Friday, August 04, 2006

Look at Them Yo Yo's...

To say it’s been a sparse week on my blogroll would be an understatement. Even A VC didn’t post anything today. I guess it’s been a busy week for us all. Jackson and Chrispy are buried moving the colossus that is Smoke & Mirrors sound studio to a location deeper in the borough of Brooklyn while doing battle with a new set of bass tone addicted neighbors who have no respect for the recording arts. Misanthrope is busy dumping shares of Sprint stock from all his funds and/or getting chewed out for not ditching them in time, and Stink Rock must still be basking in the glow of his recent guitar lesson with his hero Charles from the Wrens. Me? I’ve been posting light this week due to having to actually do some work while at work. I hope we all get back to it next week or sometime soon. I miss everybody.

In addition to Yoda Jacket’s post of his adorable daughter’s ballet recital, there was an inspiring thought offered by a guy named Evan over at Savage Distortion blog in response to Jackson’s claim that MTV sucks, a sentiment in which I concur. Evan’s conclusion is that Jackson and the rest of us are just old and cranky, again a sentiment which I concur with, but he makes a very good point that I feel compelled to riff on and that is the reality that music video is dead. Yes, as much of a harbinger that it once was for the music industry, it has now gone the way of leg warmers and leisure suits.

All the retro pieces written lately marking the 25th anniversary of MTV’s debut all cite supporting stats to this reality. Six or seven years after it’s launch, MTV’s ratings began to tank ushering in more shows of the standard programming variety, along with it the regrettable pioneering concept of “reality TV”. This continued to this day, and if you’re an investor, you’re no doubt happy with the results of the paradigm shift away from the music video only format. Interestingly enough though is the fact that as music videos became more scarce on MTV, never was there any public discussion (to my recollection) as to exactly why the network was losing viewers to the old format. In the beginning, record labels actually funded music videos themselves, not even charging the costs back to the band. This was SOP even when the productions got more elaborate and expensive, but at some point that changed. Where music videos were once seen by the labels as free advertising for an act's record, at some point around MTV’s ten year mark, the production costs became the responsibility of the act themselves.

I am confident the real reason for this popularity wane is that the “art” of music video has quietly come to pass. It was a cool thing for a while, but music has simply returned back to its natural aural form. There are many reasons, iPods, music services, etc…all of which are worthy topics of discussion on their own, but I for one am kind of glad that it happened be honest. Good music needs no pre-baked visual, much like reading a book doesn’t. Music video precog images kept listeners from creating images of their own. Undeniably, it was interesting and at times even addicting, but I’d say we’ve all moved on, simple as that.

I still enjoy watching those MTV heyday videos though. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and I am proud to be a member of the true MTV generation. Yes Evan, people actually sat down and watched music videos for hours on end at one time. Two words: Nina Blackwood my friend. If only they had aired Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at The Moon” video more…

7 Comments:

At 7:18 PM, August 06, 2006, Anonymous coolmomma said...

Legwarmers are actually back in style!

 
At 9:52 AM, August 07, 2006, Blogger Circy Nightshade said...

I still remember the day I discovered we got MTV on our cable service - back when they actually had music on 'Music Television'. I was as addicted to it as kids are today with computers and video games.

 
At 11:00 AM, August 07, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

After talking to Chrispy, a Viacom employee on the production side, unlike Evan who is a Viacom employee on the tech side, what happened was that MTV never had any ratings. Neilson doesn't register unless you watch a certain channel for a specific period of time - longer than a couple of videos, and since most viewers would watch until a commercial break or a bad video, and then flip elswhere, neilson could never calculate accurately how many folks were wathcing. Thusly they got killed in the ratings, and in order to charge more for advertising, they started with traditional programming, namely 'Remote Control', and they found that they were right, and kept adding 'tv shows' until the music was gone.

It wasn't because we weren't watching, it was because we would flip away, and then back again, screwing up the neilson ratings.

It wasn't because videos became old hat, it was due to greed.

 
At 2:57 PM, August 07, 2006, Blogger Tony Alva said...

That's a very interesting explanation that makes a great deal of sense. I think blaming it on "Greed" is misrepresentative though. If what Chrispy concludes is true, what killed the music video is the inability for the lame ass Neilson ratings system to accurately capture viewer habits thus hindering advertisers ability to correctly gage per minute advertising value. Right?

 
At 2:53 PM, August 09, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

Well, yeah, but greed motivated the network to give a shit about neilson ratings.

 
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