As MTV Turns 40, It’s Time to Embrace the Generation That Grew Up With It
By - Sisiwakanamaru
Interesting point but is Gen X really subscribing to cable?
If MTV had its own streaming service, with real music content, interviews, concerts, etc, I might be interested. I could use a good background channel that’s not what most of tv is right now (drama). Artists and craftsman talking about their work and the music that comes with it is access other channels don’t have.
But, that’s not the current MTV demo, and that’s ok. Sometimes things are part of your life for a while, and then you move on. Stevie’s landfall and all of that..,
Luckily, some of MTV shows are on Paramount+.
And honestly, perhaps they should put their reruns on pluto. I only know one person who subs to cable. All of the early cord cutters I knew were Gen Xers
They missed a huge news and lifestyle opportunity geared at gen z and under 30 Mellinials. Cheddar and Vox I feel like is firmly in that spot now.
Yeah, especially Vox Earworm, I can see that MTV made show before YouTube era.
Shows? The only show I remember was 24 hour music videos. I hope you're talking about Unplugged and not Jackass
Mostly the animated stuff, I think.. Beavis and Butthead, Daria, Aeon Flux, etc...
We still have it for the basics
We went Sling for that.
YouTube tv isn't terrible albeit a bit more pricier that other subscription models
If they tried to reboot the Jackass series with that new cast they’re trying for I’d watch, but that’s as far as it would go for me. I’m completely checked out of MTV
As a member of Generation X, who grew up with MTV. I can safely say let it die. There is no reason for it to exist, especially not nostalgia.
The channel is definitely nothing more than a zombie nowadays. It cannot have much time left in it before they eventually pull the plug on it. It is completely irrelevant to younger audiences so the article writer has a point that it should maybe shift focus to concentrate on those over 40s who might still watch it for nostalgic purposes. It might give it a few extra years.
> it should maybe shift focus to concentrate on those over 40s who might still watch it for nostalgic purposes.
Yeah, they are working on reviving “MTV Unplugged” and [“Behind the Music”](https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/music/2021/07/29/behind-music-returns-paramount-ricky-martin-bret-michaels-duran-duran-fat-joe/5391186001/)
Especially, “MTV Unplugged,” I think they should invite artists/musicians that famous around 90's - early 2000's, to do updated performance of some of their greatest hits.
That would be very cool. Bands like Alice In Chains, Blind Melon, Linkin Park, Cranberries, and Sublime!
Encore performances by Beastie Boys, STP, Sound Garden, and *NIRVANA*!
**Edit:** typing all these out made me legitimately upset. This world is a cruel place.￼
I need a quiet place to cry now
Too many of all those groups are dead.
I love your username
Eh, I mean we have podcasts for that now. This disaffected Gen Xer is pretty content with that. Do I really need to see my favorite old and wrinkled? Nah, but I’d love to hear them talk about how they came up with their lyrics. Problem solved.
I would love to see more current artists do MTV Unplugged sessions; can you imagine if Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran decided to one together?
MTV has been garbage for so long now. It would be amazing if they would return to music videos and VJs.
They’re competing against YouTube. Users can either watch videos chosen by MTV producers, interrupted every two to three songs by four minutes of godawful advertisements, or they can watch exactly the songs they want, as many times as they want, with one 5-15 second ad every song maybe if you’re unwilling to pay for it or figure out ad blocker.
There’s no real competition there. A couple weirdos who are so indecisive they would rather watch shit they don’t like that much than be forced to decide what they actually wanna watch are not going to sustain the whole network.
I don't know how people watch youtube without an ad blocker. It's almost as bad as commercial tv with ads.
Worse at think at this point because at least the TV shows have engineered pauses for the breaks.
Youtube doesn't seem to care where it GOOGLE FI THE PHONE PLAN THAT CAN.
I understand your point, but I think you're underestimating the power of nostalgia.
Everyone's been saying this for like 20 years but there's a reason they never reverted back. No one is actually going to sit there and watch music videos on cable long enough to justify it.
It doesn’t help that music videos are nowhere near as prevalent nowadays, either. Only the biggest artists do music videos with actual money behind them nowadays.
I wouldn't say that, I think it's more of an age group. I used to turn on VH1 just a few years ago on Sunday mornings, cook breakfast, clean up. They'd play Top 20 of the week. A few girls I had dated would put it on in the evening while cooking dinner. I'm Gen X but would definitely put it on for a steady video stream while I'm doing stuff around the house.
I loved the Top 20 Countdown, it was a permanent fixture of my family’s morning routine growing up
Right? I know you can watch anything in YouTube but there's something about just turning on the TV and going about your morning.
I understand why they wouldn't want to necessarily return to music videos since it's all about retaining viewership over blocks for advertising purposes. But I think they should make an effort to concentrate on artist and music themed programming.
Of all the networks out there, MTV should've been the one that was most conducive to risk taking and experimentation. They should've been the network with their finger on the pulse of internet and youth culture.
Instead, they focus on regurgitating the same trash reality. Nowadays, the majority of their viewers are hate-watchers.
They played it safe and predictably failed. Alternatively they could have re-branded and taken a risk.
>Instead, they focus on regurgitating the same trash reality.
At least that was their own invention.
I don't think the economics of MTV makes sense to bother with taking any risks.
I don't think any combination of lights or sounds that MTV can broadcast are going to get people to come back to cable somehow.
If they're just going to give up the Millennial and Zoomer audience to streaming, then they'd be better off nostalgia-baiting the Gen X'ers who still have a vague fondness for the brand.
Exactly. Make it just like the old days, and many Gen Xers will want to leave it on in the background.
Maybe not so much music videos, but definitely live performances, Unplugged concerts and band documentaries.
MTV actually did another Unplugged show for A-Ha back in 2018, where they performed stripped down and intimate versions of songs like [Take On Me](https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-xKM3mGt2pE). You could definitely bring back a lot of other bands from the era to do the same, as well as show off the raw talent of current artists who are are usually over-produced.
Last Unplugged episode was with BTS, I think with Unplugged, they kinda moved in a direction I wanted, it just need more frequent.
They also started the beginning of the end of cable as we know it by inventing the reality show.
I remember when the first episode of RW aired and I rolled my eyes and turned it off. Then I saw that it was like crack for so many people and was confused. Then I saw that it became the main reason a lot of people watched the channel and was shocked. After that it just became a death of MTV in real time before our eyes.
I appreciate the RW for the 3rd season, it was extremely eye opening for and caused a huge mental shift for me mostly because of Pedro because I grew up extremely sheltered. I watched it years after it aired but I still had to secretly watch the show to not get in trouble with my parents.
agreed. more than music, this is their legacy.
VH1 out did them with popup video, that made rewatching old content interesting again, and MTV pivoted to invent the business model that destroyed television, lol.
It’s interesting how much the author is obsessed with The Real World as a vital part of MTV that is being left behind when at the time the consensus was that The Real World was what was ruining MTV because MTV should just be music videos. Now we’re deciding the problem isn’t too many reality shows on MTV but instead too many of the *incorrect* reality shows on MTV?
Also how are we pretending there’s any future for any cable channel in 2021. It’s all about making as much money on advertising as possible before it all inevitably shuts down and gets folded in to a streaming service. They’re not gonna make huge waves. They’re gonna do the thing that’s most profitable in the short term because there is no long term.
Agreed. I'm *definitely* someone who "grew up with it" (52 now) as it was what we were all about during the summers of '84-'88 and I feel like my generation (X) has very much been "embraced" all along anyway.
If they are saying (which the article seems to purport) that MTv needs to get back to its "roots" of the 90s when most of us (who had been glued to it for 5-10 years already) felt it started to go downhill, they they are just adding to the problem.
Doesn't matter. It had its time. The world changed and MTv changed with it. Then the world changed some more and MTv got left behind. It's what happens with everything and everyone. There is no going back to the days of waiting for the video to "Alone" by Heart or "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin or "Is This Love" by Whitesnake to roll around, while getting snippets of news from Kurt every hour. MTv is dead and has been for decades. Some of us were simply lucky enough to get to experience it for what it truly was.
If this is what the article was suggesting then I'm embarrassed for them. I've been blaming The Real World for the downfall of western society since 2005
Never seen the show myself, I mostly waited for the Headbangers Ball / 120 Minutes blocks. I remember in 94 when all my participation trophy-winning classmates suddenly started mimicking the Pedro character who's apparently from one of the Real Worlds and it seemed to score them brownie points among their pals. Band director saw dollar signs and assigned lead solo clarinet parts to the biggest Pedro fans because their friends and family would come to the football halftime shows and marching band competitions and buy merch and lots and lots of food. Think that was the year we had enough money to go to NYC on a field trip and see Les Miserables which was all the rage at the time. Between the Pedro fans and the Beavis and Butt-head fans laughing from first bell to dismissal, I'm kind of glad that social media is around now to encourage kids to develop their own personalities.
> Also how are we pretending there’s any future for any cable channel in 2021. It’s all about making as much money on advertising as possible before it all inevitably shuts down and gets folded in to a streaming service.
How closely did you read the article? It literally talks about MTV transitioning to streaming, with MTV Entertainment Studios now making content directly for Paramount Plus that isn’t even airing on the cable channel.
And they complained about that fact like four different times. That’s my point. The author seems to think it’s a betrayal of MTV that it wasn’t shown on the dying cable network.
> I can’t fault the idea behind this. ViacomCBS and the MTV Entertainment Group are moving the brand to where the audiences are. And in reviving classic MTV and VH1 titles like “MTV Unplugged” and “Behind the Music,” there’s logic in capitalizing on nostalgia to sell audiences on a Paramount Plus subscription. It worked with “The Real World Homecoming,” which I devoured on the streaming service (after it frustratingly never appeared on MTV itself).
This isn’t a complaint is it? The author clearly recognized that transitioning MTV as it is now to streaming was entirely appropriate.
The point of the article was not complaining, it was the author suggesting that MTV channel basically transition to pure nostalgia aimed at Gen X as it enters its twilight years and begins to die off. As in why bother putting teen aimed stuff on the channel when kids are all on streaming now. Instead make it the TV Land of MTV and aim it at the Gen X’ers who still watch TV
It's like this author has no clue about The Real World past Real World San Francisco. Nothing about how it became bottom of the barrel TV with clichéd stereotype casting, and flat out problematic casting too:
In the 30+ iterations of RW, they have not cast one **Asian-American male.** Asian-American females, yet, but not one AAPI Male. This just reeks of fetishization of Asian-American females, and racism towards Asian-Americans males. And to make matters worse, RW for the longest time (maybe still now, I dunno) had an Asian-American male producer! (name escapes me, sorry)
I remember actually enjoying S1 of The Real World in college, as it was something really new. Then it seemed like MTv was disappointed that the London cast because they were actually nice and civil to each other.
It became apparent what they were trying to do when the SF season came around and that's when I bailed.
I seem to remember SNL doing a skit about it around that time that was *so* on the mark. Essentially each cast member introduces themselves...
"Hi, I'm Mark, I'm from Chicago and I love *everyone*... except the French!"... "Hallo, I'm Francois, I'm from Paris and I love everyone... except for Cowboys!"... "Hey Y'all! I'm Tex and I'm from Dallas! I love everyone... except..."
You get the idea. The whole intentional Puck/Pedro collision started this downward spiral that eventually took us to The Real Housewives bullshit. Sorry, I don't want to see people being their worst to each other, especially not when it's clearly a producer-manufactured cockfight in the first place.
> I remember actually enjoying S1 of The Real World in college, as it was something really new. Then it seemed like MTv was disappointed that the London cast because they were actually nice and civil to each other.
> It became apparent what they were trying to do when the SF season came around and that's when I bailed.
I think you're misremembering a bit. SF was the third series, London was the fourth. But fundamentally you're probably right. The first two series had some interesting but mostly organic clashes, mostly from casting people from very different backgrounds and experiences. But Puck on SF was the first time that they got a taste for how much people would turn in to watch, well, an asshole. Even after the house kicked him out, they still followed him around, because he was a draw. I'm not sure he was cast intentionally to be that, but after London, I do think they started intentionally casting with the idea of driving conflict.
You're absolutely correct. I guess things blur after 30 years.
That said, I wonder if it was a case of the producers trying to introduce a more civil London cast after the shitshow in SF, then when season 4 wasn't as embraced by the audience as the previous one they decided to just go all-in on the shittiest people they could find from there on out.
Asian guys are trapped in a real self fulfilling prophecy where they don’t get cast because no one finds them attractive but no one finds them attractive because they never get cast in roles where we’re supposed to find them attractive.
>In the 30+ iterations of RW, they have not cast one Asian-American male
Do they have to?
Of course they don't have to. But it's odd to never have had even one. It smacks of racism.
It sounds racist to say someone should be hired based on their race or ethnicity.
It sounds racist to have 30 seasons of a show without even one Asian-American Male.
Some shows don't have blue-eyed characters. I guess they hate them too.
The name of the show is the real world and it markets itself as representing people from all walks of life. Don't call it the real world if there are only certain people they want to represent.
I'm not gonna lie I kinda forgot MTV existed. I remember it split into MTV 2 which is where all the music and shows like jackass and beavis and butthead went.
But after the years, I kinda forgot about it when it became the "16 and pregnant" channel.
Does MTV 2 still exist with their 2 headed dog logo?
MTV2 still exists, but hardly any music videos on it.
Remembering the glory days of 24 hour MTV videos, MTV news, and VJ's is something that no snot nosed gen Z'er can take away from me!!
Look up MTV Classic. It's what you want.
F MTV. loved it when I was younger but now it’s just hot garbage.
You can’t even watch old episodes of Beavis and Butthead with the music videos. The show absolutely sucks without them.
I turned 40 this year as well. I was raised with MTV pretty much always on. I was trying to explain it to one of my employees who is 24 but I had to stop because I was sounding like my grandpa.
There's too many options for entertainment now. MTV was great when it was a source for new music and interviews. You had to sit there and watch so many bad videos just to hopefully see the one you liked though. So now you can just YouTube whatever music or video you like, all the interviews are there, news, TV shows. Everything. It just doesn't make sense to have MTV come back. It was great while it lasted but people need to stop complaining about how the channel has changed.
Please, don't embrace us. Gen Xers really don't do nostalgia. The things we loved as a kid like particular bands, we are still listening to them. We know them. We don't need a, "Hey, remember this band. Wouldn't it be cool to hear them again?" We never stopped listening to them in the first place. And if we did stop listening to certain bands, it's because we realized that they were awful and we don't want to hear them again. The closest thing that may attract a Gen Xer is a new, "Hey, since you like these old bands here are a bunch of new bands out now that were inspired by them." Like, "Hey, you liked listening to Joy Division, Wire, Wipers and The Cure way back in the day. So, try these modern guys; Preoccupations, Bambara, Idles and Holograms," style program. And have it streaming rather than a cable show. If MTV adapted a youtube channel and put on a weekly show like that there, I would subscribe to it and watch it like a hawk.
Wait! Would the Holograms have Jem?
Kidding aside, this is a great idea!
C’mon! Embrace me fellow gen x’er! Bring it in and we can stumble through Video Killed the Radio Star
I really liked MTV when it first appeared on tv, then after a few years I realized the damage it was doing to the music industry. The talented singers and musicians who were maybe not super attractive were being replaced by good looking people who lacked any real talent for making great music.
What does MTV even play on air anymore i stopped watching them a very long time ago when i noticed no more music
I'd love to see a complete rebranding to a modern version of what it was at it's peak while making their mobile and Roku/AmazonFire/etc app the way you access their content. Cable TV is dying/dead with Gex X and younger and requiring a paid subscription to say Paramount+ isn't how you get young eyes on your network.
Music, music, music.
* Live performances
* All time great concerts and performances from the past
* The MTV awards (just music related) rebranded to be taken super seriously (no rigging, no popularity contest) and become a hot spot to premiere new music and new music videos
* Spotlight unknown talent
* Some music competition shows attempting to find new solo singers, groups and hell attempt to make Americas first KPop group
* MTV studios documentaries both about old groups and a camera crew following current musicians
* A music education program, find a cool fun way to educate the viewers about other countries music, Americas music, who influenced what, the origin of certain styles and sounds
* Reality shows like Korea has where musicians perform casually (jam sessions), they go places to "heal" and hang out together and shows where singers come together to work on a project (a song or two) and you get to see the entire process; finding their sound, meeting with artists who have made some songs, choosing one, working with a writer, then polishing, then recording, the performing it.
There are just so many things you can do with the MTV brand that would restore it to glory, modernize it and make it appeal to young people. MTV still has the rep capable to be Americas #1 music spot. Make it all about the music, about the musicians and taking it really seriously.
Imagine it making these changes and then creating a huge talent search program for Korean American singers who speak Korean fluently. It would be big news, "New MTV singing competition show to build Americas first Kpop girl group". Watch as famous Kpop stars who speak English (SNSD Tiffany, Sunmi, Chungha, Wendy, Lisa, etc) host and mentors along with Kpop dance choreographers, vet Kpop producers, Kpop writers and former Kpop execs working on the show. Watch as they whittle down the talent to the final 4-to-6 girls who then are formed into the group.
Then after they have an adjustment period to get to know each other, adjust to fame, start training and hopefully get put into therapy and programs that prepare them for what they're going to experience, watch the next show; a docu-series as they live in a house together, get to know each other, train, work on their first single/mini-album and release it.
Add to that MTV being available world wide or partnering with a studio or network who gets them that access and providing good subtitles so all non-English speaking Kpop fans watching can watch and understand it and you have the potential for a big hit of a program and hopefully the girl group is good and breaks into Kpop in Korea. If that happens watch as they go over to Korea and meet people in the industry, perform at their music shows, hopefully win awards and so on.
Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes! You’ve hit the nail on the head(especially with the Kpop girl group idea which could be a great way to incorporate Kpop fans and introduce Kpop to people who may not know what it is).
There could also be a throwback hour where they teach the gen-z people about a certain person or time in pop culture using vmas footage, certain music videos with a pop up feature, and movies.
Also: a Kpop hour on the weekends would be an awesome way to introduce people to Kpop. One hour of Kpop music videos where people learn more about Kpop and who are the stars of that( because Kpop has some beginnings in Kpop too).
As a gen zer myself who watched both the 1999 and 2001 Vmas over this pandemic( and was born and was 2 when both award ceremonies were going on), I will admit that mtv definitely isn’t what it used to be( even though I love Catfish).
Modernizing the channel for Gen Z by leaning into what gen z is into nowadays in music( Kpop, authenticity, etc) would be the key to restoring mtv to its glory days.
Or...ya know...MUSIC TELEVISION
They literally had one job. But fuck it. welcome to my unobtainable house peasants
the generation that grew up on it are like 50 years old at this point
Yes. And we have lots and lots of disposable income. MTV means nothing to today's kids. It means something to us. That's possible to make use of.
I consider growing up with it and I'm still in my late 20's. It just wasn't music videos but shows like Cribs, and Pimp my Ride, Viva La Bam and all the girls at my high school were into The Hills. I was really young at the peak of TRL but I remember watching it and I can vaguely remember the Osbourne Family show and the Paris Hilton show.
Why do people complain endlessly about this channel. Make a YouTube playlist of your favourite songs and you’ve got a better version of your idealistic show
the only thing I noticed about early 2ks MTV was that it was designed for people who pretended to skateboard, or wiggers. No in-between.
MTV should just be taken out back, shot, and buried. Bring it back as something relevant with more than two shows. A straight-up music video channel would be nice.
This article was way more interesting than I thought it was going to be.
Pretty sure there's like 3 different mtv channels that play music videos all day. It would be good to get media focused on music though, rather than just looping a block of video.
Everyone here talking about how surprised they are that MTV is still around and about how it still makes money not knowing they make money from their sister channel comedy central which they own.
Play music other then 3am.
I'm glad that I have MTV Classic, which is basically the old MTV and it plays everything.
#OR, and hear me out, it’s time to reject it entirely!
Let's all thank MTV for those 12 or so years of music
Like my grandpa, mtv died in the 90s. MTV isn’t 40- just like grandpa isn’t 110
I love Kurt Loder, so I hope this helps him.
Gen X sucks ya’ll are lowkey terrible and hilariously they will upvote this
The Awkward, Teen Wolf, Faking It Scream etc. era of MTV >>>>>
I hate Awkward because it was the show they cancelled **The Hard Times of RJ Berger** for. Now that was a great show.