Music video enthusiasts Beavis & Butt-head.
Music video enthusiasts Beavis & Butt-head.
MTV Classic, Culture Borrowing, Alice Glass, Grace Jones, Hip-Hop + Fashion, Songs of the Summer...
Jen Guyre, guest curator August 2, 2016
quote of the day
You'll never look at music the same way again.
MTV's initial slogan
rant n' rave

Wait, so did MP3s kill TRL? I’ve been running MTV CLASSIC all day in the background until 'The TRL Decade' mini-doc completely stole my attention… Interning at MTV.COM the summer of 2003 -- being in the actual building that housed TRL -- was kind of the dream for 20-year-old me. And then being hired right out of college made it borderline surreal. I mean, I grew up glued to the channel, and it shaped me. It was the ultimate music discovery platform if I can industry it up a little, but it was also the way for girls from New Jersey like me to be plugged into what was going on in places we’ve never been to and feel like we were a part of it. The dawn of the internet unified music scenes by giving that same access on a deeper level, but the difference between watching artistic expression in video and stealing, I mean downloading, tracks was huge. Just blindly hearing songs will give you an emotional response, an idea of style and influence, but seeing a visual they married to their sound -- that completed the mood, gave insight into personalities and gave you more to absorb. It’s why YOUTUBE for a long time was a bigger music platform than all the SPOTIFYs and ITUNES' of the world. It’s why artists still release music videos in 2016 and why for the past decade+ people have wanted to make MTV about music again. And here we are, celebrating a 35-year legacy. Where pop and alternative co-existed. Pretty fair to say we want and always wanted our f***ing MTV. The historic day when TRL said goodbye is ingrained in my memory from inside the walls of the fort because it was significant not only to employees, but to a generation. Watching firsthand how the studio was dismantled was pretty sad, but even that shaped me -- and the industry. It was an uncertain time of technology moving faster than companies could keep up with, and hordes of rabid fans devouring what was new and good the second it arrived, but if there’s a lesson here somewhere, it might be that not everything needs to come to an end when something new comes along. Maybe adaptability and evolution mean expanding on your initial idea and not throwing it out the window. Maybe data and numbers aren’t everything. You’ve heard enough upheaval from my generation that the M is supposed to stand for music and this is in no way a complaint over the times it didn’t, just a retrospective on something we’re all happy existed, and all pretty stoked is back. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself to not be bummed that this is now deemed “classic”!

Jen Guyre, guest curator

August 2, 2016