Ongoing History Daily: MTV’s anniversary

We’ll be hearing more about the 40th anniversary of MTV later this year because it was on August 1, 1981, that the network signed on.

The first video they showed was “Video Killed the Radio Star,” which rolled at 12:01 AM EDT. In the beginning, MTV was a shoestring operation. They had a total of 250 videos–and 30 of them were from Rod Stewart. But they ran those 250 videos 24 hours a day and slowly, the idea of WATCHING a song caught on.

By 1983 it was the highest-rated cable channel in the US. But more importantly, MTV changed the course of musical history. Not only did a band have to SOUND good, but now it had to LOOK good. MTV started to drive trends in music, fashion and attitude.

Funny how that radio is still here but MTV doesn’t show videos anymore. Interesting, that.

Yesterday’s post talked about some music industry facts.

And don’t forget to check out my podcast The Ongoing History of New Music where you listen on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogleStitcher, or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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