MTV ratings drop – Is this the end of an era?

Rolling Stone reported that music channel MTV has been facing viewership problems. Its total ratings went down by 5% last year, while the ratings for last summer’s VMAs fell by 18%. So what does that mean exactly?

If someone told me when I was ten years old and anxiously waiting for the next Backstreet Boys clip to drop on my TV set that there would come a time when I would be able to watch any music video I wanted on demand, I would tell them they’re crazy. But you know, the internet came, YouTube was launched and the rest is history.

And I’m not saying I don’t love YouTube because I do and I tend to get addicted to it pretty easily; sometimes, though, I sort of miss those moments of anticipation! I don’t know what it is. Maybe it reminds me of my childhood, but there was something different about watching a music video on TV. It’s like shuffle on your iPod; you don’t control the playlist so the random “choices” may surprise you, for better or for worse.

MTV was the primary music channel back in the ’90s and it was my favourite way to spend my afternoon, either with friends or alone. Like who didn’t want to watch Britney Spears or even Marilyn Manson (!!) talking to Carson Daly on TRL with the fans screaming ‘underneath their feet’! Or watch the clip of their favourite band that was scheduled to drop for its world premiere at 6pm sharp! And that very moment, you knew that every fan like yourself was watching at the same time, probably having the same reaction, somewhere in the world.

Even if I sound like a geeky groupie, I’m sure most of you have felt it. It’s nice that YouTube has made everything so easy, allowing for a more tailored kind of fun, but I cherish those simpler times and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. So if MTV is indeed going downhill, it would be extremely painful to watch it disappear, along with so many other reminders of our innocent youth.

Then again, MTV is not what it once was. There is no TRL and there are barely any videos left… So instead of watching Jersey Shore, maybe I would rather keep the channel alive only in my memory.

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