Why Did MTV Stop Playing Music?

MTV stopped playing music because they felt that the audience would be more engaged if they had more content to watch. They wanted to give people a reason to tune in every day, so they started airing reality TV shows and other types of programs.

As a music network, MTV has been around since 1981. It was originally created to play music videos, but it has evolved into a general entertainment channel in recent years.

The network, which used to be one of the biggest music platforms in the world, is now all about reality TV content.

The Early Days of MTV

On August 1st, 1981, MTV went live on the air playing “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles. It quickly became one of the most influential channels in the music industry. The channel was the first to play videos and use music to bring in viewers. And their goal was to change the way people watched television.

When MTV was created, it started as a channel that would play music videos and nothing else after gaining instant popularity. However, there were few regulations at the time for what kind of music they could show their viewers.

The early days of MTV consisted of late-night broadcasts and early morning broadcasting that gradually evolved into 24-hour coverage. During this early time, they started to play music videos from early artists such as David Bowie, R.E.M., The Buggles, and Duran Duran, in addition to the famous artists of the 1980s like Billy Idol, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Michael Jackson.

Many early critics questioned the concept of MTV, and some said that it was a channel with no point, and it shows all these different programs in so many weird formats. They were quickly proved wrong as MTV became one of the most popular channels in early television programming as they officially started 24-hour broadcasting in 1986.

MTV’s Impact on Music & Culture

MTV has had a substantial impact on music and culture. Their early success helped the channel become a place where people could be entertained by music and by famous artists.

Over the years, MTV also made a massive impact in the music world by promoting new artists and creating a platform for new and popular artists to gain popularity and build their careers.

They helped artists achieve global fame by helping them get exposure to their fans and allowing them to travel the world. Artists like George Michael, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga were able to create some of their most successful music careers due to their success on MTV.

People would tune in as long as there were good music videos to listen to and watch, and the channel remained very successful. The network is still influential today, but its role as a music channel has changed drastically. Now, the channel broadcasts reality shows, talk shows, and other types of shows unrelated to music.

Shifting the focus on Reality-TV

As MTV started shifting their focus away from music, in 2004, they launched the series Pimp My Ride, hosted by Xzibit, which was a competition where participants could get a chance for their old car to get redesigned and customized. It was a huge hit and brought in many new viewers.

Since then, Reality TV has taken off with shows like The Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, and 16 & Pregnant. In 2011, many of these shows started to become one of the most popular reality-based TV shows.

Reality TV is not only popular in the United States but also around the world as many international versions have been created for American television programs.

The Decline of MTV and the Rise of Streaming Platforms

The music video industry has come a long way. Ever since the 1980s, music videos have evolved to what they are today, with styles ranging from simple one-shot performances to intricately choreographed dances.

But music videos have always remained an essential part of the music industry. They are used to promote and share new songs and albums with the audience. However, there has been a shift in the importance of music videos in recent years.

Lately, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and Deezer. And for a flat monthly fee, these services provide an easy way to listen to music without having to download it onto your device or buy it from a store on CD or vinyl.

This means that people no longer need physical copies of albums for their collection and can just stream them on their devices. Music videos were traditionally released alongside the albums to promote the music. However, this is no longer the case.

Now the importance has shifted from the album release to the single release. Music videos are now released at the same time as the new songs so that they can be promoted through streaming services and social media platforms like YouTube.

So, the development of the numerous music streaming services proved to be an additional factor that contributed for music video channels like MTV to change gears and have them explore other content streams like the reality TV shows that they are known for today.


As the number of musicians and music fans dwindled in the late 2000s and early 2010s, the networks tried to find a new audience by creating a new kind of programming that had nothing to do with the music. The result was a bunch of reality TV shows that were not meant to provide the audience with great music but only with entertainment.

However, that did prove to be a successful move for MTV, and the reality TV shows remain popular today. And while music videos were once an important part of the industry, it has changed dramatically in recent years as streaming services started to gain more popularity. As such, the importance of music videos has diminished.

In conclusion, MTV is no longer an important thing in the music industry as it once was. While their reality TV shows are still appreciated and gain global popularity, the MTV channel is not what it once was.