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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 01 February 2018 at 6:06pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In a world where the History Channel once showed PLANET OF THE APES (I am not kidding!), I suppose channels no longer stick to the remit that their names suggest.

But why did MTV stop playing music?

I checked the MTV schedule out for the first time in years. It was mainly reality shows and, well, not much else. There were some comedies and dramas on. I am not sure why the channel is still called MTV, to be honest. And I'm gonna guess that the decline in music videos began sometime between 2000 and 2004 (if anyone knows differently, please post details!).

MTV was launched in 1981. It showed music videos for a very, very long time, but a cursory glance of the schedules over the next 7 days shows reality, comedy, drama - but no music videos.

I wonder, did the likes of YouTube make MTV redundant? After all, one can go on YouTube and check out a music video at a time of your choosing. Many bands have official YouTube channels. And after a 30-second ad, you can view a song such as "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" on the official Tears For Fears page.

So that'd be my theory: the rise of the internet, and the popularity of YouTube, made MTV playing music videos redundant. Or did something else happen? I'm asking questions here, they are not rhetorical. Perhaps someone knows more than I do.

I will state this: I do miss the randomness of music videos on outlets such as MTV. I can choose to listen to a song online or via my iPod, but they are specific songs. It was quite nice back in the day having MTV on and not quite knowing what was to come. I remember switching it on during one day when I was at home working - and "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits came on, a song I remembered but had totally forgotten about.

Music videos played randomly via MTV seems quaint, but the randomness appealed to me more than me making conscious decisions to put a song on.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 01 February 2018 at 6:30pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

To me it seemed the popularity of THE REAL WORLD (1992) marked the beginning of the end for the music video on MTV.

What did the Buggles say? Video killed the radio star.
Well in this case Reality tv killed the Video star.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 01 February 2018 at 7:14pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I agree with Doug. YouTube may have dealt the final blow, but music videos had already given way to endless reruns of THE REAL WORLD and ROAD RULES.

Also holy crap, THE REAL WORLD is more than 25 years old. I miss the first few seasons, where they actually tried to do a reality show about people from different walks of life trying to live together. Puck from the third San Francisco season introduced drama, and some of the subsequent seasons emphasized hook-ups, so by the time the Las Vegas season rolled around, the MTV reality show formula of “immature, attractive drama queens + alcohol + hook-ups = ratings” became a permanent fixture of the channel. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 6:07am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I'd been trying to forget THE REAL WORLD. Not that I ever watched it, but I wasn't sure what it had to do with music. 
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John Popa
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 8:29am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

The company story (from random documentaries and interviews) is that they learned ratings increase when you have programming you can map in standard 30 or 60 minute increments. They tried some genre-specific video shows (Hard 30, Yo MTV Raps) but those were aimed at very specific niches in the audience so the numbers were usually pretty small watching them.

It basically boils down to advertising dollars and ways to get people to tune in at specific times for specific things.

It doesn't bother me so much with MTV because I've always thought it was basically a network for teenagers (and I'm old now) but it drives me batty that I can't turn on History or Discovery Channel and see a solid documentary because they're showing food shows and what not.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 8:51am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Sister channel MTV Hits in the UK is more like the MTV of old.

I remember in 2000 visiting a friend from university who had moved to San Francisco and being told by people at a party I went to that MTV no longer played music videos in the US.

And I agree that it was reality shows wot did it. The Real World, The Osbournes, Laguna Beach, The Hills.

And there were also those prank shows, like Jackass and Punk'd.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 9:26am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

 John Popa wrote:
t doesn't bother me so much with MTV because I've always thought it was basically a network for teenagers (and I'm old now) but it drives me batty that I can't turn on History or Discovery Channel and see a solid documentary because they're showing food shows and what not.

I understand. Tuning into the History Channel to be "greeted" by PLANET OF THE APES was bizarre.

They definitely seemed more niche years ago. Now, the channels are all interchangeable.

There was a channel here in the UK called Bravo. It initially showed vintage TV shows like AIRWOLF. Eventually, it started showing cop documentaries (like every other channel).
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 9:34am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Like others noted, "The Real World" seems to be the beginning of the end of MTV as we knew it. Other early causes were "Remote Control," and "Liquid Television," and "Beavis and Butthead."

Although I liked "Liquid Television," and "Beavis and Butthead," they were part of the shift away from music videos being the focus of the cable network (even if "Beavis and Butthead" did still feature music video segments).

It's a shame, because I enjoyed watching music videos. There were many creative things being done in some of them, too.

I know some artists still release music videos, but I am not quite sure where they debut, or if all major hit songs have a music video anymore.

Anyway, we do still have YouTube to see the old videos.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 10:38am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I remember when we had VH1 as well,with actual live
bands in the studio and `VJ`s`!MTV also had live
presenters,and some programming that appealed to me
Headbanger`s Ball!I really detest `Reality TV` as it`s
usually scripted and always vacuous.Nowadays i listen
to Planet Rock on the radio instead and will often
spend a few hours on Youtube watching music videoes
while my wife is watching `her` programmes!One big
success was MTV unplugged,but here in the UK they only
showed the `Mega` selling U.S. bands,i remember having
to set the vide for something like 1am Sunday morning
to record Queensryche unplugged,which was excellent,it
irked me that by not showing it at a decent time, they
prevented people from discovering a great band.

Edited by Bill Collins on 03 February 2018 at 1:35am
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 12:24pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

"Discovery" is the key word here.

When something showed up randomly (randomly from my perspective, not the perspective of the programmer), it was nice. Wow, what is that song? Who is that? It was a great way to discover things.

How do I discover things now? If I go to YouTube, it's usually with a specific band in mind. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 12:46pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I only ever used to watch MTV in the gym, so the evolution of that specific channel away from music videos doesn't bother me too much, directly at least. The decline of the video in general is an interesting phenomenon though, because nobody regularly shows videos anymore (well, apart from Canada's Much Music).

We still get the occasional big, lavish video (Taylor Swift, I'm looking at you), but the economic imperative to produce a decent video isn't the same as it once was. In the UK, you'd see videos on music shows like Top of the Pops and the Chart Show or on whatever the BBC's Saturday morning yoof show was at the time (Going Live, Live & Kicking, etc), but those shows have all dried up.

Very occasionally a video breaks out into the wider consciousness and then gets covered on shows like Ellen or Live with Kelly. The only I can really think of like this in recent years is Chandelier by Sia.

Then, of course, there is the phenomenon known as the Lyric Video...


Edited by Peter Martin on 02 February 2018 at 12:47pm
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 12:48pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Tell a lie: there's also a few by Bruno Mars!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 6:40pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

 Peter Martin wrote:
In the UK, you'd see videos on music shows like Top of the Pops and the Chart Show or on whatever the BBC's Saturday morning yoof show was at the time (Going Live, Live & Kicking, etc), but those shows have all dried up.

I miss those kinds of shows.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 7:37pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Me too!

Friday Night Videos was a must in the early 80's for those "world premier" videos.
And America's Top Ten w/ Casey Kasem was a regular Saturday morning watch.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 02 February 2018 at 8:38pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

The funniest thing about MTV is that they still host the Video Music Awards.

I do watch THE CHALLENGE and CATFISH, though. Did watch UNLOCKING THE TRUTH and THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES, but UTT apparently only lasted one season, and the other show moved to a different channel.


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Bill Collins
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 1:39am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Robbie,i find that i can discover a fair bit on
Youtube,yes initially it`s by searching for specific
bands,but the suggestions it throws up in the right hand
panel often lead you to undiscovered or long forgotten
stuff!
Regarding The Chart Show,i loved how they did specific
chart run downs each week,for instance the `Rock`
chart.Then there was the early hours of Saturday morning
shows like The Power Hour and Raw Power,both rock/metal
shows!
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Glenn Brenner
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 12:26pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

I miss Headbanger's Ball and 120 minutes.
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 6:11pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Headbanger's Ball I watched pretty regularly when Adam Curry and later Riki Rachtman were the hosts. They tried to do a new version of the show (with no host, if I remember right) on MTV Classic, but it stunk.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 03 February 2018 at 7:23pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Who remembers MTV's Heavy Metal Half-Hour?
I used to stay up late just to get 30 minutes of the kind of music they would rarely show during the day and prime time.

Vinnie Vincent did some hosting too.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 04 February 2018 at 1:56am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

In the UK Headbanger`s Ball was presented by Vanessa
Warwick, then wife of Ricky Warwick of The Almighty and
Black Star Riders.
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Jozef Brandt
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 12:38am | IP Logged | 21 post reply


Portlandia had a pretty hilarious (by their standards) bit about a guy getting a TV for the first time in years and being outraged that MTV no longer showed videos.  He gets old MTV personalities to storm the offices of the head of MTV, which turns out to be a 9 year old girl.
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