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Music Video History

Many musical artists made their careers a success by using music videos. As an important part of the music industry, music videos not only showcase an artist's singing talent, but also how they perform. The history of music videos shows how the use of the videos transformed the music industry.

Music videos represent a crucial part of the music industry. Artists owe their careers to music videos as they are being given the chance of impressing the public not just with their vocal talent, but also with their looks or moves.

Thirty years ago, music video used to be less important than it is nowadays. MTV (Music Television) was the phenomenon that gave so much power and importance to the music video. MTV started broadcasting in 1981 in the USA and it marked the beginning of the music video's ruling over the music industry.

The first video ever played on MTV was 'Video Killed the Radio Star' by The Bugles. As MTV was broadcasting 24-hour-a-day music, music videos were needed to be produced.

Consequently, music video began to play an important role in artists' careers. It is considered that even Madonna's career has been greatly influenced by her videos that presented a sexy, appealing look of the artist.

Some experts say that Madonna has been inspired by the image that the actress Greta Garbo has used in her silent movies.

MTV has been highly controversial: some saw as the beginning of an amazing, new, fresh era in music, others considered it to mark the end of true musical talent, as artists have been become more appreciated for their looks instead of their vocal abilities.

Premiering in 1974, the Australian TV show 'Countdown' played an important role in the development of the music video industry. Music video clips were used as a method of promoting acts that were to appear on the show.

As the popularity of the video clips grew, the music industry began to realize the marketing potential of these music clips. One of the most notable video clips features was the AC/DC hit, "It's A Long Way to the Top." During the 1980s, 'Countdown' aired in 22 countries.

In 1980, the New Zealand group Split Enz became one of the first bands to create an entire set of music promo clips and market them on video cassette for each song on their album, 'True Colors.'

Predating MTV by almost three years, 'Video Concert Hall,' was the first nationwide video music program on American television. Premiering in June 1981, one of the first US programs to play music videos was the USA Cable Network program 'Night Flight.' Night Flight predated MTV's launch by just a few months.

In 1981, the U.S. video channel MTV was launched and it began the age of 24-hour music television. They launched the channel with the video, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Throughout the 1980s, MTV expanded to become an important tool used in music marketing.

Singers like Madonna not only used music videos to promote their albums, but to create their images. In 1983, the almost 14-minute-long video for Michael Jackson's song "Thriller," was released. It became the world's most successful and influential video in music video history.

In 1985, MTV launched the channel VH1 which featured softer music for an older audience than the typical young MTV audience. In 1987, MTV Europe was launched and in 1991, MTV Asia was introduced.

MTV quickly became a favorite channel for music fans, artists and bands by providing a one-stop venue for all things music related.

With the broadcast of MTV's first music video; "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles, it didn't take long for the slogans "I want my MTV" and "MTV is here" to become the excited cry of millions of music fans throughout the U.S.

Article about: History of music videos

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