MTV’s “music videos” focus seems to have gone on a steady decline beginning with The Real World in the 90s, and while the halcyon days of Beavis And Butthead briefly graced the network last year, another throwback is coming to MTV — music videos themselves, but just for a day.
MTV music videos were, back in the day, not just a form of programming… they were also a social facilitator. Before we had iPods and streaming music (and would have flipped to think about controlling a playlist so easily), MTV’s music videos provided a background for teen socializing as well as a topic of culture conversation for the high and middle schoolers of America.
But sometime in the 90s, we all got back from a rave and noticed by the dying embers of a glow stick that MTV music videos were no more. Sure, music videos are still made, but flip on MTV and from what we hear nowadays, it’s all Snooki and teen moms.
July 4th is Independence Day, and for MTV (and sister channels VH1 and that country station), it’s also Music Independence Day. And in response, Viacom has announced actual MTV music videos will air once again — we’re not precisely sure if, like July 4th 21 years ago, it will be a solid block of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.”
Van Toffler of MTV isn’t helping us not feel old when he talks about it like the kids of 2013 are visiting a restoration village with birch beer and horse-drawn carriages:
“This harkens back to the core of these music brands… In part it is to remind people what an immersive experience we can provide so people can hear the music and the artists and the stories behind the artists… It is a celebration and we hope we can do it more often.”
Original VJ Mark Goodman says he understands why MTV music videos went the way of Betamax, saying:
“I always tell people, ‘Look, even if MTV had never changed formats, if it was 24-hour videos — it’s not like they’d be playing Warrant and Spandau Ballet… They’d still be playing Chris Brown and One Direction. People of our generation would still be going, ‘It’s not the same.’ ”
“What’s the point? I think MTV as it was then was around today, it wouldn’t be any reason for it to exist. We got VEVO, and YouTube — whatever video you want, whenever you want, and as many times as you want. MTV has been shown to be pretty smart as far as that goes. There is no reason for that. It’s not a bad or good thing, it’s just is.”
Do you think MTV music videos have become totally obsolete?