One day in 1982 I was invited to the launch of a new 24 hour cable music network, called MTV…and that’s when I saw the future of the music business! I saw it not as just a new way to promote music, but having the potential to become the primary means of delivering music to the masses!

In less than 25 years, MTV not only fulfilled the prophecy, but actually helped to change the music itself. In the first few years the networks played the ubiquitous videos of English artists, Duran Duran, David Bowie and Phil Collins. They played clips by Australian artists Men at Work and whet the appetite of the American public for more of the same! In addition to music, fashion and slang started to travel around the world at the speed of a TV signal, but it took Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album and a near boycott by CBS Records to break the color barrier at the network! Soon Lionel Ritchie and Billy Ocean were being played as much as Blondie and became regular staples of MTV.

For years, the network thrived on its legitimate pop content, and then something odd happened. There were fewer and fewer music shows aired in favor of reality shows. After the success of “The Real World” ten years ago, the “Reality” floodgates opened. Today when we watch MTV and its sister network VHI, we see endless episodes of “The Hills”, where horny teens F#@k with each others heads, and “I Love New York”, “Daisy of Love”, and”Ricki Lakes’ Charm School”, which rewards the biggest bitches and ho’s with their own reality series.

The most obnoxious show has been cancelled. It’s a series that’s an argument for an official sanction of corporal punishment! “Sweet Sixteen”, which featured rich little bitches-in-training conning their parents out of expensive sweet sixteen parties and lavish presents.

As far as the music goes, when you can find it (between four and eleven AM), most of the groups have a sameness about them. If you don’t look at the lower left hand corner of the screen you might mistake Panic at the Disco for the Killers, or All American Rejects. It’s just about impossible to tell what rap video you’re watching, since Kanye West, “Diddy”, Lil’ Wayne and “Snoop” Dogg appear in almost all of them, as either a guest or a featured artist!

It seems like most of the artists today are consciously making music to please corporations and music directors who have narrow taste and program for an audience who prefers not to think too far outside their electronic boxes. I’ve read studies on how too much TV eventually overwhelms the viewer and diminishes productivity. I don’t want to be lulled into complacency, so I’ve decided never to watch MTV again…after I see the finale of “The Hills!”

Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne