To everyone who complains about MTV lacking actual music on the network: Get over it. Now, before you throw your vinyl records at me for saying such a thing, hear me out. I was born in the late 80s, so I myself enjoyed MTV when it was still more about music. I remember waking up in the morning and flipping on the channel, having various music videos play as I got dressed. I remember wondering if my votes actually counted whenever I wanted Britney Spears’ latest video to reach the #1 spot on TRL. I even remember when slightly off-topic shows like Fanatic tried to incorporate music by having crazed fans meet their favorite musical artists.
Those were some good times, I admit, but I think people wearing their tattered “I want my MTV” shirts are forgetting one thing: Times change. I may not have been alive to experience video killing the radio star, but the same principle applies. With the current state of the World Wide Web, I guess the motto for this generation could be “YouTube killed the TV star.” Founded in 2005, YouTube has grown to be so huge that the video-sharing site touts that they exceed 2 billion hits per day. With varying content including vloggers, tutorials, embarrassing moments, and animals doing obscenely cute things, lots of people turn to YouTube for the very thing people miss about MTV.
The truth is, there are people out there who upload tracks and music videos onto their YouTube accounts, knowing that tons of people will watch. Why will they watch? YouTube has the on-demand convenience that music networks like MTV and VH1 didn’t have. Nobody would argue that today’s digital generation has way more distractions than years past. With so many things one could put their attention to, on-demand music is essential and is the reason why music videos began appearing on YouTube in the first place.
Of course, with copyright laws being what they are, the record labels that produce this musical content saw an opportunity. Why let these amateurs post their content onto YouTube, when we can do it ourselves with much higher quality, and add exclusive content like interviews and live sessions? And so, the record labels began to create “official” channels for their artists, where high definition music videos and additional content could be found. With these official channels, the record labels effectively took video hits away from amateur uploaders and claimed them for their own, building revenue for themselves. With all of this happening, it was only a matter of time before people turned off MTV and turned on the Internet for music.
So, instead of getting mad at MTV for not showing music anymore, get mad at YouTube for making videos conveniently available at the click of a mouse. Or perhaps, people that want the old MTV back need to get mad at themselves, because chances are they visit YouTube to check back on their favorite music videos from the past. I guess the real solution is to stop getting music off of the Internet, so that it can get back on the television like the old days. But before planning that protest, think about who would skip an episode of Game of Thrones to watch a music video on TV. Yeah, that’s what I thought.