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Not So Exclusive, Exclusive

MTVlogo.jpgDoes anyone know what MTV was referring to when it slapped "Exclusive" across many of its videos?

For those too young to remember -- I'll say those 20 and under -- MTV was started as a music channel. You know, Music television. These days it's basically an amalgamation of reality programming, movie specials and the very rare video. For some unknown reason, musicians still spend big bucks on videos. Whatever the case, I was surfing YouTube last night and I came across videos that were clearly made digital from a VHS recording. To me, that's authentic. Anyway, some of these clips included the MTV logo and the giant "Exclusive" declaration across the front.

Back in, say, 1989, there really wasn't many other options for music videos. I think they played occasionally on fancy cable channels like HBO but MTV was basically the biggest - and only - game in town.

In journalism, an "exclusive" is equal to a "scoop," or the big "get." You're the one game in town baby, and everyone stops to take notice. Doesn't this mean MTV's "exclusive" is both pointless and misleading? Does the exclusive refer to a specific Headbanger's Ball? Surely not since all those videos basically made it into the regular rotation in the 80s.

While we're talking about MTV, who thinks the channel created glam? I think the true roots of glam go so much deeper than MTV, but lately it seems like I've been reading a lot of articles that basically credit the network with creating my most favorite music genre.

If that's what you're selling, then I ain't buying! To make such a sweeping statement is degrading to musicians who could (can!) really play their instruments and write their own songs. While MTV served as a vehicle of promotion, it was also a matter of convenience. If MTV existed in 1978, Van Halen probably wouldn't have had to wait until the success of 1984 to have a number one single.

Saying MTV offered "exclusives" or "created stars" is like saying Fox News creates terrorism. Oh, wait...

At any rate, here's Poison's video for "Ride the Wind." It has the "exclusive" banner across the credit.

Reader Comments (12)

Wow - MTV created glam ? I'd admit they provided a forum for it. And I suspect that videos drove the visual aspect of things to the heights they achieved, But glam predates MTV by a good decade.

The reason bands still make videos, I suspect, is that they put them on their CDs/bonus DVDs and record labels sell clip DVDs. I know I have quite a few of those, with no metal on radio/tv, I buy them to find new bands.
December 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Graus
It was an incredible time. I remember growing up on the suburbs of Philadelphia and Cinderella were exploding out of the City of Brotherly Love.

There was all this hype about this rocking band making a video and soon going out on tour- with David Lee Roth (and next Bon Jovi!). I raced home from school to turn on Mtv to catch the premiere video of "Shake Me". Everything about it blew me away. Looking at it today, the video seems cheesy, but it was certainly a memorable time!

Besides, I've always appreciated a fine piece of cheese! Smile and rock on!
December 5, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
Personally I think the exclusive tag was basically just another way of saying see it here for the first time.
December 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBillyKiss
No, I believe exclusive was just that: MTV was the ONLY place to see that video. Do you not remember shows like Friday Night Videos on NBC? By the early 90s - when the Poison vid came out - there WERE competitors including MuchMusic and maybe even The Box.
December 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTyk
MTV brought glam to the masses. Back in the days of "I want my MTV!!" I was loving me some metal!!! I still am!!

Cinderella's "Shake Me" is a great song--never use the word cheezy when speaking of the hair days!!! Glam Metal is on the way back. No more RAP!!! Grundge died long ago. Metal will rise to the top.
December 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKOZ
Hey Koz:

I'm the cheesiest!!!

Rock on,
December 6, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
Remember, I said the video...not the song or the band! Cinderella is where it's at!
December 6, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterfletch
After MTV hit, there were shows like Friday Night Videos on NBC, Night Tracks on WTBS, Radio 1990 and Night Flight (which actually predated MTV) and all sorts of syndicated and local shows (MV3, Video One, Rock America, Video Beat, etc..) that aired videos. Shows like Solid Gold, Soul Train, and America's Top 10 also showed videos from time to time.

So if MTV had an exclusive deal with certain videos, they never aired on any of these other shows.
December 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMe
All of those shows did compete and so MTV pushed for exclusive videos in an effort to dominate the market. Later MTV did reach the point where they could "make" a group or artist popular by airing their videos. It's how they work with record labels to push more crappy sound-a-like groups into the stratosphere until their age demographic grows up and looks for something with more substance. The record labels and MTV just want to milk whats hot now, they don't care if there is still an audience for other kinds of music until it becomes the next hot thing.
December 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDon
The "exclusive" was just like some of the other posters put out. Back then there were late night video shows on the 3 majors as well as sydnicated shows on a not so expansive cable tv. MTV made these video exclusives for about the first week or so...then the others could run them. MTV provided this delay and it helped them AND the bands because there weren't other outlets like there are now; so a buzz was made for those in podunk towns which would wait anticipating the new "cool" that was being produced. It helped MTV become the new MUST SEE TV and the bands got the HYPE in kidz without cable access having to WAIT to see it. Now it would be IMPOSSIBLE to do that again...
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou.
Hmm another shot at right-wing Fox News. Funny how all these bands on this website were (or would be) considered the enemy of the PMRC - led by left-wingers Al Gore and Tipper Gore.
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered Commentersup
I don't think MTV "created" glam/sleaze metal (different than glam rock, which as already noted predated MTV), but it certainly helped it become what it became. I don't know if bands like Trixter and Keel could have made it as far as they did without the visual aspect. Of course they rock, but there are tons of new bands today that rock that won't make it "big" (Crashdiet, Vains of Jenna, Endeverafter) because there is no promotional vehicle other than the Internet for them. Granted, Endeverafter is getting some radio play, but nothing like they would have received had they come out in 1988.
December 7, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJason

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