Good MTV’s Effect On The Music Industry Research Paper Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Music, Internet, Industry, Culture, Media, Artists, Influence, Audience

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/02/18

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Introduction

MTV came to television when programming began August 1, 1981. Music videos soon became excellent promotional vehicles for fading as well as upcoming music stars as the visual became as important as the aural presentation of music (“Music Experts Share”). Production quality and techniques improved and captured loyal, often young, MTV viewers (“MTV Changed”). After cable TV expanded and Michael Jackson released his Thriller album, MTV became the primary way to promote popular music and a multi-million dollar business seen in over 400 million homes (“MTV’s Irresistible Rise”). MTV will continue to influence popular culture and the music industry but not to the extent it once did.
This brief essay profiles MTV’s impact on the music industry by examining several components of its success: its influence on pop culture, the music industry, music trends and artists’ popularity; its adjustment to changing music styles and audiences preferences; its expanding program offerings beyond music videos; its adjustment to music industry changes; and recent changes affecting MTV’s influence of popular culture.

Discussion

MTV’s experimental cinematography, graphics, editing and content innovations influenced 1980s pop culture (“MTV Changed”). A prominent record company executive claims “the emergence of the music video has . . . expanded the palette of tools available to artists to connect with an audience” (Goldberg). Early music videos cost a few thousand dollars to produce. Madonna spent one million dollars to produce a 1989 music video. A few years later Michael and Janet Jackson’s Scream video cost over seven million dollars to produce (“Hip Channel Changed”). Music videos are now available across multiple platforms, especially the Internet (Christian).
MTV has adapted to changing music styles and audience preferences (“MTV Changed”). Although originally MTV featured only rock music with primarily white recording artists, it now showcases many other music genres including rap and hip-hop featuring black artists (Beer; Leeds). The editor-in-chief of Spin Magazine in 2012 (qtd. in “Hip Channel Changed”) wrote, "What MTV did was for the first time give one big central outlet for music, and so rather than having to go radio station to radio station, there was one big hit that became the primary outlet for new music and new bands."
MTV progressed beyond only music videos. It has created hit shows (such as Beavis and Butthead, The Real World and Unplugged), produced theatrical movies, music specials, game shows, its own awards program and even live famine relief and political programs promoting voter participation (“MTV Changed”; “The Golden Age of MTV”; “Hip Channel Changed”). MTV became a global program service by adding MTV Europe in 1987, MTV UK in 1997, Internet access in 1996 and spin-off networks such as VH-1 for older 25- to 35-year-old audiences, MTV2 and MTV Dance (“MTV’s Irresistible Rise”).
With MTV, audiences saw artists they never would have seen otherwise. It sparked a second British Invasion in the early 1980s. However, there are also claims that in the process of a 24/7 showing of music videos “the veil of mystery” surrounding live performances was removed and some conclude this has hurt the music business. MTV breaks hits quicker but with constant repetition burn out is also quicker (Beer).
MTV remains a part of today’s music industry and still influences music trends and artists’ popularity. MTV struggled during its first few years. Few cable systems carried the network. Music videos were an unknown item to music fans in the early 1980s. An ad campaign (“I want my MTV”) and Jackson’s Thriller album release sparked life into the fledgling network (“The Golden Age of MTV”). MTV has promoted recording artists who did not receive attention from radio stations (Leeds). Hits Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief in 2004 wrote
MTV is the most powerful force that's probably ever happened in the music business. . . You can make a star overnight if they make the right video, and if the right magic happens. . . . I think MTV has probably created the best brand in television that anybody's ever created. The MTV networks make zillions of dollars. . . . it's the cultural beat of their generation. And it has been since the day it went on the air. (Beer).
Others have signaled that MTV is no longer a primary mover in the music industry. A music industry attorney claims MTV was the beginning of the end for the recorded music business, especially album artists, because MTV “solidified a mindset that exalted marketing over substance. . . . away from believing in the power of the music . . . [to] believing in the power of the market. . . . Once that corner was turned, we started on the path that has led us to this moment . . . where kids are treating music as disposable” focused on singles rather than entire albums (Guido). Others argue album sales were strong when MTV began and continue to be an essential part of the music industry’s success (Goldberg).
In recent years, MTV's significance has diminished (Leeds). Music videos have not died but MTV’s influence has diminished. MTV has gradually decreased the amount of music videos shown: by one-third by 2000 and to only three hours by 2008. By 2009, no VJs hosted music video programs as in the past (Christian).
Numerous vehicles for disseminating music videos are available and record labels often post their artist's videos to YouTube or allow them to stream from a website, eliminating MTV's former role. . . . MTV still offers a perspective of popular culture, but also is limited . . . Now there are more avenues that define popular culture, offering more diverse perspectives. [It is doubtful] MTV can return as the singular defining force of popular culture that it once was." (“Music Experts Share”).

Conclusion

This brief essay profiled MTV’s impact on the music industry by examining several components of its success: its influence on pop culture, the music industry, music trends and artists’ popularity; adjusting to changing music styles and audiences preferences; expanding program offerings beyond music videos; its adjustment to music industry changes; and recent changes in its influence of popular culture.
MTV will continue to influence popular culture and the music industry but not to the extent it once did. Its legacy continues to shine. “MTV has signified change in the pop culture around us, because it has helped shape the world around us” (“MTV Changed”).

Works Cited

[Note: MLA Style was used to write this essay].
Beer, Leonard J. “Frontline: The MTV Effect.” pbs.org. PBS, 27 May 2004. Web. 11
April 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/perfect/mtv.html>.
Christian, Elizabeth B. “Has MTV Helped Kill the Music Industry?” rowmanblog.typepad.
com. Roman & Littlefield. 20 July 2011. Web. 13 April 2015. http://rowmanblog.typepad.com/rowman/2011/07/has-mtv-helped-kill-the-music-industry-/comments/page/1/#comments
Goldberg, Danny. “Frontline: The MTV Effect.” pbs.org. PBS, 27 May 2004. Web.
11 April 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/perfect/mtv.html>.
“The Golden Age of MTV – And Yes, There Was One.” npr.org. NPR, 6 Nov. 2011. Web.
13 April 2015. <http://www.npr.org/2011/11/06/141991877/the-golden-age-of-mtv-and-yes-there-was-one>
Guido, Michael. “Frontline: The MTV Effect.” pbs.org. PBS, 27 May 2004. Web.
11 April 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/perfect/mtv.html>.
“Hip Channel Changed the Music Industry.” abcnews.go.com. ABC News, 30 July 2012.
Web. 13 April 2015. <http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=126802&page=1&singlePage=true>.
Leeds, Jeff. “Frontline: The MTV Effect.” pbs.org. PBS, 27 May 2004. Web.
11 April 2015. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/perfect/mtv.html>.
“MTV Changed the Music Industry on August 1, 1981.” cnn.com. Cable News Network,
2000. Web. 11 April 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/Music/9807/31/encore.mtv/>.
“MTV’s Irresistible Rise.” news.bbc.co.uk. BBC, 31 July 2001. Web. 11 April
2015. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1456093.stm>.
“Music Experts Share How MTV Killed the Radio Star and Changed Culture Forever 30
Years After Launch.” newswise.com. Kansas State University, 21 June 2011. Web. 12 April 2015. <http://www.newswise.com/articles/music-experts-share-how-mtv-killed-the-radio-star-and-changed-culture-forever-30-years-after-launch>

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