Sometime during the 90s MTV lost it’s meaning. When I was a kid I could watch MTV hours after hours just waiting for a new track or my favourite, cursing MTV for all their contests where you had “to be 18 for entering”. I am not sure exactly when MTV became totally irrellevant but they dug their grave with steadfast precision, reality show by reality show.
And now, lo and behold: MTV is back!
If someone would have described it to me; Youtube-format music videos, but with no lip-synch errors, decent resolution and without the novelty acts that gets famous at youtube, I would probably not have felt it being such a big deal. Just after a couple of minutes of browsing around the site I am of a different opinion though.
Currently, MTV Music have around 27 000 videos from over 5 000 artists. An amount that is growing by the day I guess. This could really be huge given that MTV will keep adding videos.
Actually I think MTV could be a major factor once again with this site. Keeping it simple, sticking to what they did best - giving The Music Video a cultural context and forum.
Sure Youtube still have the longest tail, and will possibly always have. But with a majority of videos up on MTV most people will choose MTV. At MTV one could also be sure of that the videos are there, forever.
The site allows for you to have your own profile where you can upload videos or embed from Youtube and Google video. You can embed all the videos at other sites. A photo uploader and flickr embedder is also available. The site does not differentiate much from Myspace when it comes to the community functions, add friend, blog etc. The functions are there. Actually, if there were an alternative for bands to have a Music page just as at Myspace I think MTV could be a serious contender. That would only work though if MTV keeps this page as clean as it is now and not filling it up with insane banners as Myspace.
I think that this is one of the first big initiatives in a long time that actually could mean something, as in it could have a significant cultural impact. MTV is not just an empty word as say, pluggedin, and if MTV can repeat just half of their track record from the 80s and half the 90s MTV Music could really do for the Youtube video in the 00s what they did for Duran duran in the 80s.
Here is a downside: only works in select countries. Works in US, Romania and Sweden though. Canada and UK seems to be on hold. Where is the logic?
As for the music business: they would do best in jumping at this MTV initiative and support it for all they are worth. MTV has been your friend from day 1 and here is a rare opportunity of making it right a second time, this time in the brave new world of Internet. For once, the music industry have the chance of taking an old platform from the old world and establish it as a powerful arena in the new one. Let’s do it buddies, let’s hold hands, cumbaja and all that. Not the same old, same old, courtrooms, copyright infringement hoopla all over again. Lets just be friends over this one, please?
Edit: Here you can read about that MTV defintitly adds Music videos to MTV Music every day. ARS Technica also writes about MTV Music here. Worth noting from that post is that MTV is owned by Viacom, that issued a 1 billion USD lawsuit against Youtube. There is also a developer page with the possibilty of creating different APIs for MTV Music here.