’s Organ/ASLSP (As SLow aS Possible) that began on 5 September 2001 and is to conclude on 5 September 2640, in Halberstadt, Germany.
July 23–26 – The 2008 10,000 Lakes Festival is held.
July 24–28 – The Fifth International Symposium of throat-singing, “Khoomei—Cultural Phenomenon of the Peoples of Central Asia” is held in Tuva.
August 1–3 – The Lollapalooza music festival takes place in Chicago, Illinois, US.
August 8 – Chen Qigang is director of music for the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. A minor scandal ensues when it is revealed that Lin Miaoke, the performer of “Ode to the Motherland”, was miming to a recording by another girl, Yang Peiyi.
August 10 – Jimmy Dean and Eddie Fisher celebrate their 80th birthdays.
August 12–18 – Sziget Festival 2008 takes place in Budapest, Hungary.
August 13 – Jeff Singer quits Paradise Lost.
August 19 – LeRoi Moore, saxophonist and founding member of Dave Matthews Band, dies from complications from an ATV accident suffered earlier in the summer.
August 22 – Coke Live Music Festival opens in Poland, headlined by artists Sean Paul, Timbaland, and The Prodigy.
Madonna starts her Sticky & Sweet Tour which is set to become the highest-grossing tour for both a female and solo artist.
Michael Nicklasson quits Dark Tranquility.
Filipino rock band Eraserheads hold their one-night-only reunion concert in the Fort open field, their first concert since 2001. After the 20-minute break, vocalist Ely Buendia is rushed to the hospital because of chest pain due to emotional stress.
American Idol Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta’s debut single “Crush” scores the highest debut of a song on the Billboard Hot 100 by an American Idol finalist not performed on the show. The track opened at No. 2 after selling 166,000 downloads in its first week of release.
August 31 – Chrome Division fires Eddie Guz.
September 6 – Six members of The Specials re-unite at the Bestival as a ‘Surprise Act’. They use the name “Terry Hall and Friends”, because Jerry Dammers, who owns the band’s name, did not participate.
September 7 – The 2008 MTV Video Music Awards are presented at Paramount Studios, Hollywood. Britney Spears’ wins Video of the Year, Best Pop Video, and Best Female Video for “Piece of Me”. Christina Aguilera also made her return to music since giving birth to her first child with the debut of her single Keeps Gettin’ Better.
September 9 – Jessica Simpson releases her first album in two years, Do You Know, her first country album. It goes straight in at No. 1 in the Billboard Country Charts and at No. 4 in the Billboard 200 with sales of 65,000.
September 10 – The 22nd Annual ARIA Music Awards are held in Sydney, Australia, recognizing Australian music in 2008. Dance-punk group The Presets win Album of the Year.
September 11 – Christian Älvestam leaves Scar Symmetry.
September 12 – Season 4 of the Finnish talent contest, Idols, begins.
September 15 – Kris Drever, John McCusker and Roddy Woomble release Before the Ruin.
Soilwork hires former member, Peter Wichers, to replace Daniel Antonsson, who is fired.
Ben Folds Five play a sold out reunion show in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, performing the entirety of their 1999 album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, that was filmed for DVD and web release by MySpace in benefit for Operation Smile
Crystal Castles play their biggest headline show to date, at Electric Ballroom in Camden, London.
September 19 – “Only by the Night” the fourth studio album by American alternative rock band Kings of Leon, released worldwide in September 2008. – Travis Barker and Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) survive a plane crash that claims four lives.
September 20 – P!nk scores her first solo number-one hit in her native US, with “So What”.
At the Gates play their final show.
The Eric Burdon show in Oklahoma is cancelled due to his health problems.
September 24 – Within Temptation release the Black Symphony DVD, featuring the Metropole Orchestra and guest musicians.
September 25 – Paul McCartney performs at Tel Aviv park, his first performance in Israel since The Beatles were banned from the country in 1965.
October 1 – Tina Turner leaves semi-retirement to embark on her Tina!: 50th Anniversary Tour, which grosses over US $130 million.
October 5 – Stephanie Jeong wins the Second Prize (no First Prize is awarded) in the Premio Paganini international violin competition in Genoa.
October 7 – Spotify on-demand music streaming service launches in Sweden.
October 10 – The Fourth Waakirchener Zither Festival takes place in Waakirchen, Bavaria.
October 12 – Opening of the VII Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra, in Rome and the Vatican City (until November 30).
October 16 – Britney Spears sets a new record for the biggest jump to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, rising from number 96 to number one in just one week, with her single “Womanizer”. It is Spears’ first American number one since her debut single “…Baby One More Time”. (The record is subsequently broken by Kelly Clarkson). It also garners first-week download sales of 286,000, the biggest opening-week tally by a female artist.
October 18 – Rihanna scores her fifth number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 (as a featured artist on T.I.’s “Live Your Life”, which follows “SOS”, “Umbrella”, “Take a Bow”, and “Disturbia”), becoming the leading solo female artist with the most number ones to have charted in this decade until Beyoncé Knowles breaks her record (as a solo artist).
November 1–9 – The Southbank Centre in London, UK presents “Klang: A Tribute to Stockhausen”, a festival curated by Oliver Knussen, with a series of concerts focusing on works from the composer’s last decade, including the world premieres of Urantia and Zodiac for Orchestra, as well as late-night performances, lectures, and master classes.
November 2 – The Fauxharmonic Orchestra loses in its debut confrontation with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in a Bargemusic concert.
November 4 – Bhimsen Joshi is selected to receive the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour.
November 6 – Michael Tilson Thomas makes his Philadelphia Orchestra subscription-concert conducting debut.
November 17 – Korean violinist Hyun-Su Shin wins First Prize in the Jacques Thibaud International Violin Competition in Paris
November 23 – 13 years after his disappearance, Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards is declared dead in absentia.
November 24 – The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra announces the appointment of Pinchas Zukerman as principal guest conductor, to begin in January 2009.
December 9 – Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon say that Blur will reunite for a concert at Hyde Park on July 3, 2009. Tickets for the concert sell out within two minutes of release, and Blur announce another date on July 2, 2009.
December 11 – Elliott Carter celebrates his 100th birthday.
December 13 – Beyoncé Knowles scores her fifth number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, which followed “Crazy in Love”, “Baby Boy”, “Check on It”, and “Irreplaceable”, tying with Rihanna as the leading solo female artist with the most number ones to have charted in this decade.
December 22 – Live Nation announce that Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet Tour is the highest-grossing tour for a solo artist, with US$280 million in ticket sales and 2,350,282 fans attending the 58 shows during the three-leg tour across Europe and the Americas
July 3 – Opening of the O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, London, UK.