As I’m sure you know, yesterday marked the 30th birthday of MTV. Not only does this news make me feel incredibly old, but it also drives home how the channel has changed over the years, not even resembling today the crazy cool that it was back in 1981.
In honor of those incredible early days, below is a video showing that monumental PR launch and the introduction of VJs.
I remember sitting with my brother (me and David to the right) and sisters eagerly watching that countdown.
Take a moment and think about the brilliance of that marketing launch.
We had no idea what this new channel would be or what we would see. We just knew to tune in.
I remember we sat there watching “snow” on the screen for at least 15 minutes before that beautiful rocket and countdown appeared. Oh, that countdown! And, that beautiful line, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Rock and Roll.” I tell you the moment we saw Video Killed The Radio Star, a generation of kids were hooked, at least I was. I cannot imagine my childhood without MTV. I cannot imagine what my tween and teen years would have been if there had been no Thriller video. (article continues below)
I remember wanting to hang out in that super cool loft with Martha Quinn so badly. The job of VJ was suddenly at the top of our lists for future careers.
And, boy oh boy did Christy Stelter and Cathy Cantani and I have a crush on Mark Goodman! With that big white-man afro, who could resist him?! If you wanna know where they all are now, here’s a cool update.
In class, we’d all draw the MTV logo on our binders and our shoes. Then, we’d rush home from school and turn on MTV. We didn’t care that they ran the same 15 videos over and over and over and over again. (David Bowie, Duran Duran, Adam Ant, Culture Club, The Fixx, The Police, and The Cars and more walking down dark streets, playing their guitars on rooftops while scantily clad women rolled around on the hoods of cars.) It was music! On television! And, it was abundantly clear that this was programming just for US.
It’s a sad thing today I suppose to see the fall of the once revolutionary channel. What does the “M” even stand for anymore? And, as editorials run this week lamenting the fall of the once great idea of music television, I can’t help but wonder if MTV will ever wise up and reclaim it’s rightful place as the home of music videos.
Of course, with YouTube, you can find exactly what you want to see and talk with other fans and share your favorites with friends. But, even that is becoming more difficult thanks to VEVO.
VEVO, the label-sanctioned section of YouTube where artists now publish their videos, is really taking the “social” out of social media music sharing. The main problem with VEVO is that often it limits where you can embed videos. So many people share videos on Facebook and through their blogs. Now, under the heavy hand of the VEVO, most videos won’t allow you to embed and others redirect you back to YouTube where you are forced to sit through an ad before you watch your video.
YouTube is certainly why MTV ultimately gave up its position of music dominance. But, the truth is, with VEVO’s current sharing restrictions and hints that more are coming, MTV.com needs to step back up to the plate to reclaim its glory and let rock and roll exist for the people once again!
In the meantime, here’s a link to the first ten videos played on MTV on August 1, 1981.
Happy Birthday, MTV and thanks for the memories.