Used to Be Hot: MTV

I’m only about the millionth person in the world who complains about how MTV sucks now. If it was ever really that cool. The MTV era ushered in a whole new genre of music in the early 80s and then they suddenly stopped playing music videos and started getting into the garbage reality TV game with crap like Jersey Shore and The Real World.

MTV launched in 1981 and became a large hit almost immediately. It was when the idea of music videos was still pretty fresh and it motivated a lot of artists to get into the video game. It also ruined a lot of careers too as commercial success arguably became more important than ever. An interesting video that attracted fans was basically all it took to get a hit song and potentially a hit album too. The channel is probably partly responsible for a lot of the “one hit wonders” that came out of the 80s.

Hair metal became the popular rock genre of the era. Some bands that could hardly play their instruments were able to score record deals because they would look good in videos. MTV was also able to shift things into the grunge era which eventually became tiresome as well.

MTV also was the home for Beavis and Butthead that became one of the 90s trademarks and launched Mike Judge’s career. The cartoon duo were famous for sitting in front of their TV and making fun of popular videos of the time. An effort to bring the characters back in 2011 wasn’t particularly successful.

Eventually it got to the point where MTV stopped playing music videos entirely. I believe they still do their music video award shows every year, but they do so without playing any videos. In the US there is MTV Classic, a channel that plays old music videos, but it was never actually a success.

What did you think of MTV? Should it still air videos? Did it ruin music?