The Music Video, Before Music Television

The Music Video, Before Music Television



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1895: The “first” music video is filmed at Thomas Edison’s studio

The oldest known film with music was made for the Kinetophone, a device developed by Thomas Edison’s lab that showed moving pictures and was also fitted out with a phonograph. In the film, its inventor, William Dickson, plays music from a popular operetta on a violin as two men dance beside him. The soundtrack was recorded separately on a wax cylinder that went missing for several decades, turned up at the Edison National Historical Site in the early 1960s and was finally reunited with the picture in 1998. Intended primarily as a test, the “Dickson Experimental Sound Film,” as the clip is known, was not released, in part because the Kinetophone never caught on with consumers.

Early 20th century: Illustrated songs capture moviegoers’ eyes and ears

First introduced in 1894 as a publicity stunt for marketing sheet music, illustrated songs consisted of photographic images painted in color and projected from glass slides, sometimes interspersed with silent moving picture clips. Audience members in vaudeville houses and nickelodeons would watch these visual displays as pianists and vocalists performed corresponding music, usually before silent films started or during reel changes.

1920s: Sound-on-film ushers in the era of musical shorts

In April 1923, New York City’s Rivoli Theater presented the first motion pictures with sound-on-film, a system that synchronized movies and their soundtracks. (“The Jazz Singer,” the first full-length talkie in cinema history, would premiere in 1927 and use the same technology.) Many early sound-on-film productions featured vaudeville stars, opera singers, bands and other popular musicians; known as musical shorts, these clips were played before feature films well into the 1940s. Later, during the 1950s, musical shorts made a comeback as filler footage between television movies, which were not yet edited to fit into time slots.

1925: Audiences learn how to follow the bouncing ball

A year after their animated sound-on-film series entitled “Song-Car Tunes” debuted, brothers Max and David Fleischer released a cartoon featuring a bouncing ball, which hopped over lyrics to encourage in-theater singalongs. Musical cartoons with bouncing balls later became common elements of children’s television programs.

1940-1946: Soundies put coins in jukeboxes across the United States

Direct precursors to the music video, soundies were three-minute films featuring music and dance performances, designed to display on jukebox-like projection machines in bars, restaurants and other public spaces. Many of the era’s greatest talents, from jazz singers and swing dancers to chamber musicians and comedians, appeared in them. Another type of visual jukebox, known as the Scopitone, originated in France in the late 1950s and enjoyed some brief success in Europe and the United States.

1959: The Big Bopper coins the term “music video”

According to some music historians, singer and songwriter Jiles Perry Richardson, who went by The Big Bopper, became the first person to use the phrase “music video” in a 1959 interview with a British magazine. (Richardson died that same year in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.) The “Chantilly Lace” singer is also credited with making some of the earliest known rock videos in 1958.

1960s: The Beatles marry movies and music

Perhaps more than any other band before them, The Beatles harnessed the power of film to market their records and express themselves as artists. In addition to starring in full-length features such as “Help” and “A Hard Day’s Night,” the Fab Four recorded dozens of promotional clips—some with narratives and others composed largely of psychedelic images—that were broadcast in their native England and overseas. Many rock and roll bands of the late 1960s and 1970s followed their lead, releasing increasingly sophisticated promo films that shared the lineup with live performances on televised music variety shows.

1974: Australia paves the way with “Countdown” and “Sounds”

Two weekly teen-oriented music programs premiered in Australia in 1974. Both prominently featured music videos, some of which were created especially for the shows. As “Countdown” and “Sounds” quickly earned a devoted following, the format spread to other countries around the world. In 1978, three years before MTV hit the airwaves, the American program “Video Concert Hall” began offering several hours of unhosted music videos every day on the USA Network.


The Music Video, Before Music Television:

Over thirty years ago, MTV launched on 1st August 1981. To some it could be a surprise that the genre itself is known for a much longer timeline which stretches as far back as the late 19th century. It first aired the famous The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” The channel started as an outlet for people to be able to promote their videos which record labels would gradually show interest in that certain artist and their music.

Television broadcasting has been around since the late 1920s but started rising as a culture force began a few years after World War II. Certain tv networks such as CBS, NBC and ABC need shows to fill up their air hours, which then led to respected performances such as classical, ballet and Broadway. Tv wanted to be apart of the pop-culture movement as the youth in that era were listening to it more. There was a weekday afternoon dance-party show which was aired on local station in Philadelphia it featured popular music acts were picked by ABC which enabled them to go national in August 1957, changing its name from Bandstand to American Bandstand. The host of that show Dick Clark eventually on to become one of the most well known faces in America because of that the shows success gradually evolved far reaching media business.

In 1948, The Ed Sullivan Show aired on CBS at 8pm on Sundays, featuring a variety of acts and performers the show became massively popular with the vastly growing TV audience during the 1950’s and 60’s. Memorable artists which appeared on the show including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes and The Doors.


The Golden Age of MTV — And Yes, There Was One

The Original VJs: MTV launched in 1981 with a small cache of videos by mostly unknown British bands and five VJs, or video jockeys: J.J. Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Martha Quinn and Alan Hunter. Courtesy of MTV Networks hide caption

"Ladies and gentlemen, rock 'n' roll."

MTV went on the air with those words, a minute after midnight on Aug. 1, 1981. The first video was, of course, "Video Killed the Radio Star," by the Buggles.

Few people saw the fledgling network it was carried by cable operators in Kansas City, but not New York or Los Angeles. But within a couple of years, MTV had grown into a behemoth of the music industry.

Cyndi Lauper, Mick Jagger, Pat Benatar and David Bowie are some of the musicians featured in the channel's 1982 "I Want My MTV" campaign. Courtesy of MTV Networks hide caption

Cyndi Lauper, Mick Jagger, Pat Benatar and David Bowie are some of the musicians featured in the channel's 1982 "I Want My MTV" campaign.

Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum have compiled a new oral history of the network, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution.

Tannenbaum tells weekends on All Things Considered host Laura Sullivan that when MTV was launched, music videos were almost unknown.

"In fact, if you had said to someone in 1981, 'Do you want to watch a music video?' the person would have said, 'I don't know what you're talking about,' because the phrase didn't actually exist."

MTV struggled during its first few years. Conservative cable operators often refused to carry the channel.

"They thought that MTV was a bunch of coked-up rock and roll fiends, and they were right in a way," Marks says.

The company was just a few bad months away from going under, until several ad executives cooked up what became a legendary ad campaign featuring rock stars yelling "I want my MTV!"

"That really was the turning point, that and Thriller were the two things that kept the network afloat," Marks says.

The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution

by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum

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Thriller caused a controversy at lily-white MTV. The network came under fire for its lack of black artists, but executives worried that their viewers just wouldn't like Michael Jackson. They changed their tune once the ratings came in.

"They weren't idiots," Tannenbaum says. "Once they saw the ratings go up, they realized that they could program black musicians."

Jackson led to Lionel Richie, Billy Ocean and other black musicians, though leery network executives had to be persuaded all over again when rap became popular.

MTV's impact was immense during the 1980s. It made artists like Madonna and Guns N' Roses into stars. But if you turn on MTV today, you'll have a hard time finding any videos at all. The network began to back away from playing music videos in 1992, the year Marks and Tannenbaum chose to end their book.

"One of the signature things that happened that year was that Bill Clinton was a constant presence on MTV in 1990-91, and he was elected president," Tannenbaum says.

"Once you've helped elect a U.S. president, are you gonna go back to playing Winger videos?" Marks adds.

That year also marked the debut of the first reality show, The Real World, which had a huge impact on the television industry.

"It's very easy to trace the line from The Real World to Snooki," Tannenbaum says. "It's an alcoholic, crooked line all the way there, but MTV quickly realized and learned that narrative television, even reality TV, rated better than music videos."

Other networks jumped on the reality show bandwagon.

"I think The Real World was the last point where MTV could be considered revolutionary," Tannenbaum says.


Video killed the radio star

According to CNET, MTV VJ Adam Curry said that MTV actually never really made a lot of money from playing music videos 24-7. Financially, even during the best of times in the mid-80's, MTV was more or less staying afloat. That is, until it started introducing game shows and diversifying its network (even its first game show, "Remote Control", was hugely popular in comparison to music videos). VJs took the role of pre-YouTube video celebrities, and fostered a culture that tried to cater programming to MTV's music-watching base, but also noting that people watching music videos wasn't going to keep the lights on forever.

On that note, as explained in Hornet, if MTV didn't change it would have become known merely as "the nostalgia channel." All things, including music, changed, and so MTV attempted to not grow into an old, calcified version of itself that resembled its aging audience. In fact, there's a fair degree of internet blowback against nostalgia-hunters who whine about how MTV has changed. Additionally, all of the much-reviled non-music programming on MTV allowed it to attempt to keep up with generational changes in tastes and preferences.

Finally, there is simply no way, in 2020, that MTV can compete with YouTube when it comes to watching music videos. If MTV had launched YouTube, things might look different, but as it stands, MTV would be wise to let YouTube claim its old role for those who want to watch music videos all day.


The Music Video, Before Music Television - HISTORY

1.) Product- MTV, music television
2.) Technology- Music, video
3.) Industry- Music
4.) Money- Cable/Satellite subscription viewing
5.) Law/Government- Use of cable/satellites
6.) Audience- Music/video market (large target market).

I agree that communications channels, such as music television (MTV), focus almost completely on the video production and the advertising/endorsements of it. The quality of the music doesn’t seem nearly as important any longer than the over-top nature and overwhelming use of money of the video production team. I feel that the shift in the music industry is going to be an emphasis on the entire multimedia experience with the actual music/song taking a backseat to the video. Think of when a song is played in the background during a scene of a movie…I think that’s what’s coming…

I also agree that MTV focuses a lot of its time on video production. How much do you believe that the music video is taking away form the song? Do you think if not already that the songs will no longer matter and the only thing people will care about is the music video? Also, what do you believe this will do to music, will it not be recognized by people while watching a music video or will it just disappear completely?


Whatever happened to MTV? How the music station ditched pop for a new reality in 13 shows

It's been over 35 years since the world of music and pop culture changed forever with the words "ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll".

Today, it's not about the music &ndash Total Request Live ended after 20 years on air in 2008 &ndash as we've now got reality gems like Catfish, Geordie Shore, Just Tattoo of Us and more.

But how did we get from there to here?

In an age when videos are an expensive luxury, and we can listen to music for free whenever we want, who needs a video channel?

In the early 2000s, then-MTV president Van Toeffler said: "Clearly, the novelty of just showing music videos has worn off. It's required us to reinvent ourselves to a contemporary audience."

Well, it certainly has managed to reinvent itself &ndash here is a timeline of the network's most memorable and influential shows, and a look towards MTV's future.

1. First ever music video &ndash 'Video Killed the Radio Star' (1981)

In August 1981, MTV launched in New Jersey as the spark that would ignite a music and telly revolution &ndash and it all started with The Buggles' big hit 'Video Killed The Radio Star'. Turns out they were wrong. Radio is thriving&hellip

2. MTV Unplugged (1989)

From the late '80s into the '90s MTV was at pains to remind us that they took music seriously, and MTV Unplugged gave music fans some killer moments over the years.

Nirvana's 1993 performance &ndash which came shortly before Kurt Cobain's tragic death &ndash lives on in the memory, while many fans will remember Bruce Springsteen shocking the network by ditching the acoustic format to get his whole band in on the fun. And who could forget Eric Clapton defining the show with his reworked rendition of 'Layla'?

3. Beavis and Butthead (1993)

Post-Simpsons, it was one of the first hit animated series not aimed at kids, and it went on to inspire small-screen classics like South Park. The two dim-witted characters spoke to a generation over its first four-year run, before they returned in 2011 for more.

Okay, so some critics attacked the show for being a little crass. And yes, the show got in trouble for encouraging pyromania. And, okay, yes, MTV even had to run a warning to explain that this hapless, juvenile and carefree pair weren't meant to be role models.

But maybe the world would be a happier place if we all had a little Beavis and Butthead in us.

4. Daria (1997)

Originally a spin-off from Beavis and Butthead, Daria was the cartoon for all smart, brainy girls and it remains a touchstone among young feminists. Daria co-creator Suzie Lewis admitted just last month that she'd love to bring the dry, intelligent character back.

Honestly, is there anyone who wouldn't want this to happen? Five years just wasn't enough.

5. Cribs (2000)

MTV Cribs marked the turning point of the channel away from music and towards celebrity. It gave fans unparalleled insight into the lives of the rich and famous, years before reality shows made it commonplace. We'd be glued to the screen as everyone &ndash 50 Cent, Missy Elliot, Destiny's Child, Ashton Kutcher, Kanye West and more &ndash let us into their houses.

Viewers got a peek into the glamorous lives of the stars and loved it, whether it was a green-eyed look at fleets of cars in the oversized garages, or a cheeky wink as they showed us "where the magic happens".

If ever one episode defined the show, it was Mariah Carey's &ndash working out in stilettos, hopping in the bath wearing a towel, and even her assistant helping her change as she walked round the house.

6. Jackass (2000)

Take a group of friends and film them doing stupid stuff. Sometimes it's just that simple &ndash although the crew certainly took their pranks and painful stunts to outrageous lengths in the name of entertainment. The show &ndash and subsequent films and spin-offs &ndash turned the likes of Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Bam Margera amd Wee Man into household names.

7. The Osbournes (2002-2005)

The pioneering programme followed Black Sabbath legend Ozzy and his family living their lives in front of the camera. It was chaotic, it was real &ndash and it worked. It premiered 15 years ago, and set the standard for reality shows that families like the Kardashians still try to live up to.

A watershed moment in celebrity culture.

8. Pimp My Ride (2004-2007)

Yo, dawg! Who didn't dream of the chance to appear on Xzibit's show and get a car fitted out with more bling than 50 Cent's jewellery drawer? Turntables, LED lights, even a shoe rack &ndash nobody needed these things in their cars, obviously. But that's really not the point &ndash it was all about seeing an old banger transformed into the car of someone's dreams, selling the dream of the billionaire lifestyle.

9. The Hills (2006-2010)

You have The Hills &ndash and MTV's continued move towards reality TV as the '00s moved on &ndash to thank for Speidi. Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag rose to fame on the spin-off of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. Who could forget the tearful moment Heidi and LC finally reconciled, as they reflected on their friendship and seemed to bury the hatchet&hellip only for Lauren to make an emotional exit? No, YOU'RE still not over it&hellip

10. Jersey Shore (2009-2012)

As the '00s came to an end, it was pretty clear the days of Total Request Live and mesmerising music performances had given way to reality stars getting drunk and making us howl at their outrageous antics. Whether it was Ron and Sammi's fights or Snooki's less-than-genius moments, the celebration of riotous behaviour, sexual or otherwise, marked a very obvious shift for MTV, but one that we couldn't help but be engrossed by.

11. Geordie Shore (2011-present)

MTV started it off and MTV UK ran with it.

It wasn't long until the coast of New Jersey got traded for the delights of north-east England, with Geordie Shore taking to the small screen and making stars out of the likes of Charlotte Crosby, Marnie Simpson and Gaz Beadle. Drunken rows, raunchy escapades and a lot of tears &ndash the show has given fans everything over the last six years.

12. Catfish (2012-present)

As a concept, the show &ndash that took its inspiration from the film of the same name &ndash should be horrifying: investigating bizarre cases of online identity fraud. Showing a sometimes tragic side to human delusion, it's led to some baffling and outrageous moments &ndash including one man who was actually convinced he was in a real-life relationship with the actual Katy Perry.

Just as the internet had once seemed to spell the end of MTV, it provided a route back toward relevance.

13. Just Tattoo of Us (2017)

Amusing name aside, Charlotte Crosby and Stephen Bear's show reveals the extremity of our relationship with fame. Would you ever trust a friend, family member or partner to design your new ink, knowing you have no say in the design, just to get on TV?

Well, Just Tattoo of Us is really that simple and ridiculous &ndash plus it's the gift that keeps on giving as Charlotte and Bear's TMI social media posts keep us all updated on their blossoming romance. Never change.

Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Twitter account and you're all set.


Started on MTV in 1987, Headbangers Ball is the standard bearer of metal shows. Too bad the buffoons at MTV didn’t know how to treat it. The show almost didn’t survive its infancy with its un-metal host Adam Curry. Riki Rachtmen took the show to the peak of its popularity between 1990 and 1995 with a simple format: play metal videos, maybe interview a touring artist passing through town. Cancelled on MTV in 1995 and brought back on MTV2 in 2003, the serviceable Jamie Jasta of Hatebreed returned for the hosting duties. The show has aired at 11 pm, Midnight, 1.a.m., 3 a.m., and 4 a.m. The Ball is now on the web only. Really, how hard is it for a network called Music Television to play videos?

In 1986, MTV came up with the concept of 120 Minutes, mostly alternative videos played on college radio stations. Relegated to late night Sundays, 120 Minutes helped alternative music bubble up to the mainstream. When grunge broke, the show was on the cutting edge of the new musical phenomenon. By the late 90’s, pop had regained its throne and 120 Minutes was being pre-empted by re-runs of the Real World. As with all un-nurtured MTV shows, 120 Minutes was unceremoniously cancelled in 2003 and spun off into the even more abused show Subterranean, which pretty much aired randomly in the middle of the night. Last year 120 Minutes was reborn with the human music dictionary Matt Pinfield back at the helm.

What show did you watch? Let us know in the comments and we might add it to our…


Biggest hits and significant songs:

  • Born to Run (listen)
  • Hungry Heart (listen)
  • Dancing in the Dark (listen)
  • Born in the USA (listen)
  • Cover Me (listen)
  • I’m on Fire (listen)
  • Glory Days (listen)
  • I’m Goin’ Down (listen)
  • My Hometown (listen)
  • War
  • Brilliant Disguise (listen)
  • Tunnel of Love (listen)
  • Streets of Philadelphia (listen)

6. Phil Collins

Born: January 30, 1951 in Chiswick, Greater London, England

The once-drummer for the popular English group Genesis became the lead singer after Peter Gabriel left the band in the mid-1970s to pursue his own successful solo career. Since then Genesis made the transition as a progressive rock band into a more radio-friendly pop group releasing highly successful albums such as Duke, Abacab, Genesis and Invisible Touch. As Genesis were making the transition, Collins had also developed his singing and songwriting abilities and established a solo career in the early 1980s. He reached the pinnacle of success not soon after, scoring hits such as “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Against All Odds,” “One More Night,” “A Groovy Kind of Love,” and “Another Day in Paradise.” He managed to maintain his own solo career and as a member of Genesis despite the band’s shifting lineup until he lay low in the early 2010’s.Collins’ total worldwide record sales as a solo artist amount to about 150 million.


How Social Media is Killing the Music Industry

Social media has completely changed the way we interact with each other. We are all connected in so many different ways that were never possible before. Social media’s main focus was primarily based on affecting our personal lives. Of course, over time as technology evolved, social media grew. Socialization, privacy, politics, businesses, productivity, and even the music industry are all being affected by social media. The internet has completely changed the music industry as we once knew it. Before technology and social media came into play the music scene was a very different place.

Years a go, before Apple Music and Spotify, music consumers had to rely heavily on CD’s, cassettes, records, top charts, newspapers, and the radio to access music. Today this scene is much different. With the power of social media and the internet, literally in the palm of our hands at all times, we can get access to music in the matter of seconds. Digital music downloads replaced buying physical albums, music videos on YouTube replaced music television such as MTV, and social media sites, like Instagram and Twitter, and trending topics replaced the record labels having to create a musician’s fame. Just as the Internet gave us YouTube, digital downloads, and worldwide trending topics, it has also gifted us with the biggest craze in music: streaming.

As music took a shift from a product-based business to a service-based business, no one was really able to create something that would help to support that transition adequately. With streaming and social media, the music industry is loosing its power over artists and musicans. “Social Media platforms have given musicians more control over the distribution of their music and through the use of services. Many artists now have the option to bypass the industry conventions completely”.

In the video above, we can grasp a better understanding of the impact technology has had on the music industry. Lately, the business side of the music industry has been struggling to generate enough revenue due to social media and technology. The internet has made it much easier to acess music at cheaper costs but, made it much more difficult for artists to make a decent amount of money from just sales alone. This problem has led to artist having to make majority of their money by touring and merchandising since record labels and record sales alone are dramatically declining due to the new digital era.

For years, all music was produced by several major record labels including Sony, MCA, Universal, RCA and Warner Bros. These labels controlled not only the market but they controlled how their music was promoted to listeners. For the most part, everyone just bought records at local music stores or called local radio stations asking to hear their favorite songs.

Today, there are fewer major record labels and an abundance of independents, each striving to promote their artists to a plethora of consumers. CD’s and records are still being sold and people rarely purchase them this way, because most of us download music on our phones, apps, or listen for free on YouTube.

With most music being free or almost free to acess, how does any label survive? According to Opus Label owner Jeremy Wineberg, “It often times boils down to how much money you have behind you. The major labels have the money and the marketing machine to get their artists to the marketplace. The independent labels rely heavily on word of mouth via social media outlets”.

Above are a few tips for musicans and artists who are on social media.

The music industry is constantly evolving due to the huge influence of social media and technology. All the strategies that musicians can use to help get their work out there or to stay relevant will keep on changing over and over again.

One huge and important tip for artists and musicians today is to be aware of social media platforms and us them to your advantage. Don’t neglect them because these platforms are very important in the industry today.

In this video, I asked a few students from College of DuPage some questions that help understand where music stands in socety today. These 4 students were all between the ages of 18–21. From most of the answers we can understand that everyone is streaming music and that the number of people buying music, physically or digitally, has dramatically decreased. None of these 4 students could actually name 3 different record labels,which can imply that they are not buying or purchasing full albums or know where artists/muscians are signed too. Which can indicate that record deal and labels don’t control the artist. Social media seems to be the number one place where people find out about new music, find new artists, see musicic advertised, and access music.

The meme above shows how music today differs from a few years back. Now we all access music on our computers, phones, and other smart devices.

In the infographic above, we can see by the statistics that digital music is indeed winning. There are more people subscibers to music streaming services than there are to Netflix. Every year this service keeps growing and growing and changing the industry evermore. This shift is beneficial in many ways for consumers and businesses, but also it can be non beneficial for many artists.

The gif above is something many music streamers can relate too. Especially if you pay for multiple music streaming services. At least the costs are cheap from anywhere as low as $5–$10 a month.

In this episode of Savannah’s Social Media Station I talked with Joy Hamilton, essentially about music and social media. She is a graduate of Colombia College downtown Chicago. She currently works on sets of many TV shows and movies that are being filmed in the Chicagoland area. Although TV production is her main focus, she does make her own music and spends lots of her freetime in the studio writing and recording. We discussed how she use to get her music out into the wolrd and how she feels it has changed today. “Everything is just so different” — Joy

Streaming is the main source of the enormous changes in the music industry. Streaming is killing the music industry and taking over. Although streaming is very effctive in many ways, cheap, quick to acesss, huge variety, it also can be very ineffective especially for the artists themselves. In the video above, it explains how streaming is “shaking up” the music industry and how we have seen these changes happen for the good and for the bad.

Social media has had a huge impact on music. By using social media, musicians have the ability to reach out directly to their fans, which helps to create a closer community with them. With revolutions in digital music buying options and and streaming, fans now have many different ways to consume music in the specific ways they wish.

However, social media has also brought many changes in music that arent so beneficial for musicians. Since artists have to market themselves, they now have to worry not only about the music they are creating, but also how they can sell that music to the fans. It’s not like it use to be when artist just can create good art. Now musicians also need to know how to effectively get people to pay attention to their work. With so many musicians and artist out there this can get tough.

Social media has changed so much overtime, especially within the music industry. It has brought huge improvements in some areas, but not in all. The best way to look at these changes, improvements, or consequences is to embrace the positive aspects of them while really trying to find ways overcome, or deal with, the negative aspects.


Watch the video: Fun In The Sun! Official Music Video The Fun Squad Sings on Kids Fun TV!