The Launch & Development Of MTV "Music Television"

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In 1981 the launch of MTV “Music Television” debuted live on national television. With the anticipated launch naturally, they started out with a bang introducing the channel with the 1979 single “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. The song was played as the first music video on MTV to show the takeover of music on live television. With the powerful message of how MTV will be taking over with the “Video.” In 2010 the band The Limousines released “Internet killed the video star,” the band released this song as the growth of social media and internet use became more common in the world. Both songs explore how media changed over time. According to Trevor Horn in an interview in 2004 with Guardian, he had been “fascinated by technology’s dehumanizing effect on society.” When explaining how they came up with “Video Killed the Radio Star.” (Buskin) The release of this song in the late 1970s and becoming more popular in the early 1980s was symbolic for it’s time.

The 1980s were the time where major change was happening. MTV saw the opportunity to use this song as a symbolic way to attract views, and it worked with the songs perfect lyrics of killing the radio. Before MTV introduced music videos, they were not seen as a major asset to a popular song and many people did not care as much. As they started becoming a more likeable and helpful tool to reach more audiences, many artists used videos to gain a larger audience with creative and unique music videos. (Staff) When exploring the lyrics of “Video Killed the Radio Star” By The Buggles you can hear in verse two, “They took the credit for your second symphony. Rewritten by the machine and new technology. And now I understand the problems you can see.” Lyrics proceed to interpret how the “machine” rewrote the song. What pops out about these lyrics is that as the music industry started becoming more and more ostentatious with their artist and the way they present themselves. Less artists would also not create their own lyrics or sounds but, would let the “machine rewrite.”

The sense of them knowing the video will be taking over with the lines “new technology,” adds to the meaning that death to the video was near. Towards the end of the song the lyrics “Put the blame on VTR.” can be heard, and the song is direct with stating the obvious about putting the blame on video tape recorders. The 1980s were a big time for music videos as MTV was boosting the popularity for them, and began filming more videos and playing them live on television. When analyzing the music video for “Video Killed The Radio Star,” the symbolism is shown with a little girl messing with the radio, when the music gets to “Video Killed the Radio Star” the radio then proceeds to explode. This is symbolic with emphasizing the end of the radio by blowing it up. The little girl then is shown to be disappeared and they then show a grown woman in a flashy outfit and the band is shown in a recording studio with video cassettes being destroyed this can be seen as them destroying any other “old” technology. The whole music video is an ode to them creating a music video to keep up with the changing technology. Towards the end of the music video it is the band playing in front of a camera emphasizing them creating a music video. In 2010 the band The Limousines created the song “Internet Killed the Video Star.”

According to the leader singing of the band Eric has stated in an interview, “As kind of a sequel to The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star.” He also states that the song is about, “how style moves in cycles, fads come and go,” (Lonnie). The lyrics in “Internet Killed the Video Star” are similar to The Buggles “Video Killed The Radio Star” the difference between the two songs would be the decade they were in, both released during the rise of different types of technology by 2010 more of the internet was being used it was becoming a common thing. The “Internet” was originally created in 1983, although the internet and Social media sites were becoming a normal thing in the early 2000’s with sites like youtube, myspace, and facebook. Myspace was a major asset during the early 2000’s more so than other online media sites, to bands of all types. As more people began using the online website they noticed an increase users engaging with the bands. It brought up more interest with many types of music not just the mainstream and popular bands. The lyrics in “Internet Killed The Video Star” state that, “the kids are disco dancing. They're tired of rock and roll. I try to tell them "hey that drum machine ain't got no soul". But they don't want to listen no.” Younger generations are more opposed to listening to more up beat music where you can dance rather than rock and roll. “We can rewind now we've gone too far Internet killed the video star” This is where the song begins the continuation of “Video Killed The Radio Star” they can’t rewind time and go back to when the “Video” star was still alive. Where the internet was not a daily and common thing. Before the internet people got their music by buying an album or vinyl in stores, Not streaming them or getting the content from an illegal streaming applications.

When listening to song “Internet Killed The Video Star” you can hear the resemblance to The Buggles single at one minute and twelve seconds when the chorus begins. They both talk about how each piece of technology has killed each other. According to an MTV insider, younger viewers tend to prefer media; on the computer or their mobile rather than cable television also stating that “much of its audience barely remembers, “what life was like before the mobile revolution.” This is important to the death of the video because not long after the premiere of “MTV.” (Zara 2015) They began showing less music videos and started showing more reality television and originals by the television broadcaster by the late 1980s and early 1990s. More artists began using internet media to broadcast their content, by the end of the 90s online media sharing became a well know thing and many people began receiving content online.

An article talking about the “rise of the internet video” talks about how “internet killed the video star.” The ratings for music videos began to plummet on network television. Both songs have an important point, they both talk about the deaths of media in the world and how fast people change with it. Either it’s the death of the way people recorded and viewed their music videos in the 1980s or how the internet took over in the 2010s with not only the impact of how people view their music preferences or how social media took over the world with the use of internet. In 2000 the average percentage of adult internet users in America was percent, in 2018 over eighty-nine percent of American adults use the internet. All age groups use the internet daily over fifty percent of each age group used the internet daily (“Internet”). This shows that people who were alive to see the death of the video star also contributed to the internet killing the video star.

Works Cited

Andrews, Evan. “Who Invented the Internet?”, A&E Television Networks, 18 Dec. 2013,

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Buskin, Richard. “The Buggles 'Video Killed The Radio Star'.” The Buggles 'Video Killed The Radio Star', Dec. 2011,

Hendricks, Drew. “Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now.” Small Business Trends, Small Business Trends, 6 May 2013,

The Limousines. “Internet Killed The Video Star.” Get Sharp, The Orchard Music, 2011. Spotify

“Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 5 Feb. 2018,

Lonnie. “MUSIC Interview: The Limousines Discuss 'Internet Killed The Video Star'.” MUSIC Interview: The Limousines Discuss 'Internet Killed The Video Star', Shock Ya!, 23 Nov. 2011,

Soundcheck, WNYC. “The Fall Of 'TRL' And The Rise Of Internet Video.” Music Articles IN-DEPTH STORIES FROM NPR MUSIC STAFF AND RADIO PROGRAMS, WNYC, 12 Nov. 2008,

Staff, “MTV Launches.”, A&E Television Networks, 2009,

The Buggles. “Video Killed The Radio Star”, The Age Of Plastic,The Island Def Jam Music Group,1980. Spotify, Vimeo, Amir Abedin, 2014,

Zara, Christopher. “MTV Ratings Decline Raises Relevance Questions As Young People Cut Cable Cord For Devices.” International Business Times, 14 Apr. 2015,

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