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MTV: focused on music or trash

Photo Illustraion by Robin Shin

Is MTV still a great place to discover new music or is it another channel devoted to drama-heavy reality shows?

Patricia Rocha and Metiqua Eng, Rip Staff

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Video may have killed the radio star in 1981 when MTV first aired, but has the new programming brought it back to life?

Lots of people will look at shows like Jersey Shore, Awkward, and Teen Mom and say that any channel that focuses on that type of entertainment just can’t be considered “music based.” That’s not a new opinion. For years, MTV has come under criticism for glorifying untalented pop musicians simply for their music video budget. Talented artists who don’t have the money or the looks for TV just didn’t make the cut.

Now, however, I think MTV has gotten the message.

No one wants to sit around and listen to the same over-played radio tunes and watch their music videos all day long. That’s what YouTube is for.

What people do want is to be exposed to new music that grabs their attention and exposes them to new, raw talent, and while other people are quick to dismiss the Shore cast, Teen wolves and underage moms, that’s exactly what you’re going to get while watching these shows.

In one half-hour show, MTV showcases about 10 song snippets as a soundtrack to whatever is going on within the show. While music in the background of a show is nothing new, what is especially interesting is the way MTV credits the song during the show, almost like a music video would.

The song list is then put on an online playlist associated with the show so that listeners can go back and listen to the full version.

If MTV went back to their original music-video-only format, there’s no way all of these songs would be able to fit.

What’s special about these songs is that they’re almost always non-mainstream bands. If the programming were the same as it was when MTV first started, there’s no way that these low-budget underground bands would find their way into the TRL lineup.

Another great factor is genre selection.

Sure, if you watch Jersey Shore you’re going to hear some songs to fist pump to, but that’s just the surface.

Rock bands like the Kill Complex have been featured during one of Ron and Sam’s many fight scenes, and slower, indie rock music from Noah and the Whale has been played during quieter times.

Rock, hip hop, pop, folk, and dubstep have all been featured on the channel that once got criticized for lack of diversity.

MTV may not be all music videos all the time, but it is music and television coming together to satisfy for purely entertainment purposes.

It’s easy to point at all the drama associated with the reality shows of the channel and call it mindless and the reason for our society’s self-destruction, but if we can find a way to appreciate some amazing talent during that destruction, that is fine by me.

While my opinion isn’t the most popular, I have my iPod filled with diverse and talented artists because of MTV’s influence to get me through the day.


What a disgusting mess MTV has become.

It has fallen from the once musical throne that defined music to the dreadful, yet addicting, production of reality television.  From Jersey Shore’s “GTL” movement, struggling Teen Mom, blonde bombshells that migrate from Laguna Beach to The Hills, and the depiction of The Real World, which isn’t very real to begin with, MTV is a reality show train-wreck in which most viewers are hopelessly obsessed.

MTV once was the epitome of how the world interpreted the character of new music and an opening into the world of different genres.

It was the first network to bring the world different music from its foundation in the 80s to showcasing groups like Poison, ACDC and Guns N Roses. MTV gave us Michael Jackson and the “Thriller” video that still lives on to the younger generations years later.

MTV gave us classics and something to remember within music culture, but I can’t say much about what I know and watch in this day and age.

Although I’m beyond guilty of indulging in reality television, I also realize that MTV has no relevant musical substance, and viewers of MTV are all diluted addicts that make up the consistency of acceptance in reality TV.

Like the creation of Snooki, who in essence isn’t  even a real celebrity, but a dumb party girl from Jersey who got popular for being sloppy.  But I still watch it, and the first step is always admitting the problem. I’m an addict, too.

While being captivated by the dynamic of reality TV, I still question, what has happened to the essence and pride of true music, which once was the foundation for music television.  The prime objective of MTV used to be music videos, TRL, Pop-up video, and showcasing new and upcoming artists.

Where did MTV producers draw the line at focusing just on reality TV?  Something that was once so epic is now far from true purpose and musical soul.

But as devoted addicts of reality television, we are sucked into the notion of what MTV is becoming and the ideal that watching dysfunctional behavior is what the new MTV is all about.

We’ve tricked our minds into believing that this is the new music television, and this is all we’re going to get.

So I am begging and pleading for a new and improved MTV, an MTV that features music artists, videos, something mind-boggling and refreshing.  I need something new and captivating but with a taste of old school MTV.

So to the producers of MTV, give me something relevant to talk about and to watch besides a drunken Snooki face-planting and being “DTF” every week, teen moms being constantly pissed off at their baby daddies, stuck-up rich girls who’s biggest problem is not getting into the latest Hollywood club, and seven strangers who are picked to just start fights with one other.

Sorry, not interested.

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MTV: focused on music or trash