August 31, 2023

The App for People Who Miss the Glory Days of MuchMusic and MTV

It’s called The Awl Music App.  The tagline is “music videos for and by people, not machines.”  I’ll just quote from the press release:

You can watch your favorite music videos on your iPad, or throw them to your Apple TV like any other television channel. Get it here! Here’s why we think this needs to exist.

My music video collection began in 1989, the year my family finally got MTV. Cable had been slow to arrive in the San Fernando Valley, and my family was not much for early adopting anything anyway. I had one previous experience with MTV, a few years earlier, when I spent two weeks of the summer in the basement of my aunt’s house in Scarsdale, watching six hours a day of MTV with my cousin Stephen.

That was 1986, and it was was a phenomenal year for music. It was the year of Janet Jackson’s Control, Peter Gabriel’s So, The Beastie Boys’ Licensed to Ill, Madonna’s True Blue, Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, Run D.M.C.’s Raising Hell and The Pet Shop Boys’s Please. Phil Collins was still releasing videos off of No Jacket Required, and he was still fronting Genesis for Invisible Touch. MTV played the videos from these albums with the frequency of propaganda, and they carved deep, deep pathways into my brain.

The video for “Sledgehammer” was the first time I was conscious of filmmaking technology. “Land of Confusion” was my first exposure to political satire. The strings at the beginning of “Papa Don’t Preach,” played over scenes of the Manhattan skyline, became indelibly associated with New York City. Things I adored for the rest of my life first came to my attention during those two weeks watching television in Scarsdale.

But by the time MTV came to my house in the Valley in 1989, all those music videos were off the air. 

You can read the rest of the article here.

I downloaded the app last night and spent some time watching videos I hadn’t seen in a long time.  I also discovered a couple of newer clips that I didn’t know existed.

Selection is limited, but it’s early.  And hey, it’s free.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 36974 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “The App for People Who Miss the Glory Days of MuchMusic and MTV

  • I already miss The Cool TV, which was dropped by a regional U.S. broadcaster as a music video TV subchannel as of the end of last month.

  • Right on! Curated VEVO and YouTube music videos. BTW they have a site that I am watching at work right now at


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