Video Killed the Radio Star…so what could kill video?

Remember when MTV launched in the early 1980s? If you don’t remember maybe you’ve heard stories about it. I remember a time when I was young and MTV played…well, nothing but music videos. Maybe that last sentence makes me sound old(er) but anybody born before 1990 may know what I’m talking about. The first music video to air on MTV was “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Journey back to the early 80s with me for just a moment with this video:

But with the MTV Video Music Awards scheduled to air tonight I find myself missing the one thing that the acronym is supposed to deliver — music. Now, avid MTV audiences have to go to other sources to see music videos, such as YouTube. MTV has adapted, though, and it’s evident that the network is trying to keep pace with its viewers. MTV has dedicated a VMA truck to real-time marketing content surrounding the event. Inside will be 35-40 people working with advertisers to contribute content to sites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

A New York Times article states that, “In recent years, as consumers have ardently embraced social media platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and YouTube, advertisers and MTV have significantly stepped up the production and dissemination of marketing-related content during the shows. That is intensifying this year, as symbolized by the marketing-only truck.”

The article continues to say that there is some criticism about whether real-time marketing is effective or a fad that will fade. It is more likely, critics complain, for people who read or comment on marketing-related posts to work in the marketing or media industries rather than be potential buyers of the products.

During last year’s VMAs this girl was all the buzz (other than the expected ‘N Sync performance) on social networking sites, even weeks after the show aired.

177658334_miley-cryus-467I guess MTV executives want to be prepared for any potential celebrity buzz, so they figured why not facilitate it before, during and after the show with the real-time marketing truck.

MTV has transformed time and time again since its inception. The Buggles were worried about the death of radio stars in 1981 and today I wonder what could cause the death of video stars.


3 thoughts on “Video Killed the Radio Star…so what could kill video?

  1. I just listened to a very interesting NPR interview with editor Craig Marks about music videos and the rise of MTV in the 80s as the medium of choice to reach the teen audience – Can you believe that was cutting edge because there was no programming that was targeting teens? Compare that to today when everyone wants to reach teens!

    What intrigued me was this very last quote from Marks – “The strange thing about the “Video Music Awards” is that it honors a form that MTV has largely abandoned. People who want to watch music videos can do so on YouTube or any variety of services on the Internet. But what’s missing is the idea of a fan discovering an artist through a music video. Back then, MTV would play a big band – let’s say, Madonna – and then they’d play a smaller video and you would listen and watch both. Now if you want to watch a music video, you just go online and search for the artist that you’re looking for. So that sense of discovery is gone now.” So to answer your question, perhaps the death of the video star is search media – Google, and YouTube, which is the second largest search engine. We don’t discover anymore – we have something in mind, and we search for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I can’t venture a guess about the future of MTV, I don’t think I have ever seen a music video on the channel, I love the idea of real time marketing. It is amazing how connected we are. Evian recently held a real time marketing campaign in New York that was very creative and a HUGE success. As AdAge reported Evian ran an event in late August where followers could tweet the brand with the hash tag #Evianbottleservice and describe their current location within several city parks and within five minuets a brand ambassador would show up with a free bottle of water! They also tied this in with their sponsorship of of the US open by delivering to tennis courts a week later.

    I have a feeling we will see a lot more of these types of events soon, what a great way to engage with consumers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m old, so I remember “I want my MTV” back in college, we actually made signs and picketed the cable company in Huntsville, Texas (1985 or 86) to get our MTV! Now, my 16 year old watches all her videos straight on YouTube, consumes new music through BeatsAudio, and buys what she likes through iTunes. (Although – in an annoying situation – we share an iTunes account because I set it up to share when she was way too young, so I get all that music too)


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