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July 22, 2014

Do you still want your MTV? - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 29th 2008 1:03PM
The PoliceI remember when MTV first launched, way back in 1981. I was in high school, and it instantly became THE MOST IMPORTANT TV STATION IN OUR LIVES. Looking back I guess that seems sort of silly, but when you're a teenager and you can come home from school and see your favorite songs all day long in video form, that's pretty cool.

I have no idea what MTV is like these days. I've watched it only a few times in the past several years, and even that was something like The Real World or maybe some special. People have been complaining for years that the network hasn't been showing videos like they used to. I don't know how true that is now, but if you're looking for a station completely devoted to music videos (and not reality programming), then check out MTV Music, the new web site that houses a bunch of videos old and new.

You can see the latest Britney Spears and Usher, but also access classic stuff like The Police, New Order, Dire Straits, and Michael Jackson. You can even watch the very first video shown on the network, "Video Killed The Radio Star," by The Buggles.

And now, for no reason except that fact that I like it and it's very 80s, is the video for "When The Heart Rules The Mind," by the horribly named band GTR.

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Eric Ambler

In your reporting on the launch of MTV Music, I must say that I enjoyed your enthusiasm for the MTV of a bygone era--when it was, as you so succinctly state, "THE MOST IMPORTANT TV STATION IN OUR LIVES." With the recent cancellation of the last bastion of the music video on "Music Television," Total Request Live, it seems as if the network is willing to abandon the format. And while I can also appreciate the nostalgia that permeates the MTV Music project, it is clear that MTV has strayed about as far from its original 1981 mission--to play music videos and disseminate music news--as conceivably possible. A look at MTV's typical daily schedule and even the curiously redundant title "MTV Music" underscores this sad irony. I cannot help but think that this is worrisome for the future of music videos as a whole. There is little economic incentive to produce music videos without a broad platform for exhibition and although the Internet has picked up some of the slack from television, it is inconceivable to think that more than a few videos each year could reach the type of cultural saturation common in the 1980s and 1990s.

It is interesting that several other comments on this post have mentioned a desire to see MTV Music evolve into a full-scale cable channel as a sort of hybrid between VH1 Classic and MTV's barely-adequate once-a-week video premiere show FNMTV. I, for one, do not think a channel like this would be successful because of the pop cultural evidence that the music video is barely respected as an art form anymore. The video for Rick Astley's 1988 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" is both a "Top Rated" and "Most Viewed" clip on MTV Music, undoubtedly on the strength of its popularity as an absurd online practical joke. Despite MTV's best efforts to highlight long-lost classic videos and artists obscure to MTV's target audience, how is MTV Music anything than lip service to the obsolete product that made the network rich? I also want my MTV, but I do not expect to receive it anytime soon--at least not in any form that I will embrace.

November 02 2008 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Galley

In case you weren't aware, "GTR" is an abbreviation used on mixing boards for channels guitars are plugged into. As you may know, GTR had a couple of rather famous guitar players in the band.

October 30 2008 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg

You know what would be awesome? They should turn this new website into a cable TV channel! It'd be amazing!

October 29 2008 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason

This december will have been 25 years since MTV gave aired the World Premiere of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' music video.

October 29 2008 at 8:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Donna

MTV stands for "Music Television" -- although the original premise was much like "video radio" with veejays and music rotation. I loved it!

But they ruined it when they tried to be like every other cable network -- reality shows and variety shows and just plain JUNK! They at least should have the decency to let go of the name "Music Television," because it doesn't even apply to MTV anymore.

Side note: back in its early days, my grandmother, who was born in 1893 and was old enough to remember things like the Titanic and World War I, actually liked watching MTV. (She died in 1985 at age 92.) It's probably a good thing she isn't alive now to see what it turned into.

October 29 2008 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Adam Cheeseman

toss it out with the rest of the trash, MTV has outlived its usefullness...long live YouTube! (for 13 years atleast (it will take half as long for new stuff to get old))

October 29 2008 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ari

money for nothin' and the chicks for free

October 29 2008 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kim

I remember the summer of '82 when I first saw MTV. I went to stay with my father in Connecticut for the summer (we didn't get MTV in Maine until '83). I was hopelessly mezmerized and spent countless hours watching the perfect union of music and video. Looking back many of the videos were horrible in comparison to today!

I watch the top 20 countdown on VH1 on Saturday morning but I can't figure out when people are actually watching the videos they are voting for. Are they watching the vidoes online and voting? I don't even watch MTV anymore. It's foolish!

October 29 2008 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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