What Killed MTV?

YouTube Killed MTV

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There was a time when it was said that MTV killed radio, so what killed MTV?

September 7, 1979 The Buggles (an obvious play on The Beatles) released their debut album The Age Of Plastic. The album included a song by Woolley & The Camera Club entitled Video Killed The Radio Star, this would be the only hit song for both bands. The song was a tale of the 1960’s technological change. Radio had a place of nostalgia for post 1960’s children and for them any era was passing.  Saddened by the fact children of that time would not find inspiration from radio, a song was born. People like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash were forged by radio. Hearing their songs over and over on the radio built an anticipation of a day they might actually get to see their favorite artist in person. This prelude building to a concert tour still exists today.

For a time, it would seem, they were correct. TV viewership out numbered radio listeners astronomically and rather quickly compared to the decades it had taken radio to build an audience. YouTube has tracked these numbers for a while now e.i. 72 hours of video are uploaded to YOUTUBE every minute and they have 800 million viewers per month according to YouTubes press statistics. By comparison an episode of Friends that aired after the Superbowl in 1996 had 52.9 million viewers (source Wikipedia). These numbers are YouTubes alone, not the entire internet. Vimeo and Vevo has a huge chunk of music video watchers as well. When you had to wait for MTV to cycle your favorite video is gone, you can watch on your IPhone at will now. Waiting for a rerun, that might never come if it wasn’t popular, of your favorite show to air on TV you can now search for on YouTube, Hulu or Crackle. By 2011 YouTube claimed over one trillion views.

In away the internet killed MTV but also gave the video’s they once showed new life. With apps for your Iphone like I♥Radio you can listen to radio anytime you want or you can search for video’s and TV programs. NetFlix killed Blockbuster because they were online, where you are now, who also has a smart phone app. MTV shows reality programing because the audience went there, not the other way around. Was TV preparing for a time when anyone could upload their own reality video for the world to see when they created these shows hoping to maintain an audience. Probably, but in the end nothing really died, it just evolved. For each generation will be a new nostalgia, this ones will be the internet. I wonder what the next will be.


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