15 January 2007

eMpTyV

It must be already over fifteen years ago when our household got a new VCR and unlike the older one, with this I could start watching MTV. That was one of the best things at the time. Little old me was finally connected to the big world of entertainment and popular culture. I must have spent months just staring at the box during the next few years after that. It was MTV Europe with Ray Cokes, Davina and likes and all of this music that I had heard off but had not heard. I remember spending some absolutely gorgeous summer days (and back home they are limited) inside waiting for the Madness video or American soul tracks or dozens of pop tracks that are already forgotten even by the very people who wrote them.

During the years my habit was fading a bit by bit but I still have memories taping the latest TLC and Boyz II Men videos. For the youth of today this may sound incomprehensible but at that time MTV still played music.

Some years after MTV Europe became MTV Nordic; a regional Scandinavian and Baltic music channel playing mainly Swedish music and increasingly mind numbing reality shows and now, over a year ago Finland got its own MTV which plays few videos in the middle of the night but mainly shows that kill your brain cells more than sniffing glue. It is all pretty much that American teen entertainment. It is understandable that as I grew up MTV as my best friend, it is hard for me to completely to detach myself from all of this rape of human mind. I am no longer the target audience for the channel but while I was watching some of it on my holidays, and when I do my best to set my need for nostalgia aside, and I thought that it was nothing more than eMpTyV.

Their rotation of videos at night time, the time when you can still see some videos, is so tight that it makes CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) feel like a diverse and well balanced source of entertainment and information and on top of those videos, viewers can send text messages and channels offers a tasteless comment about their sex lives. I must be getting very very old, but at the same time surely the viewers themselves must be too young for that. I mean the content feels like it is targetting ten year olds. The shows are almost all American and I remember when they started this new service it was promised how it will give a new platform for local popular music. Although few of the videos played were local, the small amount of videos and the tightness of rotation ensures that not many artists will benefit from this. Only thing I can imagine to be different from the regional MTV Nordic to MTV Finland is that now they can sell their own advertising time and all of a sudden all the old Nordic channels can multiply their advertising revenue by targeting it better and Viacom in US will be happy while the kids learn that a) it’s cool to be stupid b) money defines your value if you are a male and c) the size of your breasts define your value as a human being if you are a female. If I ever have children I will not tell them that popular culture exists before they are old enough to understand that it also has more positive sides than MTV.

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