Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wait, MTV is still relevant?

Uh, MTV doesn't play videos anymore? Wow, I couldn't have guessed after watching hours and hours of supposed reality TV with people who seem more obsessed with being outrageous or memorable than actually being entertaining. Instead of Headbangers Ball, we get Jersey Shore, instead of Remote Control, we get Road Rules. There hasn't been a video on this channel in years, and now today, the iconic logo that has been around since the days when MTV first went on the air has been changed to remove the words Music Television. You only hear music during poignant moments within their reality TV shows or in short sound bites during commercial breaks.


Ok, I'll admit I did watch early seasons of Real World and Road Rules because they were at least interesting and it didn't seem all that contrived. Now, the shows bring together 7 or 8 characters that fit a role and the show puts them in precarious spots full of booze and compromising situations. Their new shows about teen pregnancy are compelling in their very real portrayal of what happens when kids have kids, but it's sad to see an icon of your youth basically get turned into something completely unrelatable. I remember spending hours during my teen years watching videos, seeing the artists that I liked perform their music. It changed music quite a bit, MTV did, and now, music is just a memory there.


Granted it's probably part of getting older that you realize that things just aren't the same anymore with many of the things from your youth. I can't keep up with a lot of the current trends in things, mostly because I'm too busy with living my life to worry about it. I don't care if I'm not wearing the latest clothes or listening to what's the hot music now, I find what I like and stick with it. I suppose it's a sign that you can move away from the caring about the current trends. And of course, there's all the horrible pictures of things back when that could be pulled out to remind you of the horror of things back when. Seriously, people, day glow colors and mullets, what where we thinking?


But in terms of music growing up, I relied totally on the radio and MTV to hear about new bands and what was going on in the world. It was amazing to see the people that made the music, and the cross promotions between videos and the corresponding releases really influenced why certain bands flourished while others flamed out. I remember my very first Walkman, which allowed me to listen to cassettes so I could take music portably, which allowed me to do my chores and enjoy a little bit of piece.


Now, IPODs can store an entire catalog of music in something as big as a cell phone, while musical genres are fractured, as we now have so many different categories of music, it's hard to know what band fits where. And in like most American cities, the radio has becomed a jumbled mess of channels who seem to be more interested in selling crap and promoting their latest promotion rather than playing music. Portland compounds that issue with having radio stations that don't fit into a true genre, instead playing selected tunes that fit somewhat together. We don't have a true classic rock, alternative, or rock station, it's a mish mash of songs that sort of fit together.


I can prove this with just how our stations are organized. One, I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the likelihood of me hearing a song of theirs on our stations is good, because they appear on the rock station, alternative station, the adult alternative station, the we play everything stations, and the lite rock station. If you like them great, but if you want to hear something different, well, it's hard when a band like this could appear anywhere. Insert Nirvana or Evenescence, and you get the same thing. I personally hated the song that the Evenenscene people did, not because it wasn't a good song, but because I couldn't get away from it being played everywhere. We might play everything or be different here, but at the same time, we're here to make money. And the corporate interests that control the airwaves say that radio here is very controlled and regimented.


It's no wonder that people have retreated to their own musical selections in their players, or finding radio stations on the Internet to find a reprieve from corporate run radio. At least with these options, there's a bit more diversity and a lot less obnoxious ads. I've even tried listening to sports radio as an alternative, but I'm sick and tired of pulling up one station that is talking about football constantly and the other is strictly Trail Blazers all the time. I like to talk NFL and NBA, but not all the time. I guess the radio folks are just trying to tell me that I'm better off playing my own tunes instead of trying to have them play songs regularly, much like MTV is telling all of us that insipid people are much more fun to watch than actual artists producing music. I wished I could say that turning it off or changing the channel would matter, but at this point, I've got more important things to deal with.

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