MTV makes headlines a couple of times a year. Headlines go out everywhere like something actually happens. But within days it is pretty much forgotten about until it reminded what has happened in the years gone by and that more will happen again so tune in.
The MTV Video Music Awards makes lots of noise and headlines. News outlets all over the place love to trumpet what has gone on and the cool things that happened this year at the awards show. But in moderns times the question seems to be asked again and again. Does the name MTV actually mean anything to the audience any more? Let alone have any kind of authority to hold an award show that holds any water with anyone?
To a previous generation, the question is absurd to ask. In the early cable TV days, they were the pioneers of making Music Videos cool and made MTV the forefront of what was happening and what was cool in the general audience. “I Want My MTV” was the catchphrase of a generation. People knew about “VJs” and people like Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn, J.J. Jackson, and Mark Goodman were the “It” crowd as the original MTV Hosts back in the day. People remembered the videos they introduced and hung off every word.
But nowadays that group of teenagers and 20 somethings that were the cool people are in their 50s and 60s now. A new generation has come along, and even one after that for a good size of the same audience. They aren’t the young people the advertising people were looking for, they are the parents. They aren’t the hip and cool kids anymore. The audience of today are the ones who grew up where MTV is the norm, Music videos are seen everywhere, and with places like Youtube streaming video, you can see whenever you wish. The days of waiting around for programming blocks and things like that are no longer relevant. Some wonder what the M in MTV even stands for, so why do we care?
Maybe that is the answer. They used to be in vogue. They used to be what was happening. The name MTV may still add up to someone and that someone may want to buy something or think that the opinion matters anymore. That generation that grew up on being told what was popular may still think that MTV’s opinion matters and tell the next generation that the channel has influence. Even though music videos have become the norm and can be found in many other places on your demand, not to the whims of advertising guys. MTV is not known for their music anymore, despite being in the name. Reality TV shows and being an arm to a mega conglomeration of bad movies and TV shows is more what they are known for now, but MTV and the media still tell you that the VMAs still mean something. Even if the feeling is that Awards show, in general, is still a scam and not based on any real merit. We still see the awards that were originally thought of as being counterculture.
I’m not the most with it guy either. I could sit here and tell you that I just don’t have it anymore, but I just never had it to begin with. Hell, I was more a VH1 type of kid growing up then an MTV one, and that is when the name MTV actually still meant something.
But I’m not the audience they are aiming for either and that is a big reason why things like this are still around, even if the culture that surrounded it back in those days is not. An audience to influence.
It’s a big show that brings in advertising dollars. It pulls in some eyeballs to watch people sell you something. It’s advertisers or artists trying to sell their music videos or whatever. At the base of it, a studio trying to sell stuff to you. Influence and getting you to buy things. That hasn’t changed. Hell, that is what MTV was really about going back to the days when “Video Killed the Radio Star.”
So maybe the M in MTV may not be the relevant thing anymore, but it was never truly about the music, it was about the advertising and selling you stuff. The image may be different but the end result isn’t. They would tell people the M was for Music, but it Was always about Money.