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THE HISTORY OF MTV:

The Mother of All Music Channels

About MTV

When the channel was launched, its name was an acronym for Music Television; That has now changed. As the original name claims, MTV began as a channel that played music under the guidance of various TV personalities (AKA the original video jockeys.) Over the years, MTV has transformed itself to suit the changing tide of the new generations and their tastes. The channel has always focused on teenagers and young adults as its audience. As this particular demographic has evolved, so has the channel. Presently, it broadcasts a variety of shows based on reality, comedy, drama, and a bit of music too. It is broadcasted to over 90 million households in America, and is one of the most valuable brands under Viacom Inc. Its unprecedented success spawned numerous other channels, who have imitated MTV’s show ideas for years. Yet, MTV has managed to create a h2 resonance among the teens and the youth.

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Events Leading to MTV

In the sixties and seventies, music videos weren’t something that every band, or every singer pursued. Music was quite different then. The music videos were just picking up, and The Beatles were among the first to popularize the music videos. A number of attempts by various people in TV channels, including the CBS, pitched for a music video format show. But, all of them were shot down by the TV channels. However, QUBE, an interactive cable TV system was launched in 1977, which allowed viewers to vote for their favorite songs and artists. This step was a success, and the media executives became open for a music format show, and eventually to a dedicated musical channel.

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Birth of a Legend

MTV was launched on August 1, 1981 with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll”. The TV channel showed the footage of a space shuttle countdown, and the launch of Apollo 11. This was soon followed by the original MTV theme song playing over the photos of the Apollo 11 moon-landing, with the flag featuring MTV designs and logo. The first music video shown by MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. Soon, record sales of music were registered in all areas where MTV was available, even where this music was not even promoted by local radios. A legend was born.

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Evolution of MTV

MTV launched with a new format of its own. Its “video jockeys” (VJs) discussed various news, interviews, concert dates, and promos about various music bands and their music videos. These segments were interspersed with broadcasts of respective music videos to make it appear as if the segments themselves were being aired live. The channel was started for promotion of rock music, and it promoted a huge number of performers and their music, who were hitherto unknown. The channel soon became a primary source of good music, since it managed to promote and bring forward little known, but great music bands. Many of these bands went on to become legends in their genres, which they owe in large part to MTV. Occasionally, MTV would allow musicians and comedians to guest star on MTV as guest VJs and play music of their choice too.

Although it appeared that MTV was helping all new music artists to showcase their talents, it did not feature videos of black artists yet. This continued until 1983, when Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean created waves across the music industry. MTV did its best to not provide MJ’s song any airtime, but once it had reached Billboard Hot 100 chart, the channel was forced to provide it the equal treatment as the other songs. The video of Billie Jean can be credited with breaking the color barrier at MTV. Soon, MJ’s hits became a regular feature on MTV. Further, emerging genre of rap and hip hop too managed to find place on the channel, as the doors of MTV were now open to all artists, irrespective of their color.

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First logo

The MTV logo was designed in 1981 by Manhattan Design, a collective formed by Frank Olinsky

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MTV 2

MTV2 wanted to attract basically, young teenage dudes. The 2-headed dog logo reveal had headlines that spoke to the traits of dogs and teenage dudes. Because they're kind of the same.

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MTV TR3S

On October 1, 2001, the channel was relaunched as MTV en EspaƱol, focusing on music videos by Latin rock and pop artists.

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VMAs

An MTV Video Music Award is an award presented by the cable channel MTV to honor the best in the music video medium.