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					                                                                               Pasqualetto 1

Mike Pasqualetto

English 102 Section 21

Paper #2

February 26, 2004

                                    The Music Industry

        Today’s world is full of “modern-day monsters,” such as materialism,

standardized tests and corporate takeovers. Another modern-day monster is MTV. Back

in the 80's, MTV started out as a station for youth. It was named “Music Television,”

because they played music. But MTV is no longer a “Music Television” station. It is

now a corporate organization run by people whose main concern is money. The station is

run by the type of people who don’t care about anyone but themselves. They only play

the music that will make them the most money, and that is poppy music. Bands will even

change their music to make it more “MTV friendly.” MTV likes to over play music and

this is what ruins certain bands and certain artists. MTV ruins bands by overexposing


        One of the main reasons that I chose MTV as a modern-day monster was because

of the music that it has been playing lately. For years I have never really listened to

bands that were on the radio or on MTV. I have always liked punk music. The music

that I listened to was never on the radio and it was never played on MTV. The music that

I listened to was different then what was on MTV and the radio and I enjoyed it. When I

would go to shows to see my favorite bands, there was only about 50-75 people in the

audience. It almost felt as if we were part of something great that no one else knew

about. Eventually, bands that I liked started having videos played on MTV. Suddenly
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everyone my age started listening to the same music as me and started to dress like me

also. Now when I go to shows, I have to make sure that I buy tickets well in advance

because the shows always sell out. When I go to concerts, the crowds are filled with

people who are only fans of the band because they saw them on MTV. The only reason

that they are there is because it is the “cool” thing to do.

        MTV started in New York City in 1981 and became available in most of the

United States in the mid 1980s with the expansion of cable. The first music video shown

on MTV was "Video Killed the Radio Star," by The Buggles. Fresh-faced young men

and women were hired to host the show's programming and to introduce videos that were

being played. The early music videos that made up most of the network's programming

in the 80s were mostly concert clips from whatever sources could be found. As the

popularity of MTV rose and record companies recognized the potential of the videos as a

tool to gain recognition and publicity, they began to create increasingly elaborate videos

specifically for the network. This is when the “image,” started to become more important

than the actual music itself.

        MTV has been the cause of many of the trends that have been taking place in

music over the years. Atkins says, “It would be hard for one to dispute the fact that MTV

has influenced every pop culture trend since its birth in 1981. One could even say that

MTV is pop culture” (Atkins). When MTV started, 80s metal ruled the station. The

same rock videos were played in constant rotation. Eventually every band started to

sound the same because that kind of poppy rock is what was popular at the time. After

the 80s metal came the early 90s grunge scene. The scene was started in Seattle and was

against such things as corporatism. Before this time, none of this music had been played
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on MTV. This kind of music was a lot darker than the music that had preceded it. In

Seattle, people had their own music that they could listen to that was real. MTV started

putting bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam into heavy rotation. All of the sudden every

teenager was listening to grunge, wearing plaid shirts, and growing their hair long. MTV

turned grunge into a marketing tool. What started out in Seattle as a musical movement

which was anti-MTV became MTV. A few years after grunge became popular, MTV

once again ruined the bands by overexposing them. The next big thing in music was

teenybopper pop. The music on MTV was filled with boy bands such as NSYNC and the

Backstreet Boys. These bands danced and sang catchy annoying melodies that you could

never get out of your head. This type of music quickly became “uncool,” and now you

never hear anything from these bands. MTV has so much control over the music industry

that they practically run it. Rushkoff says, “MTV can take credit for reconstructing the

music industry” (Rushkoff 126).

       For many people, MTV decides what is and what isn’t popular. There are too

many people out there who let MTV tell them what kind of music is cool and what kind

of music they should be listening to. None of these people have minds of their own and

this is what MTV wants. Atkins says, “No other media network holds in the palm of its

hand the power to control popular cultural evolution the way MTV does” (Atkins). A lot

of today’s generation looks to MTV to see how they should dress and act. Rushkoff

states, “Generation Y knows that your culture scouts are far better equipped than they are

to determine what's authentic. So they watch MTV and peruse the ads in Spin to find out

which culture they should emulate next. The object of the game is to get in on a scene

while it's still being exploited. To get onto Total Request Live or be captured by the
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cameras on MTV's Spring Break. After all, if there's MTV cameras around, it *must* be

cool” (Rushkoff).

        MTV is my modern day monster. They exploit bands and scenes that do not want

to be exploited. These scenes are against MTV. They were created because people are

sick of seeing the same fake people and hearing the same fake music that is played on

MTV constantly. Even though this music and these scenes are anti-MTV, the station still

takes them and exploits them on MTV. MTV ruins the music by overexposing it and the

artists that create the music.
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                                     Works Cited

Atkins, Tony. “MTV: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” 20 July 2000


Philo, Simon. “Getting Dumber and Dumber: MTV's Global Footprint.” 1998


Rushkoff, Douglas. “Creature Interviews.” June 1998.


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