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Would Rock be better off if Mtv never existed?


PaulEdwardWagemann
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be prepared to justify your answer

You sound like my English teacher...

But anyways, I believe in some ways, it did take a lot of the mystique out of rock and roll. Other than photos in magazines, the only way to see what the guys in Zeppelin, Sabbath, etc looked like, was to go to their concerts. Once music videos came out, all you had to do was turn on the TV. Also, it made image such an enormous thing. The hair metals guys all looked alike, the slick pop artists all looked alike, the rappers began to all dress alike, and eventually that translated to the music. Not only were musicians pressured to look alike, individuality in sound was muffled too. This was most apparent in the 80s, which is why alternative rock had to appear. Of course, eventually alternative found its way onto the small screen, and a lot of the "grunge" artists began sounding the same. So no, I don't think MTV had a very good impact on the music scene.

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I'm inclined to say that MTV made rock too focused on image, but when I think about it, there was a preoccupation with image in the 60's and 70's as well.

One thing about MTV is that in the 80's they completely ignored good music, and figured that bad music would sell better. Apparently they were right.

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At the risk of sounding parochial, as a European, I see MTV as just another manifestation of American cultural imperialism, reflecting the commodification, branding and global marketing strategies of Pepsi, McDonalds, Nike, Wal-Mart, etc. in the musical sphere. Does anybody imagine for one minute, that anyone involved in MTV, from executive decision-makers to programmers to "MTV jocks", has one jot of interest in the transcendental inspiration of music and its creative process? In that musical artists colloborate with the commodification of their art, MTV could reasonably be described as a form of organised prostitution. (That statement isn't necessarily as critical of artists as it sounds: it's quite understandable to be interested in maximising one's audience: however, they are implicitly happy with the "By Any Means Necessary" part, which necessarily involves a certain amount of "soul-selling to Satan", and blind-eye-turning).

The Wal-Mart analogy seems quite apt. Your supermarket may stock tasty, interesting, exotic delicacies, but usually these will be tucked away somewhere, and you'll only put these in your trolley if you already know where to look for them. By and large, the stuff they are PUSHING IN YOUR FACE, by PILING IT UP IN THE DOORWAYS AND AT THE END OF EVERY AISLE will be those "lowest common-denominator" goods such as chocolate, beer, burgers and seasonal fare, which satisfy various primal urges, but do not provide cultural enrichment or nourishment, and which, consumed to excess, ultimately kill us. Same with MTV. Lowest common denominator **** served up to the masses. Drip, drip, drip. Across the world, indigenous music scenes wither on the vine, replaced by bland, homogenous corporate-whore-mongered MTV dross. Artists with some essential individualism are enabled to thrive in MTVWorld,(eg Marilyn Manson, Eminem) but their personal distinctiveness serves only as more gimmickry, marketing tools, to be mimicked by others all too keen to conform with the rules of engagement.

Britain and Europe have traditionally had their own thriving music scenes. In the UK's case, this has historically been internationally respected and disproportionately influential for various reasons (which might warrant another thread one day?). However, never before have British music fans appeared to be so in thrall to American music and style. No doubt there will be many factors at work in this phenomenon, (if indeed it's true: it's only my observation...), but I suggest this is due to increasing cultural homogenisation, which can be attributed in no small part to MTV,(as a virtual-monopoly broadcaster of music video) and its role in the the global development of US cultural hegemony.

I intend no offence with these observations. I may sound like a "little Englander", but it's not really a case of narrow-mindedness. (I was in a band influenced by the likes of Big Black, Sonic Youth, Black Flag, but these influences were counter-balanced by influences from distinctively British bands, e.g. Gang Of Four, Wire, The Fall...) Whilst cross-fertilisation of musical influences is a positive thing,(indeed "eclecticism" can be wonderful, done well...), music remains more interesting, edifying and appealing when it retains a sense of regional, cultural and contemporal identity. Such notions are attacked by the insidious onward march of the MTV machine, which apparently seeks to reduce everything to the level of "that which is marketable", like cartons of blended soup.

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I agree with the Lizard, and if I understood b-f correctly, then I agree with him too. Music that appeals to the masses is carried to every corner of the MTV-watching world with little regard for those who don't want to look beyond their TV screen.

Of course, as always, there are exceptions, but by and large I'd say it hasn't had a good impact.

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I never was a fan of MTV and I believe they just used music to make money... it wasn´t a cultural thing, it´s a commercial channel. Fine, we could see the video clips of our fave bands, otherwise we wouldn´t know many of their songs... and some videos were very good. But I guess MTV was there just as the record companies had to be there... they took what they thought would let them make money and they also let people know some about commercial music.

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I was in high school when M-TV first went on the air. I have to say that I did not watch it because they did not play the music that I was into. In fact, the radio did not play my music either. For me, M-TV had no influence. As for it bringing the downfall of rock, well, maybe to a degree. There were videos before M-TV that were played on shows like Night Flight, The Midnight Special, etc, but those were mostly promotional films of bands that were playing live somewhere. I think M-TV made it more about image over music. Thus was the beginning of the decline of rock music's coolness.

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"MTV is to music what KFC is to chicken." - Lewis Black

I've heard the argument that Mtv actually made Rock better because the really true Rock rebelled so hard against it--this would be the Hardcore stuff of the early 80s and your Indie Underground stuff of the 80s. So if this was the case Mtv was part of the locomotion behind the Indie scene which it then usurped and regurgitated giving way to what eventually became 'alternative rock'...

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Yes. Because of it I believe that there is almost no real rock anymore, and after MTV's invention rock was never, and never will be the same as the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

Rock is more real now than it's ever been.

I think that pop would be better off if MTV never existed.

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Real rock isn't played on MTV, and shouldn't be. If rock is too commercialized by the media, and is shoved down our throats by (ahem) adults, it loses its rebellion, and is no longer rock. I'm not knocking 70's rock, but I'll just say this: the real rock today is more real than the real rock of the 70's. The real rock today is just a little more difficult to find...and that's just how it should be.

All in all, though, who cares what "real rock" is? I just want to listen to "real music."

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