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My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

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My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Old 07-18-16, 12:41 PM
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My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I know this question has almost become a cliche for the past 15 years, as everyone blames MTV for not playing videos anymore. I honestly think that music changed in the 90's and that was essentially the death of music videos.

When I was growing up in the heyday of MTV during the mid 80's, pop music ruled everything. And what I mean ruled is that every type of music in one way another co-opted pop. Whether it was hair bands like Whitesnake and Motley Crue, or classic rock groups from 70's like Bowie, Rolling Stones, and Bruce to pure pop sensations like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince and Whitney Houston.

MTV could play all of this music 24 hours a day and still have a mass audience, as rap and heavy metal were just a niche group of fans. Then the early 90's came and other forms of music became popular: Grunge, Rap/HipHop, Country, and Pop.

So what should MTV play 24 hours a day to get a mass audience? Would Nirvana fans listen to Notorius BIG? Would Eminem fans listen to Britney Spears or N'Sync? How about Country Music artists became mainstream too?

My point is that in the 1980's, MTV could play Michael Jackson, Madonna, Rolling Stones, Prince, Duran Duran, etc, and most teenagers growing up liked or loved most of them. But once music became diverse in the 90's/00's, then there would never be a mass audience to watch videos anymore, hence the death of MTV.

Now of course YouTube, and other forms of listening to music changed MTV too, but the bottom line is that radio stations are still alive playing music, the only difference is they cater to one specific genre of music, where MTV can never survive doing that.
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Old 07-18-16, 12:50 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I think it also has to do with advertiser support.

MTV can't support itself just playing music videos, especially now in 2016.

Advertisers will be more inclined to pay for spots in a cheap reality show or Teen Wolf/Scream than say a 1 hour music video show. I think those reality shows are water cooler TV for the kids in High School and college. I just don't think there's enough quality modern music to play on a revolving basis anymore. And are most major artists still even shooting music videos anymore?
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Old 07-18-16, 12:55 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
And are most major artists still even shooting music videos anymore?
Granted, I'm 37 and I don't have the musical tastes of a teenager, but most of the "current" bands that I listen to still create music videos. My wife and I actually use a Chromecast to watch music videos on YouTube, thus creating a better version of the MTV of old.
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Old 07-18-16, 01:13 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
I think it also has to do with advertiser support.

MTV can't support itself just playing music videos, especially now in 2016.

Advertisers will be more inclined to pay for spots in a cheap reality show or Teen Wolf/Scream than say a 1 hour music video show. I think those reality shows are water cooler TV for the kids in High School and college. I just don't think there's enough quality modern music to play on a revolving basis anymore. And are most major artists still even shooting music videos anymore?
It's this. Music videos (esp if so diverse as you mentioned) do not cause viewers to STAY tuned. They can switch as soon as their favorite is over. There is a good book on the decline of MTV (I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story Of The Music Video Revolution) that explains exactly why they moved away from the videos)
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Old 07-18-16, 04:36 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Still doesn't justify the crap they put on in its place.
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Old 07-18-16, 08:38 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

For us rockers - MTV-X was amazing. Hard rock/rock/metal all the time.
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Old 07-18-16, 08:45 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Most bands I listen to still do videos. I have a ton downloaded and put into a playlist in iTunes. Set that sucker to random and I'm good to go.
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Old 07-18-16, 08:59 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I used to complain about MTV not playing music videos anymore but now with YouTube it's all good.
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Old 07-18-16, 09:06 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
I think it also has to do with advertiser support.

MTV can't support itself just playing music videos, especially now in 2016.

Advertisers will be more inclined to pay for spots in a cheap reality show or Teen Wolf/Scream than say a 1 hour music video show. I think those reality shows are water cooler TV for the kids in High School and college. I just don't think there's enough quality modern music to play on a revolving basis anymore. And are most major artists still even shooting music videos anymore?
Yeah, the bottom line is more people will watch not-music videos than music videos. So now they show nothing but original reality shows (Teen Mom, Catfish) that are cheap to produce, syndicated television (like Martin), or movies.

Same with every other cable television channel that has moved away from their original programming.

Last edited by Josh-da-man; 07-19-16 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 07-19-16, 12:38 AM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I think it also has to do with advertiser support.
Which is what's so WRONG about cable's basic business model. If I'm PAYING for it, then *I* am the sponsor, and if they won't show me what I want then they don't get my money. (Who the hell would PAY to watch "Martin" reruns, and choose THAT over music videos???) I'd pay for a good online music video service with better-than-YouTube quality- Vevo on the Roku almost fits that, though their main "TV channel" has an onscreen bug- you get a clutter-free picture when you select your own videos, but then it plays a narrower variety of them afterwards. I don't mind sitting through a few stupid rap videos to see/hear something I might like but never heard of before in between.

Commercial radio of course doesn't play as diverse a variety of music as it used to. Top 40 stations, though limited only to "hit singles" and not every song on an album, would play hard rock, soul, pop and maybe even one country song every once in a while during a few hours. The #1 top 40 station here in the 80s is now 100% rap and new R&B, and other stations are now limited to rock and nothing but that, etc. My taste is all over the place- when I put Pandora on "Quickmix" I get just about everything- it's always funny when it plays Dead Kennedys and Hannah Montana back to back!
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Old 07-19-16, 05:49 AM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Originally Posted by DJariya View Post
I think it also has to do with advertiser support.

MTV can't support itself just playing music videos, especially now in 2016.

Advertisers will be more inclined to pay for spots in a cheap reality show or Teen Wolf/Scream than say a 1 hour music video show. I think those reality shows are water cooler TV for the kids in High School and college. I just don't think there's enough quality modern music to play on a revolving basis anymore. And are most major artists still even shooting music videos anymore?
I see what you're saying, but from what I read MTV ratings have been dropping for years. Yes, there is always a hit show like Jersey Shore/Beavis and Butthead that will boost the ratings in the short-term. But there is so much dreck they show that you wonder how the network is even relevant anymore? My point is that if I were running the network, is it worth it to show a bunch of stupid teenage shows to a small audience of kids, when they could rebrand the channel doing something more substantitive to a mass audience? It's almost like they gave up and said, "OK, only teenagers watch us, so we are going to show them the lowest common denominator shows and get awful ratings!"
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Old 07-19-16, 08:11 AM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I think advertisers are probably happier reaching a small, teenage audience than a large mass audience. Teenager are traditionally harder to market to than the 18-49 demo, so companies are happy to have an in to that audience.
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Old 07-19-16, 11:09 AM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

More specifically SPOILED RICH teenage audiences, as they can't afford cable on their own. And add STUPID to that list with what most of the shows are. In the 80s at least they used to advertise audio/video equipment and stuff like that.
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Old 07-19-16, 12:49 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
More specifically SPOILED RICH teenage audiences, as they can't afford cable on their own. And add STUPID to that list with what most of the shows are. In the 80s at least they used to advertise audio/video equipment and stuff like that.
I was watching a documentary about Spaulding Grey called ...and Everything is Going Fine. It's entirely made of clips of the man speaking and being interviewed. About half way in they show a clip of him being interviewed and it has that famous MTV bug in the corner. I'd guess it was about 1993.

It jogged my memmory. MTV used to show interviews with Spaulding Grey!!! They used to show The Young Ones and Flying Circus. They used to push a lot of exciting and interesting subjects.

Cable used to be a niche of affluent viewership. MTV viewers were affluent young people. Affluent young people have diverse interests and were receptive to MTV's alternative content. Cable went mainstream, and everybody bought in. MTV had to change to accommodate their new viewership who were young, dumb, not college bound. They had to go from lampooning ignorant teens with Bevis and Butthead to embracing them as the target demographic.

And they called their leader The Situation!
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Old 07-19-16, 01:18 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I just think there's not a lot of interest in music videos in general as there once was.

Does anyone here actually watch the same music video more than once? Usually I'll check out a music video on youtube just to listen to the new song (whether it's an artist I already like or someone I don't know), and that's usually it. I won't go back to re-watch the video - although if liked the song enough I may play the video again just for the audio while doing something else.

And if there are still people who love to watch music videos and watch them often, wouldn't youtube be the best option anyway? In the 80's I had to sit through a lot of crap in the hopes of watching something I liked - but today you have the luxury of picking and choosing. Why would anyone want to be forced to listen/watch something they don't like?
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Old 07-19-16, 01:44 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I watch the same videos many times. I know that barely anyone does anymore, so I'm not saying that MTV should change their course.
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Old 07-19-16, 02:06 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I watch the MTV-Live (formerly Palladia) channel a lot. It's more concerts and festivals than videos, but they do show both.

And I do watch videos multiple times with my setup on iTunes. To me it's just another playlist on random.
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Old 07-19-16, 02:21 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

MTV started moving away from music videos when the music labels started demanding more and more licensing fees. MTV was basically paying nothing for videos in the 80s. The music industry considered it free advertising. That was the impetus behind MTV transitioning into a reality channel.

The rise of the Internet largely destroyed the music video as television business model. People could hear the songs on Napster without having to hang around the TV all day.
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Old 07-19-16, 02:50 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Yeah, MTV should totally have ignored all the trends and stuck to what they do best, music videos. Stay the course, keep going with the original plan. You know, like Blockbuster video rental stores.

The only thing I've watched on MTV in the last decade has been the Beavis and Butthead revival a few years ago, but I can see why they abandoned music videos. Had they stayed the course, they probably would have been gobbled up and rebranded, like TNN (The Nashville Network) becoming Spike TV, or OLN (Outdoor Life Network) becoming Versus and eventually NBC Sports Network.
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Old 07-19-16, 03:22 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

What was the first non-music program MTV did? Remote Control?

The early 90's were really the golden age of MTV. They were still running music, with genre-specific programming like Yo MTV Raps, Headbangers Ball, and 120 Minutes, in addition to innovative original series like MTV News, Aeon Flux, Beavis and Butthead, and The Real World. Damn, I miss that shit.
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Old 07-19-16, 06:58 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
What was the first non-music program MTV did? Remote Control?
I didn't get MTV until the late 80s, but from what I've read, they experimented with a lot of non-music programming early on, like pro-wrestling and teen-oriented movies like Friday the 13th. Supposedly they would occasionally show experimental films like Un Chien Andalou.
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Old 07-19-16, 08:45 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I didn"t get MTV until around '86 or '87, and it was all music at that time. I remember watching 120 Minutes and HBB, and I remember when Yo MTV Raps debuted. They also did a top ten viewer requests show around 5:00 or 6:00 pm. I also remember when Remote Control started, and it seemed weird at the time that MTV was showing something that wasn't music (either videos or concerts).
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Old 07-20-16, 12:31 AM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Yep, Remote Control was the first non-music show, though at least at first the questions were about music. They added Monty Python's Flying Circus in the late 80s which was a bit too old to be showing there (plus it had already been on PBS which you could get for free over the air). The whole point of MTV in the beginning was that you could turn it on any time day or night and see music videos. If you wanted to see regular shows, there were other channels for that.

This is how it started out in 1981 (this is just the intro, someone had the whole first hour uploaded but it seems to be gone now)


"Teen Mom" is NOT "Rock n Roll".
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Old 07-20-16, 11:46 AM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

I also remember them showing "The Young Ones" on, I think, Sunday nights at some point in the late 80s or early 90s.
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Old 07-20-16, 12:19 PM
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Re: My theory on why MTV doesn't play music videos anymore

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
What was the first non-music program MTV did? Remote Control?

.
I think Remote Control started 1987 or 1988? I think that was their first rebranding as I'm pretty sure they cleaned house with all of the Original VJ's in 1987, and then the next wave of VJ's (Downtown Julie Brown, Kennedy, Tabitha Soren, Kurt Loder did MTV News every half hour).

I think a big change in MTV when was 'Yo!MTV Raps' was so successful as they realized there actually was an audience for that music, especially white kids. I still think that time period (early 90's) is when music got away from pure pop and got genre specific like Grunge, Rap, Country, Hip-Hop, etc. There is no way you can run all of those types of music and be able to hold a mass audience. Once you focus on one type of music, you are going to turn off another fanbase. It was easy in the mid 80's as pretty much everything that was popular was considered Pop Music so they could run with those videos all day.
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