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MTV2: New Dog, Old Tricks?

On February 6, amidst all of the Superbowl bruhaha (will Paul McCartney show any skin? Will the “Daddy” ad run or not? How can I get my very own Pepsi truck? How?) MTV relaunched MTV2.

For those that might not remember, MTV2 was originally created in 1996 (then simply branded as M2) to refill the music video void that MTV itself created with the focus of the network going from “all music, all the time” in 1981 to “nary a video to be found” by the mid-1990s. With shows like Real World and Jackass and Pimp My Ride occupying most of MTV’s airwaves, M2’s launch seemed to be a happy throwback to MTV’s all music roots. That’s changing. I think.

“We used to be simply a music complement to MTV. Now we’re a real business,” said David Cohn, general manager of MTV2. “We had to change and evolve.”

But then I read this:

“What MTV2 is, while a departure from MTV, is really harkening back to the early days of MTV,” says Tina Exarhos, executive vice president of marketing.

And then this:
CNN says this of the reinvigorated network: “this is not your father’s MTV…or maybe it is.”

So I am not quite sure what this new little network is up to. Interestingly enough, it is the new MTV2 logo—a dog with two heads—that is at the center of the new MTV2. The rest of the “revamped” network will maintain most of its current music programming, coupled with psychedelic graphics and “constant injections of randomness.” However the new demographic focus of the sister (brother?) network will be focused on 12-24 year-old guys and to programming focused almost exclusively on hip-hop and youth-oriented rock genres like emo and punk-pop — an initiative MTV2 is billing as its “two-headed dog” strategy. Get the new logo, now?

The logo is also the centerpiece of the new networks revamped website and just launched advertising. According to Jeffrey Keyton, the design guru for all things MTV, the logo was created by Stacy Drummond of Look Here Inc. I think the logo is fantastic: just a bit off center, a visual pun and utterly unique.

If you are interested in seeing any rejected (but also great) logos for MTV2 designed by Number Seventeen, you can either check out the back page of the March/April issue of Step magazine or you can see it here [PDF].

According to Billboard’s Radio Monitor, critics see the new direction as evidence that MTV Networks is further backing away from music videos, and that even the formats still supported by the channel will be narrowly defined and marginalized in much the same way pop music is on the flagship MTV.

For their part, MTV executives are unapologetic. “The days of MTV2 of being the Jewel-to-Tool station are over,” says Tom Calderone, executive VP of music and talent programming for MTV/MTV2/MTVU. “The reason is simple: No one liked it. If you don’t stand for anything and you don’t have people who are deeply in love with you, you don’t sell records, and nobody cares.”

And he adds this from CNN: “We want Green Day to be a kind of house band for MTV2, the way people feel about MTV being the Eminem Network.” Calderone points out that while the branding for MTV2 will be new, the programming will stay much the same. In fact, MTV2 already has been focusing its music programming largely on rock and hip-hop, he says. “Our music-video hours have increased by double-digit percentages because we have been providing since the summertime of last year a very focused, hit-driven rock and hip-hop music channel,” he says.

So far, Viacom is happy with the reaction and the results. Ratings are up and people are talking, writing and blogging about the new look and new(ish) lineup. But they need to be careful: Business 2.0 recently reported a mole citing on the movie news website MovieWeb. Apparently “MarlonB1212” was trying to elicit feedback about the new logo. He was instantly outted and reprimanded by Georgie Girl: Dude it is so obvious you work for a viral marketing company it’s painful….People, Marlon is a MOLE. He is part of a big paid company to come on and get you to see advertising, but here the “advertising” is wormed into his postings. So let me guess this post won’t go intot he packet you submit to eh client ([email protected] in this case I’d guess) to show how successful you were at getting the teen graphic (sic) interested. Ciao liar!

Hmmm…maybe MarlonB1212 should have posted here?

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ENTRY DETAILS
ARCHIVE ID 2224 FILED UNDER Critique
PUBLISHED ON Feb.22.2005 BY debbie millman
WITH COMMENTS
Comments
Armin’s comment is:

Well…

This is what our parents (those of us in the 25-35 demographic) must have felt like when they saw us watching MTV. I personally feel a huge disconnect with the whole look of MTV2. That's good. There is a very overt sense of immaturity, rebellion and youthful irresponsibility to all the graphics on the site. That's good too. The dog pooping out the menu seems like an apt replacement for giving you the finger. Even that's good.

The idea of the logo… it's good, it's an interesting allusion to multiple personality disorder, allowing MTV2 to wade their toes in any murky water they want.

The execution of the logo… eh. It's cute. And I'm not sure if that's good. I found it a bit gimmicky. I wonder if —besides the four it already has — it will have enough legs to last more than 3-5 years.

On Feb.22.2005 at 04:04 PM
Feluxe ’s comment is:

I think the new mark is pretty great, however the East Village marketing blitz (huge painted mural next door to Max Fish) ruins it for me.

The mark should/would have been put to better use via TV, where MtV2 lives. I can see a thematic two headed campaign as more enlightening (ok, wrong word). MTV and VH1 are the double dogged nightmare.

Guru Jeff Keyton at MTV recently ripped Victore off with wild-eyed, teen-age abandon (not that anyone in his demo would care... but I do)

On Feb.22.2005 at 05:12 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

yeesh! the idea of a "new" mtv channel makes me want to go read a book. i don't care how cute and clever the logo is.

"ever get the feeling you been cheated?"

- johnny rotten (his final comment at the final sex pistols performance.)

On Feb.22.2005 at 06:24 PM
Mitch’s comment is:

MTV2: look! newly packaged lowest-common-denominator marketing-hyped media shit with a new logo!

MTV: look! the same 7 'reality' shows mixed in with a daily half hour of Ashlee Simpson and rap videos! and the same logo!

i get my music videos from Sputnik7 or Yahoo! Music when i need them. MTV is the biggest brainsuck in the known universe - especially now that their motions graphics work (which in the past a lot of was quite good) has become rather passé and just not that interesting anymore.

On Feb.22.2005 at 06:45 PM
lcs’s comment is:

in the beginning, MTV was fantastic. i remember the first music video i ever saw: aerosmith's "janie's got a gun." never, ever forgot it.

i've never been so unimpressed by where MTV's gone, and how it hijacked pop culture to come down with it. cute logo, but who cares? MTV's only music is on its slow, ineffectual website that can't handle a mac.

On Feb.22.2005 at 07:58 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> cute logo, but who cares?

Just want to clarify, since my "cute" comment seems to have not been delivered with the correct amount of sarcasm. I used "cute" as in yeah, it's nice, kinda cool, catchy, maybe funny, but it will really just make me smile once.

I could have also used nice.

On Feb.22.2005 at 08:56 PM
lcs’s comment is:

i think i caught what you meant... but i mean cute in a demeaning, non-lasting, i kind of like it now but i'll be sick of it tomorrow way.

On Feb.22.2005 at 09:49 PM
Derrick Schultz’s comment is:

I am supposedly their demographic and I'm reconsidering paying for the additional cable channels that MTV2 is included on after seeing this new stuff. I thought the old identity was simple and the show intros were way more interesting than a dog pooping a rectangle and farting cubes...thats kind of disgusting in fact.

And why is the animation for the dog so poor? It would seem like this in this day and age a designer would actually think about animating a logo—especially for MTV. The dog waddles and gets bigger, wags its tale and then does its business...none of which is done with much attention.

“We want Green Day to be a kind of house band for MTV2, the way people feel about MTV being the Eminem Network.”

Thats kind of a scary thought. Green Day has been around since I was 8 or 9 and it was a fluke that their album sold so much this year. That, and Eminem is easily overshadowed by 50 Cent or Kanye West on the original MTV these days.

On Feb.22.2005 at 09:58 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> And why is the animation for the dog so poor?

It's part of the whole "loser" aesthetic. (Here, I don't mean loser so denigrating as it sounds, but there is this whole 21st century grunge [sorry Art] look… the Do-it-yourself-I-don't-care-how-it-looks-out-of-bed-tossled-greasy-hair look. In other words, Too cool for school). Anyway, this low-end, lo-fi execution seems to be perfectly in synch with MTV2's strategy and target audience. The crude animation is no different than the picture of the guy with the gum stuck on his chest hair. (Hit refresh a few times on the site if you haven't seen him).

On Feb.22.2005 at 10:23 PM
Armin’s comment is:

In lieu of digging a deeper hole through possibly upseting generalizations, I would add a slash-hipster to loser: loser/hipster aesthetic.

On Feb.22.2005 at 10:27 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

you mean like beck?

(joke)

On Feb.22.2005 at 10:29 PM
Armin’s comment is:

so why don’t you kill me?

Gee, thanks Debbie, now I'm going to bed with that damn song in my head.

On Feb.22.2005 at 10:38 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

so, it seems "cool" has been commoditized (sp?) to the point where uncool has become so cool that it's not cool to the point of being cool to be uncool?

man, it just makes me want to BUY BUY BUY!!!!

exactly when did we stop being called 'citizens in this country and began being called 'consumers'?

On Feb.22.2005 at 11:56 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> exactly when did we stop being called 'citizens in this country and began being called 'consumers'?

Some Americans would say January 1934, when FDR signed the Gold Reserve Act; declaring that gold coins were no longer legal tender. Others would say the effect is presaged in the Communist Manifesto: "All that is solid melts into thin air".

On Feb.23.2005 at 12:16 AM
RavenOne’s comment is:

I vaguely remember the old MTV, and I'm on the edge of the MTV2 demigraphic. However, I just don't like it. Probably has to do with my mom tellling me it was bad, when I was little...

On Feb.23.2005 at 12:52 AM
ross’s comment is:

MTV's sole purpose is to influence sales. That's it. To satisfy the needs of the Record Companies, and ensure that the artist in which they have invested pays off. That's all it is. No different than any other client or company in America. If the 2-headed dog logo doesn't work, they'll morph it into something that does. As soon as Ashlee Simpson wears off, they'll find someone else to take her place, and they'll sell her too. And if they can't Pimp My Ride, they'll "Pimp" something else.

But it's cultural presence is the real problem. Not any competitors to come against the Music Industry Tool-of-Cool. And what does the hip-hop industry visual portray? Hot, easy women. Guys with excessive amounts of money and "nice" cars. And rebellion. What teenager doesn't want to watch that? I'm almost 30 - an oldman in MTVs view. I don't watch music videos. And I don't have money to burn on hyped albums or hip clothes - therefore I don't expect their new visual identity to appeal to me. Frankly, if it did - I'd be worried.

The 2headed dog logo is fine. Not stellar. But fine. And I would gladly take a chunk of money from a client for creating that logo. Don't take it out on the designer though. She just did what she got paid to do.

On Feb.23.2005 at 02:36 AM
davek’s comment is:

I'll tell you what, I saw this

While researching the college market at blender.com, i came across the 2headed dog. It was hugely advertised as the 2headed dog. I was intrigued. The site was great. No advertising. Crazy short videos. Freestyle raps. Wacky 2headed downloads. I sent it to a bunch of friends at work. I was digging it, it was funny and strange. the un-brandedness was refreshing. I thought to myself, who is funding this? Blender? Everything is clear now.

http://www.the2headeddog.com/

On Feb.23.2005 at 08:56 AM
davek’s comment is:

I'll tell you what, I saw this

While researching the college market at blender.com, I came across the 2headed dog. It was hugely advertised as the 2headed dog. I was intrigued. The site was great. No advertising. Crazy short videos. Freestyle raps. Wacky 2headed downloads. I sent it to a bunch of friends at work. I was digging it, it was funny and strange. the un-brandedness was refreshing. I thought to myself, who is funding this? Blender? Everything is clear now.

the2headedog

On Feb.23.2005 at 08:58 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> The site was great. No advertising.

Unlike now, with the most unsubtle advertising by EA Sports? I had never seen such prominent, and so integrated, advertising in a web site. Every time you click on anything you get an EA interlude… definitely new ground in ad placement.

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:01 AM
Todd Dominey’s comment is:

in the beginning, MTV was fantastic. i remember the first music video i ever saw: aerosmith's "janie's got a gun." never, ever forgot it.

I felt about 50 years old after reading that. I can remember the day MTV launched, and hanging out with my 5th grade classmates discussing it. A few thought it was stupid ("Who wants to watch music?"), others thought it was incredible, but the majority was indifferent. It was hardly the watershed moment in pop culture MTV so obnoxiously pushes day and night. MTV was public access at best, and only a handful of people cared.

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:05 AM
Sam’s comment is:

so, it seems "cool" has been commoditized (sp?) to the point where uncool has become so cool that it's not cool to the point of being cool to be uncool?

Art, c'mon--get with the program. It's not cool to be not uncool while trying to be cool in a cool-like way. Nor is it uncool to be uncool. It is also uncool to be uncool-like, but only if you are actually trying to be cool. Trying to be supercool and/or ubercool are both uncool in a very late-2002 way. It's cool to be fit, but only if you're English. So that leaves us with: nothing is cool. Unless you're from Iceland, in which case you're cool--but only 3 months out of the year.

On Feb.23.2005 at 10:31 AM
art chantry’s comment is:

maybe yer right.

i've always hated cool. if there has been a theme running thruogh my work it's anti-cool. i've always rebelled at elitist crap. so, i try to blow a hole in it. a lot of other folks have decided i was cool (i've even been called a hero and a man of great integrity). but the truth is hate elitism. i hate cool.

pretty cool, eh?

On Feb.23.2005 at 11:14 AM
Holster’s comment is:

MTV started off providing programming that responded to what was popular and trendy at the time. Then they got to a point where they were no longer responding to those trends, but were in fact creating them. With that kind of power comes a lot of freedom, and choices that need to be made regarding the responsibility they have to their viewers. Should they be creating an MTV2 that simply responds to their audience, or should they create something that can change and influence that audience given that they already have their attention.

On Feb.23.2005 at 12:09 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

i think that is where the problems starts with organizations like mtv. the truth is that their audience did and DOES create them. when they decide that they can create and control their audience, they automatically fail. sometimes it takes time, but they fail. corporations and businesses cannot create culture, they can only reflect it. our shared experience creates culture, not the dictums of a marketing elite. the very idea of being fed manufactured culture is so completely self-defeating that it's laughable.

On Feb.23.2005 at 12:37 PM
Holster’s comment is:

MTV's relationship with pop culture is atleast symbiotic. Their failure has been avoided by them finding more things to feed off. Originally it was just music, but now they have so many more things to leech onto.

On Feb.23.2005 at 01:11 PM
d.a.’s comment is:

corporations and businesses cannot create culture, they can only reflect it.

Is this true in MTV's case?

To satisfy the needs of the Record Companies, and ensure that the artist in which they have invested pays off.

The pop artists that kids buy in to, and vote for on TRL are totally dictated by MTV. If you notice on TRL, they give you three choices of who will be on the countdown in the future, so you can only vote for those artists they submit. Ashlee Simpson isn't popular because she's a good musician, it's solely because of MTV. The same goes for her older sister, Jessica Simpson - who is only popular for the same reasons. But now she's acting in movies and coming out with a line of cosmetics, while Ashlee is on SNL. That's one instance, MTV has a hand in the direction of pop culture whether we like it or not - and I hate it.

On Feb.23.2005 at 01:31 PM
kleid’s comment is:

I never lived in a populated enough to get mtv2, barely enough for mtv...

But when mtv2 was relatively new, I remember watching it at my friend's house. When Radiohead's Kid A (I believe) came out, they played the whole album with video on a speaker (or something). Live.

This great new thing. I was jealous.

When I finally came back to MTV2 years later, I couldn't tell the difference between its older brother.

Maybe it wasn't effective, didn't make money. And I agree that a company set to make money should do just that. (original mtv...were they thinking about money? or were they in love with music? Today, Viacom, a music lover? no.)

But thanks to the now-homogenized business-model driven mtv and if you'd like to go so far, Clear Channel. I think the new mtv and the new mtv2 are exactly what popular culture wants. They want their television stations to be rebellious and graffiti-laden. But they want to be sold to. They want to buy.

On Feb.23.2005 at 01:37 PM
Scott’s comment is:

They also changed the video credits block as part of the redesign. Now it's centered in the middle of the screen with much larger text. It looks like crap, and they feel the need to use one of the lines for both the artist and the track name, when those are the two most important bits of data.

On Feb.23.2005 at 01:41 PM
ginny’s comment is:

I've had MTV2 for years...

Is this just a new marketing launch? It seems that some think it's a "new" channel?

I have it, and NEVER watch it. Maybe because I don't even know what channel it's on with my cable. I guess I could find out, if I really cared.

I like the two-headed dog logo. Although I'm not blown away by it. I agree with armin, it's cute. (read anything into that word that you like...)

Personally, I like the graphics I see on VH1 better. That graphic describing the world AIDS crisis is brilliant (in my opinion). But I guess I'm VH1's demographic...now what time is the Surreal life on? Where's my remote?

On Feb.23.2005 at 02:15 PM
Steven’s comment is:

MTV lost its cool a couple of decades ago. When it first came out, it was really creative and showed a lot of innovative use of video and was a compelling medium for bands to express themselves. But that ended a long time ago.

Everything since then has been shit and continues to be shit. Its a corporate placebo counter-offensive for true underground, alternative culture. MTV represents a lot of what I don't like about branding and its manipulative, exploitive nature to manufacture and package culture.

I think the new mtv and the new mtv2 are exactly what popular culture wants. They want their television stations to be rebellious and graffiti-laden. But they want to be sold to. They want to buy.

Sad, but true. It's all about having a veneer of independence and self-fulfillment, while still being a good boy/girl and sucking the teat of consumerism.

At least we still have college radio stations and internet radio/culture sites.

Oh... The dog logo is alright for what it is.

On Feb.23.2005 at 03:56 PM
BlueStreak’s comment is:

"The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason."

Hunter S. Thompson —1988

On Feb.23.2005 at 05:27 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Yeah, well I hate MTV more than ALL of you, and I think the two-headed dog is more cute, nice & okay than any of you ever could.

Now I'm going back deep underground to keep something real or whatever.

On Feb.23.2005 at 05:44 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

MTV2's 2headed dog: I must have been living in a swamp cave because I hadn't seen this logo people keep talking about here. (I just looked.). Besides, I stopped watching videos long time ago, so I have no interest in MTV or that mediocre music at all. But then again I don't own ipods or a cell phone so what do I know...

I think I hate these trendy figurative sillouettes and stick men and all that talentless crap that passes for what used to be creativity. It's like a plague of bad graphics. Give that dog a double-barrel shotgun blast to the heads. And one for old Hunter Thompson as a goodbye present. Shhhhsh!

On Feb.23.2005 at 06:33 PM
Steven’s comment is:

I guess Jeff is now hipper than the rest of us.

On Feb.23.2005 at 06:34 PM
davek’s comment is:

I had never seen such prominent, and so integrated, advertising in a web site.

Have you seen this site by Tylenol? Here's an article from the Chicago Reader about the site.

art, you're more kick-ass!!

On Feb.23.2005 at 06:44 PM
davek’s comment is:

I had never seen such prominent, and so integrated, advertising in a web site.

Have you seen this site by Tylenol? Here's an article from the Chicago Reader about it. I learnt the youngins got real good bullshit detectors.

art, you're more kick-ass!!

On Feb.23.2005 at 06:47 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

how dare you!

On Feb.23.2005 at 07:20 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

I guess Jeff is now hipper than the rest of us.

Painfully so.

I may have irreparably damaged my hipster status by the above admission (and even more so by this one).

Unless, of course I am being ironic, in which case I can get away with everything without fear of damage to anything

On Feb.23.2005 at 07:36 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> Have you seen this site by Tylenol? Here's an article from the Chicago Reader about it.

That's quite interesting, but another type of advertising altogether. On MTV2's site, the ads are clearly for EA and they are fully integrated into the navigation of the site. Weird.

***

I just picked up STEP as Debbie suggested to check out No. 17's proposed logos*… good work but off target in comparison to the new mark, asumming the new mark is what the doctor ordered.

* The stuff for VH1 though… and the MTV2 logo that looked like VH1… C-

On Feb.23.2005 at 08:37 PM
Feluxe ’s comment is:

can any one scan that page?

i hate buying mor design mags than neccessary.

besides, debs links failed...

preeshy

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:03 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Felix--Emily sent me a pdf, I will ask Armin to post it. Give me a few minutes...and sorry for the bad link.

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:13 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

oh! one more thing--

this in from Emily about the MTV2 logos Number Seventeen designed:

"one important thing to note is that we did these logos for the FIRST MTV2 logo. NOT the new one. (they wouldn't make sense now as a redesign)"

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:21 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Better than a scan…

A PDF of it via Debbie, via Emily Oberman, with a note from the latter:

"One important thing to note is that we did these logos for the FIRST MTV2 logo. NOT the new one. (they wouldn't make sense now as a redesign)"

Which clears up two of my comments…

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:24 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Oops, little redundancy there between Debbie and me…

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:27 PM
BlueStreak’s comment is:

Speaking of logos and Viacom...

Logo Online

for you.

for now.

for ever.

On Feb.23.2005 at 09:33 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Jeff, you could also be ironically hip about being unhip. And that nifty small text? Definitely hip.

On Feb.24.2005 at 03:10 AM
Dino’s comment is:

Perhaps the better choice for the MTV2 icon would have been Triumph

Insult Comic Dog.

Hot!

On Feb.24.2005 at 07:20 AM
Emily’s comment is:

first of all thanks for posting the pdf AND explaining the logos were for the first time around (when we did the piece for Step we didn't know about the new logo or we would have referenced it in our explanation.)

in case you were wondering, the original brief was to make a logo that let you know that it was going to be kind of like what MTV was always supposed to be in the first place. it had to be strongly branded as MTV while expressing a kind of humor and irreverence and "rock and roll" spirit that MTV originally had. this is why we stuck to riffing off the original logo. ultimately they did it in house and it was the MTV logo with a vertical line and a 2 next to it. go figure.

On Feb.24.2005 at 08:46 AM
art chantry’s comment is:

i think i would have to argue that mtv NEVER had that "rock and roll" spirit - EVER. the base assumption for the new logo is therefore deeply flawed. ergo: the logo is equally deeply flawed. does this makes sense?

fortune cookie wisdom: "if a thousand voices say a stupid thing, it's still a stupid thing.:

On Feb.24.2005 at 10:35 AM
Derrick Schultz’s comment is:

Maybe Dan Hall's Word It for February would work better for the new logo. switch out the copyright symbol for the mtv logo and youve got it.

On Feb.24.2005 at 10:43 AM
emily’s comment is:

Art, that is exactly why I put "rock and roll" in quotes in my post. I do think our logos would have been an appropriate evolution for MTV2 back then. and even though they didn't pick them and we had a lot of fun doing them.

and I totally agree with you fortune cookie.

On Feb.24.2005 at 11:04 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

>i think i would have to argue that mtv NEVER had that "rock and roll" spirit - EVER. the base assumption for the new logo is therefore deeply flawed. ergo: the logo is equally deeply flawed. does this makes sense?

art: yes, it makes sense, but i don't agree. I was in college when MTV was launched. at the time, MTV seemed a bizarre thing--and one that had a lot of skepticism attached to it, in terms of whether or not it could sustain any success. I think that when MTV first started it had a wonderful renegade spirit--even a bit subversive (especially in the wee hours of the morning, when you got to see great old "videos" of real innovators like Nina Hagen and Flipper).

It is hard to say what happened next--a sort of chicken/egg question--as the music business morphed and changed and became much more plastic, so did MTV. did one lead the other, or was it mutually exclusive?

On Feb.24.2005 at 11:07 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> It is hard to say what happened next--a sort of chicken/egg question--as the music business morphed and changed and became much more plastic, so did MTV. did one lead the other, or was it mutually exclusive?

Aw Debbie, that's too easy!

What happened is MTV started to make money. Once you do that, the stakes are no longer low and a company starts to feel the need to protect their market, create tighter oversight, run things through tougher approval hurdles, etc.

Therefore, my one sentence theory on why the music industry is dying: the stakes are too high.

On Feb.24.2005 at 11:23 AM
art chantry’s comment is:

the stakes have become much lower. i predict that with the new distribution system established by the net that in the next year or two, at least one of the huge major record companies will bankrupt. they have nothing to offer anyone anymore without their monopoly on distribution.

as for mtv, it was never a new magic form (especially if your first intro to "rock and roll" was college). the REAL rock wolrd scoffed and laughed at it then and still does now. the music of the real wortld has almost nothing to do with what mtv EVER presented in their canned atrifical fashion. the idea that they can simply start anew and win over - what? today's youth dollar? what? i don't know what they think they are going to "profit" from.

so, my opinion is just that - another opinion. but, it's one backed by 50 years of observation and experience. mtv2 is an amateur attempt at marketing cool when cool can't sell anthing to anyone anymore.

On Feb.24.2005 at 11:38 AM
graham’s comment is:

things are going to start happening really quickly wih the net. definitely within 18 months/2 years.

live shows, studio music, videos, text, images, play-it's all coming, sooner than most expect: just in time as far as i can see.

hopefully it will all make mtv and its ilk redundant.

On Feb.24.2005 at 12:01 PM
Jason T.’s comment is:

MTV2 “Everything that's old is new again.”

MTV is as much a barometer of popular culture as People Weekly or Teen Bop. It makes the hot ones hotter, and elevates the rebels to the culture of cool. In the end, when there's nothing revolutionary about these people, and the public has tired of them, another body gets attention.

However, I've always enjoyed surfing through MTV's sites. Their Euro-station site had some great bells and whistles at one time. Overall, the MTV online presence is no different than their cable television programming. Sure, they used to get some clicks from me before I surfed onto the next area in boredom. But since MTV pioneered the let's be everything to everyone ideal, I've given up.

If memory serves me correctly, most television is that way. So I'm proud to say that I cancelled cable 10 years ago, and now spend my nights reading. It's all mind wash, and even the news isn't really news—it's about happenings.

What book do you have on your bedside table, Art?

On Feb.24.2005 at 12:06 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Art, I use the "Wild Man Fischer" analogy when describing the woes of the music industry. I'm still amazed how a large (for that time) record company could even consider releasing a double album of an insane street performer; a rare event today — no matter what you think of Jessica Simpson's intellectual abilities. You kind of get the impression that modest album sales were enough to warrant further releases. While today, if Jewel only sells 5 million copies of her newest record; she's considered an artist with career trouble. That's what I mean by the stakes being too high.

Back in the day there was more passion behind decisions, and music executives at least loved music — definitely not the case in someone like Sony's Andrew Lack. The gossip pages in New York reported how he moved several Sony executives' offices away from his because they used their stereos. Scandal!

On Feb.24.2005 at 12:07 PM
graham’s comment is:

Jason T. *But since MTV pioneered the let's be everything to everyone ideal, I've given up.*

as far as it goes, MTV is more like 'let us choose what we want to be seen/heard*-and it's a circle. how many times have i heard 'yes but will they show it on MTV?* and so the things we see and hear are made with that in mind and round it goes.

all thanks for people like john peel (bless and love him forever and peace).

On Feb.24.2005 at 12:17 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

i love the wildman fischer analogy. the problem with it, though, is that over the last ten years, virtually every crazy geeky streetside performer HAS been recorded and released - many of them on "major" labels! so, the whole mining thing by the small labels and reissues labels have made everything imginable again available to those who know how to use the net. scary. even the big monster bands (pearl jam, stones, u2) are restrictinbg some of their releases to internet distribution ONLY (through their private imprints) the big major labels are starting to panic i'll bet. mtv, too. perhaps mtv2 is a panic move?

jason -

i'm a voracious reader. right now, though, i'm reading junk. i'm actually working my way through the entire output of dean koontz. not bad, not good. but i love to read. i'll have the whole thing finished in a month. then i'm going to re-read conan doyle's sherlock holmes stuff and then i'm going to re-read john keel's books. maybe i'll throw in a couple of odd things i pick up in the meantime. this is for the next month. does that surprise you?

On Feb.24.2005 at 02:35 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Art, you're off on a tangent. My point is in answer to Debbie Millman's question about how "as the music business morphed and changed and became much more plastic, so did MTV. did one lead the other, or was it mutually exclusive? I'm not here to debate the values of Wesley Willis vs. the GTO's vs. Moondog.

The issue of larger labels re-distributing smaller label releases strikes me as more about A+R tactics than the general malaise of the industry. Those kind of situations appear in cycles with the rise of music styles —like Grunge (yes, I know you hate that word); or the folk music scare of the 1960's; or the Irish music panic of the 1980's; or even the disco delirium of the 1970's. Genres appear in small markets, gain buzz, go big, crap out, then go back to small markets. Only now, the internet allows better access; but not better focus. That is still the domain of mass media.

As to your prediction that at least one of the major labels will go bankrupt; I wouldn't put too much money on that. Companies have merged and combined to the point where they have incredibly deep, and valuable, back catalogs. If anything, I could see further merging until we end up with SonyWEAgram...

...which will eventually be called Microsoft.

On Feb.24.2005 at 03:05 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Art

the stakes have become much lower. i predict that with the new distribution system established by the net that in the next year or two, at least one of the huge major record companies will bankrupt. they have nothing to offer anyone anymore without their monopoly on distribution.

Graham

things are going to start happening really quickly wih the net. definitely within 18 months/2 years.

live shows, studio music, videos, text, images, play-it's all coming, sooner than most expect: just in time as far as i can see.

hopefully it will all make mtv and its ilk redundant.

For examples of why the music recording industry is going to be screwed, I humbly offer two sites that I love. They' re not the best designed sites, mind you; but what they have to offer is truly great.

Independent Underground Music Archive (IUMA)

CD Baby

With these sites, you can discover and learn about bands/musicians in a really thorough manner. Read bios and lyrics, listen to the music, watch videos, log onto their sites, find out where they are playing live, and send them an e-mail... Then buy the CD(s). What I also really like about these 2 sites is that they promote musicians who are self-published or not on major labels. It completely takes out the need for big business distribution and promotion. I'm sure these sites scare the shit out of the music industry. Ironically, as the industry is busy obsessing about online file sharing and turning off customers, these sites continue to grow in popularity, effectively undermining the recording industry's main reason for existence.

As someone with and ENDLESS lust for cool new music, (and a humungus record/CD collection), I can't recommend these sites enough. One note of caution though, if you get into checking out their various offerings, you can easily burn up hours of time.

On Feb.24.2005 at 03:33 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Add to the aforementioned the fact that it has become quite affordable to record and produce a professional, high-quality audio recording from a spare bedroom or garage, thanks to ProTools and Reason software (amongst others), and you can see why the big corporations are scared. The cat's out of the bag.

On Feb.24.2005 at 03:59 PM
graham’s comment is:

mark/debbie, with this:"as the music business morphed and changed and became much more plastic, so did MTV. did one lead the other, or was it mutually exclusive?"

it didn't. become plastic, that is-if by that it's meant more flexible, open, adaptable. unending reissues and repackages and remasters, coupled with the reactionary nature of mtv equals a starving animal eating itself. two headed dog indeed. record business becomes back catalogue library run by bankers/accountants (and a few ex-record shop people who are still 'passionate'.).

it's all intertwined(what isn't?) but the new music and expressions and iterations of it will not come filtered through what we currently call the music business. it only takes a few rocks to start an avalanche. it's really coming and has nothing to with genre or small labels or anything like it.

mark: "Only now, the internet allows better access; but not better focus. That is still the domain of mass media."

access is everything. the mass media can remain 'focussed' while everyone else connects.

and (in terms of bankruptcy)

"Companies have merged . . ."

not all mergers happen because everyone is well off and hunky dory.

On Feb.24.2005 at 04:12 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> access is everything. the mass media can remain 'focussed' while everyone else connects.

Focus, as in what drives large groups of people.

In the new economy where individual artists create, manufacture and distribute their own product; a few thousand is considered good sales. Small pickings for a multi-national mass media concern with 'synergy', like AOLTimeWarner.

> not all mergers happen because everyone is well off and hunky dory.

Nope, never said that things weren't all sunshine and smiles in Big Record Company-land. Only trying to parse the reasons why.

But don't forget, those songs are worth something to someone — whether it be as a commercial soundtrack, a ring tone or as an electronically implanted jingle which keeps you Soma-happy.

On Feb.24.2005 at 04:43 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

m. kingsley -

well, i'm not so sure it was a tangent. if you've been up on the last 15-20 years of music issued on independent labels, you'd realize that the only thing holding back the obscure and peculiar performers (as well as anybody else not on a major record label) was distribution. making the records themselves has gotten easier and easier and cheaper and cheaper. it's at a point now that virtually anyone can put out a fully packaged cd of excellent fidelity and overall quality - created in their bedroom!

now that a new and very powerful form of distribution has suddenly erupted (in spite of the corporate attempts to control and dominate) the cat really IS out of the bag. what on earth does a major have to offer anybody - even a wild man fischer? royalties? make me laugh.

so, my point is that the entirety of coprorate control and industry invention of our musical tatses in america has been dramatically eroding for over two decades. now that the tchnology and logistics of the music industry has slipped into the hands of everyone, things like mtv2 become even more anachronistic. who is going to watch? further who will buy the product? who will advertise? sure, for a while it wmay seem like situation normal, but it will quickly deteriorate into snafu.

so, my point stands. mtv is over as even the remotest arbiter of musical taste and marketing prowess. kaput.

corporate "cute" and "edgy" logos notwithstanding.

On Feb.24.2005 at 05:24 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Art, ultimately we agree, kinda — even if we disagree on the efficacy of distribution over the "internets". There's a difference between the existence of an alternative distribution channel and getting people to buy: advertising, television, cross-marketing, publicity, etc.

Yes, the Music Industry (capital 'M', capital 'I') is in retreat. But Media isn't. In fact one could argue Media is growing and finding new ways of cross-branding. Jennifer Lopez is a singer, dancer, actress, and now a clothing designer. Whether she's a good singer or appeals to your hipster taste is irrelevant. What matters is the J-Lo brand and delivering people to that brand — a concept brilliantly conveyed by artist Richard Serra, http://www.vdb.org/smackn.acgi$tapedetail?TELEVISION" target="_blank"> here.

MTV2 is still an arbiter of musical tastes — just not yours or mine — along with The O.C., Mitsubishi commercials, iPod commercials, and trucker hats. Music, as an entity that we used to listen to, is no longer about performance but 'position'. The music that moves you and moves me has significance. The music that passes for much popular music today is a signifier without a signified.

Finally Art, there is no need to be personally dismissive. If you do an AllMusic.com search on my studio, you'll see 18 years of service to both small independents and major labels (even though my first album cover was done in 1985 — a rejected package for the Chesterfield Kings). You aren't the only person with the voice of experience.

On Feb.24.2005 at 08:37 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

i'm not sure what the big bruhaha is. if you want to hear new and good music you don't look to mtv or cbs. you start overseas with radio one and head to the left coast a year afterwards — its part of that internets.

On Feb.24.2005 at 10:29 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

m kingsley -

sorry you think i'm being dismissive of you. however, the only thing in this thread i'm being dismissive of is mtv2 and the "culture" it thinks it "creates". sorry if you don't like my "voice", but it's the way i "talk".

by the way, i thought you were being pretty dismissive of me, too. however, i know you couldn't possibly think that way, because i'm so wonderful.

On Feb.24.2005 at 11:42 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Just poking my head up from my ultra-hip real underground scene with a video that you will never see on MTV.

Thanks to Todd Dominey for the link. Evangelicals will get a special kick out of/take special offense at this video, but how could anyone not like something that exemplifies as well as this does the quality of work that is available today outside mainstream distribution!

On Feb.25.2005 at 05:17 AM
Kevin Cannon’s comment is:

Hey, interesting article, what's the deal with the broken link though?

I'd like to see those no17 logo ideas yer all talkin' about!

On Feb.25.2005 at 10:26 AM
Armin’s comment is:

'Tis fixed now.

On Feb.25.2005 at 11:33 AM
Dan Hall’s comment is:

"Maybe Dan Hall's Word It for February would work better for the new logo."

Thanks Derrick Schultz. That's a huge compliment. But my Word It would work in concept only. My thought was that dogs mark their territory by pissing on it — very much like artists do with the copyright symbol. The comparison continues because sometimes there is a fight for the same territory with no clear line of who pissed first. So the bigger dog usually wins, but not always.

As to the new MTV2 logo, I'd have never seen it if it not for Debbie Millman's article and I have to wonder if she's a shill. I have a complete DirecTV connection in my studio and prefer it for noise over silence during the day. But I've written MTV, MTV2, VH1 and VH1C off because of two primary reasons; 1 is that I can't tolerate hip-hop, 2 is that I can't tolerate twenty minutes of commercials for ten minutes of programming.

That being said, I think the Romulus and Remus logo is just as nice as Armin does. I'm not going to knock it because I'm not sure I could do better. The two-headed concept works on many levels. But what I find cheap and annoying is the pooping animation. What's the thought? If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit. If that doesn't work, dupe 'em with dog shit?

And Art Chantry... you're a pissed off old fart and I think I love you.

(In a paternal way of course.)

On Feb.25.2005 at 01:08 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

dan -

actually, i'm not pissed off at all. i just have opinions and they're fun to share. sparks the controversy and discussion. i also have a rather frank writing style and it is often read as pissed off. but they are actually being expressed with calm.

i AM, however, an old fart. no doubt.

On Feb.25.2005 at 01:38 PM
Emily’s comment is:

At the risk of starting a whole different argument, and I choose these words carefully: in defense of MTV, they did something for design that no other network was doing when they started. They brought good interesting motion graphic / animation design to TV at a moment when everything was giant flying chrome logos based on what the machines of the day could do (and yes there were I'm sure, some exceptions to that statement). But in general they reinvented what tv could look like.

Ok they exploited designers (myself included) by paying very little and expecting a lot, but back then when you got asked to do something for MTV you knew that you were going to get a chance to do something smart funny and irreverent. People I know, like us at No.17 and even back then at M&Co. (myself, Tibor, Scott Stowell), Director Mark Pellington, Todd Mueller of Psyop, and plenty of others whom I can't recall right now, were thrilled when we got a chance to take on a project. We got to do work in television that we couldn't have done anywhere else then.

Even today MTV Networks consistently uses design in a good smart way. (Has anyone seen what Matthew Dunteman is doing with Noggin and the N? it's great.). So maybe (not maybe - definitely) MTV brings music to a low common denominator while trying to pretend they don't, but they certainly have advanced what we as designers can do in a that 3 x 4 RGB format.

On Feb.25.2005 at 01:38 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

well said, Emily. thanks.

On Feb.25.2005 at 02:01 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> As to the new MTV2 logo, I'd have never seen it if it not for Debbie Millman's article and I have to wonder if she's a shill.

Oh, you didn't hear the news? Speak Up got bought by Viacom?

Seriously… what?

> That being said, I think the Romulus and Remus logo is just as nice as Armin does.

Huh?

On Feb.25.2005 at 02:05 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Hey Armin, I didn't even see that. Thanks.

Clarification for Dan: Shrill not shill.

On Feb.25.2005 at 02:08 PM
Greg’s comment is:

5 things I have learned from reading this post -

1. What Gunnar meant by "you're throwing rocks at yourselves" (or at least what I think he meant)

2. Romulus and Remus are not just Star Trek planets

3. Cool is uncool, yet being uncool is cool unless you try to be cool by being uncool

4. MTV is still more "TV" than "M" with or without the 2

5. I should visit more often so I don't miss these posts in their infancy

(bonus) Art Chantry may or may not be a pissed off old fart

On Feb.25.2005 at 02:13 PM
Dan Hall’s comment is:

>Seriously… what?

Seriously cynicism.

>> I think the Romulus and Remus logo is just as nice as Armin does.

> Huh?

What? My calling it Romulus and Remus, the twin wolf-boys?

Or just as nice, which was based on your previous comments?

And Greg,

We have confirmation from the man himself that Art Chantry is an old fart.

On Feb.25.2005 at 05:12 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Nice job, Emily. That makes sense. Always happy to see the animators and motion graphics folks get some, uh... ink?

Many, many, MANY times we've heard clients (especially really staid, unhip ones) say "We want something... I don't know... MTV!"

Well... no, they really don't after seeing anything close: "Ohmigosh, I'm dizzy! I'm gonna' be sick! Maybe something a little more VH1!"

Although... really, we don't hear too much of that MTV anymore. Not so cool.

On Feb.25.2005 at 05:16 PM
graham’s comment is:

to emily's point: no.

t.v. titles, bbc idents, the tube and channel 4, top of the pops. terry gilliam, and further back with beatles stuff and before that len lye . . . mtv commodified it . . . prevented development beyond what mtv and those who made stuff for mtv could imagine, (like videos and music) and now somehow is responsible for the reinvention of t.v. graphics?

1963 doctor who titles are far more interesting (or saul bass, brownjohn 'from russia with love'-yeah film but then loads of 60's bbc) than anything ever on mtv.

come on. like no words or textures in conjunction with pictures ever appeared before mtv. joker. mtv hasn't advanced anything. they've restricted it. god forbid there'd be an mtv ident of five minutes (even one minute) of silence, sea and sky.

On Feb.25.2005 at 07:14 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

i think graham is right. if you bother to study the history of television title graphics, you'll find that the mtv stuff was not all that special or unique. we forget so quickly what the past looked like that we keep repeating our visuals over and over. but then, we're all post-modernists, and the hallmark of any decadent style like post-moderism is appropriation. it's not stealing, it's just no new ideas.

On Feb.26.2005 at 10:11 AM
Ryan Bottano’s comment is:

http://www.rense.com/general62/mtv2.htm

MTV Mythology

Ryan B

02/10/05

Eurystheus, for his tenth labor, gave Heracles the task of bringing back the cattle, which belonged to the monster Geryon. This involved killing the sentinels who watched over the cattle and their master, then, driving the herd over land and sea back to Greece single handed, which made this a very precarious adventure. This monstrous beast was the son of Chrysaor, which makes him nephew of the Gorgon, Medusa. Geryon had three bodies, six arms, six legs and three heads and his appearance was that of a warrior. He lived on Erytheia, a mythical island far to the west, Geryon was the owner of huge herds of cattle, and they were protected by the herdsman Eurythion and the two-headed watch-dog Orthrus.

MTV has just launched their new logo for their little brother channel MTV2 and have been aggressively promoting it since the last Superbowl. I know that malicious companies like to show their true intentions through symbolic logos. I have to hand it to to people behind the scenes at MTV; they must really think that nobody knows what they are really up to. Let’s just take the new logo their using “a two-headed dog?” Their just seemed something too evil about that. I knew that the Cerberus guarded the gates of Hades, but that one had three heads. I searched further and found the story posted above and it makes total sense now. MTV is the Orthrus and is guarding the captive cattle, “the dazed hive-mentality youth of today.” The conditioning has been there for a long time and now they are just getting an extra laugh rubbing in our face in plain view. We know now that MTV is the cattle herder, but what is the real monster that it’s working for?

On Feb.26.2005 at 11:16 AM
Ryan Bottano’s comment is:

http://www.rense.com/general62/mtv2.htm

MTV Mythology Strange MTV2 Logo

Ryan B

02/10/05

Eurystheus, for his tenth labor, gave Heracles the task of bringing back the cattle, which belonged to the monster Geryon. This involved killing the sentinels who watched over the cattle and their master, then, driving the herd over land and sea back to Greece single handed, which made this a very precarious adventure. This monstrous beast was the son of Chrysaor, which makes him nephew of the Gorgon, Medusa. Geryon had three bodies, six arms, six legs and three heads and his appearance was that of a warrior. He lived on Erytheia, a mythical island far to the west, Geryon was the owner of huge herds of cattle, and they were protected by the herdsman Eurythion and the two-headed watch-dog Orthrus.

MTV has just launched their new logo for their little brother channel MTV2 and have been aggressively promoting it since the last Superbowl. I know that malicious companies like to show their true intentions through symbolic logos. I have to hand it to to people behind the scenes at MTV; they must really think that nobody knows what they are really up to. Let’s just take the new logo their using “a two-headed dog?” Their just seemed something too evil about that. I knew that the Cerberus guarded the gates of Hades, but that one had three heads. I searched further and found the story posted above and it makes total sense now. MTV is the Orthrus and is guarding the captive cattle, “the dazed hive-mentality youth of today.” The conditioning has been there for a long time and now they are just getting an extra laugh rubbing in our face in plain view. We know now that MTV is the cattle herder, but what is the real monster that it’s working for?

On Feb.26.2005 at 11:18 AM
emily’s comment is:

oy vey.

I didn't say no one did anything good before MTV.

I said they allowed for interesting work at a moment when the general style of tv graphics (in America if you want to nit pick) was flying chrome logos based on what the technology was at the time (I even added a caviat about exceptions so I wouldn't have to defend this point).

Yes the stuff for bbc was beautiful and I love Dr. Who and speaking of doctors, the Saul Bass' Dr. No titles (and not only his Dr, No titles) were/are amazing and are still being rehashed to this day. Yes Terry Gilliam is a genius, as is Maurice Binder as is Richard Lester and Len Lye and Oskar Fishinger and Robert Brownjohn and Lou Dorfsman for his cbs work, to name a few. There is amazing work everywhere in every time period, thank god.

I am not talking about he new MTV2 logo. I'm talking about motion graphics work when I say there is plenty of beautiful work that has been done for MTV Networks (and that includes all of their channels) over the past 24 (yikes) years by people whose work I bet you admire (What about the beautiful typography Scott Makela did for Michael Jackson's Scream video? how do you feel about Michele Gondry? what about Brand New School?). Most people like these cut their teeth there and go on to do great things. There even HAS been work like what you wish for: a film maker named David Wild used to make tiny Ten Second Films that were beautiful and poignant and interesting and special and he made them for MTV when no one else would fund them. He then went on to make some lengthly 1 minute long films. Many of these with no words at all. They are fantastic. (he also spoke at one of the DFTV conferences my partner Bonnie and I chaired for the AIGA on motion graphics? Graham didn't you? I thought someone from Tomato did).

All I was saying was since it's inception some nice work and some talented people have come out of MTV Networks (though again, don't misunderstand me, I am not suggesting things like TRL are for the good of mankind), and having actually worked with the people there (hasn't Tomato?), I can honestly say, not ALL of it was done ONLY to feed the evil empire. Sometimes it was done because the work was good and touched a nerve (while feeding the evil empire).

On Feb.26.2005 at 11:47 PM
graham’s comment is:

tomato/underworld/mtv

emily-"All I was saying was since it's inception some nice work and some talented people have come out of MTV"

couldn't and wouldn't disagree with that, but it's a long way from "in general they reinvented what tv could look like." and "they certainly have advanced what we as designers can do in a that 3 x 4 RGB format".

what's the "in America if you want to nit pick" about? if you don't say it, then what-i'm supposed to assume it? if you say "in general" and mean "in America" they're two radically different things.

with makela/gondry etc. i think you're mixing up the stuff mtv shows (videos etc) with the stuff mtv has done for it (idents etc.). makelas type (flying metallic wasn't it? sort of?) would have been done through a record company and mtv would have little to do with that-except possibly the limits of what would and wouldn't be "acceptable" to mtv coming to bear on what actually appears on mtv. in general (i.e. everywhere all the time).

"I didn't say no one did anything good before MTV."

true. but you did say:

"in general they reinvented what tv could look like."

i'll check out david wild-not seen any of his stuff i don't think.

On Feb.27.2005 at 05:26 AM
art chantry’s comment is:

oh, man. this discussion is heading out into the ozone. back to basics.

the new mtv2 logo is a cute and workable solution to what is essentially a tired bankrupt client. as a cultural resource - it ain't.

good design? well, yes. but good (meaning appropriate) design for a client that is as myopicly amoral and culturally dead as that leaves it's residue of corruption on the process. sounds harsh? no. we can';t escape out clients interests. the third reich had really great design, too. (ridiculously extreme example). so did enron.

On Feb.27.2005 at 02:02 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

We want Green Day to be a kind of house band for MTV2, the way people feel about MTV being the Eminem Network.

Ewwwwww.

On Feb.28.2005 at 10:31 AM
Steven’s comment is:

I know that quote really sums up the whole problem of MTV.

Also, this article in today's SF Chronicle points to another way in which grass-roots efforts are driving the development of media.

On Feb.28.2005 at 04:55 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

>We want Green Day to be a kind of house band for MTV2, the way people feel about MTV being the Eminem Network.

>I know that quote really sums up the whole problem of MTV.

Steven, Darrel, Art and Graham--

I am curious: Did you always find MTV disdainful, or it is something that incrementally grew over the years? Did you start out finding it so uncool?

I am not a watcher of MTV now (I am, ahem, in my 40's) but I did love it in 1981 and probably was a huge fan til the early 90s. After that, the only thing I liked was the on-air graphics and the annual Video Music Awards book. I am with Emily on this, I think a lot of the motion graphics that were done, compared to everything else in mainstream media and on television, was pretty cool. Now I am hardly the poster child for determining what is cool or uncool in our culture (or being uncool to be cool?) but comparing MTV graphics to the Third Reich graphics seems a tad extreme, whether you admit it is a "ridiculously extreme example" or not.

>no. we can't escape out clients interests

yes, we can. we can say "no" if we don't want to do something.

On Feb.28.2005 at 05:35 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Did you always find MTV disdainful, or it is something that incrementally grew over the years? Did you start out finding it so uncool?

Debbie, back in '81 there were some interesting things going on with MTV in video production and motion graphics. I can't really say that I've spent huge amounts of time watching it over the years. In fact, like Jason, I had a fairly "unplugged" lifestyle during the 80's, with not much interest in TV, in general. Back then, I was into experiencing the whole urban bohemian music/art/literary scene. Especially back in '81, there was sooooo much great music coming from the UK: Joy Division/New Order, Siouxie and the Banshees, Bauhaus, Ultravox, The Cure, Teardrop Explodes, PIL, etc. etc. And many cool US or Canadian bands, like Translator or Skinny Puppy. None of these bands really made it onto MTV; and if they did, it was very briefly and intermitently late at night. So I would rather spend my time out in underground clubs getting the latest sounds, or going to trendy artshows like Survival Research Labs, or just slinkin' around town in black and leather (and much silver jewelry featuring skulls and crosses) on my motorcycle or in my car. So, mainstream media didn't interest me.

But I also admit to being a music snob. I've been listening to music since I was given a radio for my 5th birthday back in '65. So by the time '81 came along, I was already very disillusioned with mainstream music, because of disco and other pop, lite-rock crap. I was no longer interested in the kinds commercial, packaged stuff offered by MTV. I wanted edgier or more authentic stuff. I remain that way still. I have an enormous, seemingly unending, interest in music of many genres, but absolutely no interest in pop, commercial music--and the cultural hype that surrounds it. I find credibility on the street rather than in a store, to put it another way.

BTW, I've come back to watching small amounts of TV in recent years because I started to feel a bit disconnected from popular culture; and there are few reasonably good shows.

On Feb.28.2005 at 06:48 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

debbie -

i know a little about saying no to clients. in fact i've done a rather significant amount of no with my clients. however, even when i say yeas, even if it's something innocuous or charitable, it's still my clients wishes. you see, whenever you say yes to a client, you become your client.

so, my point is pretty simple: we are tools. we are a service. so, who do you serve?

if you serve mtv, you promote and attempt to sell that client's intents and all the baggae that goes with it. and no client is pure. we always have to be careful, or we become a serious problem for eveybody.

so, even though the third reich is a ridiculously extreme, but it is appropriate. i'm quite ceertain that when all that incredible design work was executed (pun intended) for the nazi's, the designers thought they were helping a client for money, or perhaps for a cause with integrity. nobody seemd to realize the murderous intent lurking beneath the surface. they wouldn't have done that work otherwise, right? or would they?

we desperately need to be more careful who we work with. this work we do is so much more than a paycheck. we need to say no more often. paul rand should have said no to westinghouse before they started placing that logo he did for them on nuclear warheads.

On Mar.01.2005 at 10:28 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I am curious: Did you always find MTV disdainful, or it is something that incrementally grew over the years? Did you start out finding it so uncool?

MTV is great junk TV. There been more than one evening where there's been countless hours of background noise consisting of Pimp my Ride or Viva La Bam. Stupid TV at it's finest, IMHO.

I do fondly recollect the times when it truly was about music, but I don't hate MTV now.

I do find the above quote to be incredibly "we're going for the LCD" type of approach...which pretty much destroys any credibility that they may have had as being innovators. But one doesn't need to innovate to retain market share, either.

On Mar.01.2005 at 11:47 AM
Save big’s comment is:

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On Nov.11.2007 at 10:07 AM