If you are like me, and I know you are, MTV has gone way of the Snickers bar: You are too old to digest it in public, but will consume it in private from time to time. I won't watch a skater and his bodyguard or "Run's House", but I'm not above watching every other episode of "The City" or a "Made" episode where a sure-to-fail H.S. sophomore band geek campaigns for prom queen. What a tool. But this isn't ground-breaking journalism here. Everyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s has complained about the station being a shell of it's former self. It's become cliche and inconsequential at the same time. Instead, here's my bafflement at the missed opportunity of MTV's website, mtv.com:
Mtv.com should be leading the way in online music, right? The site has licensed access to over 16,000 videos. And despite a grand total of zero video airings on the flagship station, MTV Hits, MTV Espanol, and MTV Jams air videos around the clock. While costly epics like "November Rain" have gone by the wayside in favor of smaller budget blue screen and Miami Beach shoots, music videos are still a strong driver of sales. With the explosion of Youtube and embedded video, any Tom, Dick, and Brian can post a music on their site. But mtv.com should be the driver behind this. This isn't a knock on the site's content- the videos are there, the articles are there. The problem is, the site itself is horrible.
Sure, blame piracy and Youtube, but really this is a microcosm of the bigger problem with the MTV brand- it is stale. What was once a pioneer in music and sorta-music related content is now a slow-loading, ad puffed, bulky, difficult-to-navigate, directionless site. It's as if an executive at the company said, "Just throw all the shit we own onto the front page, they'll figure it out."
This post may seem irrelevant because MTV has become irrevelant. Color me nostaligic, but back in my day (in old geezer voice), MTV used to mean something. Sure, that something may have been Bon Jovi, (younger) Britney, and Nine Inch Nails videos, but there was an energy and differentiation between MTV and everyone else. Now, sites like Youtube, Imeem, and countless others have rendered mtv.com moot at a time when it should be innovating. Shouldn't users be able to purchase songs off a flashy interface? Shouldn't the site build an online community that rivals the now music-centric Myspace? Viacom's troubles are well documented and likely a source of such shortcomings, but perhaps this a part of the reason why the conglomerate is in trouble in the first place.