Jason Middleton and Roger Beebe

I
n recent years it has become common to lament the disappearance
of music videos from MTV. Over a decade ago Andrew Goodwin had
already noted in his Dancing in the Distraction Factory that MTV was
increasingly moving toward familiar televisual programming sched-
ules and further from a simple “radio with images,” the twenty-four-hour
flow of videos that it seemed at first to be. In the decade since Goodwin’s
landmark text, MTV has only moved further in the direction that Good-
win describes, thereby confining (or condemning) music video to very
specific programming slots, often in the “dead” parts of the daily sched-
ule. In fact, by 2004 MTV even finally acknowledged its abandonment of
music video. That year saw the release of a series of ads for MTV2, one of
the Viacom-owned sister networks of the music television pioneer, that
proclaimed “MTV2: Where the music’s at,” thus conceding implicitly that
MTV was no longer music television.1 Ironically enough, within months
of this ad campaign, MTV2 itself abandoned its all-video format, instead
opting to devote a substantial portion of its daily schedule to rerunning
programs from MTV.
Faced with such evidence of the disappearance of music video from
the regular line-up of MTV, it would at first glance seem strange to foist
on the world a new collection of writing about music video. If music video
is indeed disappearing from M[usic]T[ele]V[ision], then why turn our at-
tention to it once again?
Simply put, music video has in no way disappeared. While MTV has
increasingly focused on the TV over the M, music video has in actual-
ity concurrently enjoyed a major renaissance by circulating in a number
of other places and other media. While MTV may not program twenty-
four hours of video a day, when we look at the amount of music video on
Previous Page Next Page