I Want My MTV

Mick Jagger, Madonna, and David Bowie were amongst the megastars who participated in the ‘I Want My MTV!’ campaign which debuted on 1st March, 1982; credited for getting music television to a sustainable number of cable providers and thereby kickstarting a whole genre: the music video. 


Ad guru George Lois had come up with the slogan, inspired by an earlier cereal commercial he’d worked on. The promotion hit such a nerve with Generation X that it even made it into a hit single, when Dire Straits and Sting sang ‘I Want My MTV’ in ‘Money For Nothing’. 


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why the music and cable industry both needed persuading of the merits of taking the new channel; consider why adopting the segregated playlists approach of American popular radio was a mis-step for the originators of the network; and reveal why so many British artists played a role in the early days of the playlist…


Further Reading:


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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

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