On August 1st, 1981, the public gained a whole new way to consume its music. With the debut of MTV, people could now see the music as well as hear it. Soon after that first video aired, adolescents across America shouted the mantra, “I want my MTV!”
What at first felt like a novelty, blossomed into a full arm of music listening and advertising.Beginning in the 80s, power music had to be accompanied by power visuals.
MTV and the first MTV generation changed the way people listen to music. Read on to learn how we’re still feeling the effects of the music video revolution.
Humans and Music
According to recent studies, the human connection to music exists because of the way the brain releases dopamine when we listen. Human beings find music to be a pleasurable experience that reduces stress and evokes strong emotions.
Such is our connection that we’re always looking for new ways to make and consume it. 20th-century inventions like the radio, LP records, cassettes, and compact discs all revolutionized the way we listen to music.
The 21st-century shows no shortage of innovation. MP3s, smartphones, and streaming took 20th-century inventions and pushed them to new heights. Ask your parents or grandparents if they imagined a time where their record collection fit in their pocket?
Yet, the most powerful impacts on the music industry happened with the introduction of the music video. Why? Music changed from a singularly audible experience to an audible and visual experience. To listen to music was to see your music.
Music Became Image Conscious
Ask someone older than you what listening to music on the radio meant in the 1950s, 1960s, and 70s. They’ll tell you that they had no idea what the artists they listened to looked like.
Unless they appeared on national television, new artists remained a mystery until their albums, and accompanying photos appeared on the market. With the invention of the music video, the image became just as important as the music.
Music Video Revolution
Music videos changed the way younger people consumed music. The irrevocable change continues to be felt. A whole generation of new creators influenced by music videos and MTV exists today.
Take the creator of Veggie Tales. In this Phil Vischer interview, he explains how MTV changed the way he thought about television and music.
The three-minute narratives found in music videos showed him, among other things, that he needed to keep his characters simple and visually stimulating.
Power Music for Power People
The power of music can start political revolutions. It can end wars and bring about important social change. Music soothes the soul or angers the blood. For as long as human beings inhabit the earth, music will be a part of the human experience.
While music remains, the music video brought massive change to the way we consume our music. The image became as important as the music, and power music became power music for power people.
Want to read more about how music videos changed our world? Read the rest of our articles.