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MTV

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The internet is a constantly expanding resource of endless entertainment, information, news, consumerism, and social media. No matter what it is that you are looking for, I can guarantee you that there is a website that provides it. However, the unimaginable vastness of the internet is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, there are countless websites for you to stream movies, TV shows, and keep up with the latest current events.

But the flip side of that is the fact that, well, there may be too many websites out there from which to choose. It creates a problem of overabundance. With new sites going up all the time, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are worth your time and, more importantly, your money. And when it comes to TV streaming and entertainment news sites, quality can vary in extremes. For every great site, in other words, there are like 100 bad ones. How, then, are we expected to weed out the trash from the gems?

Well, one strategy that can be helpful is to use sites that already have built up solid reputations for themselves. They might all have their respective issues, but sites like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video have already been vetted and have enormous followings. So, granted you like the content that they offer, these more reputable sites are probably going to be relatively safe bets if you are looking for a solid film and television streaming site.

And as far as entertainment news is concerned, well, you will probably have decent luck if you visit outlets that have been around for a long time – think Rolling Stone, People, Us Magazine, Time, etc. – if a website has passed the test of time, nine times out of ten, it will be well-designed, offer high-quality content, and be as current as possible. This, of course, is not a failsafe. Just because a site is popular does not mean that it will be the right one for you. So, you may have to do some shopping around. But sites like the ones I just mentioned are probably a decent place to start, seeing as they have stayed relevant for decades.

An ideal site, though, in my opinion, is one that offers the latest in entertainment news and original streaming content all in one place. These sites, of course, are a bit rarer to find, but once you do, it will be well worth the search. And few sites offer nearly as much as MTV.com. If you are in the market for a go-to site that brings you the latest in music, film, and TV news, as well as tons of original TV content, there is a good chance that MTV will be the perfect fit. Plus, on the topic of reputability, MTV has the cache to spare. So, on that note, let’s dive in and take a look at everything that MTV has to offer, shall we?

History

MTV (or Music Television) took the world by storm when the cable network first launched on August 1st, 1981. Nothing like MTV ever existed before it. It would be hard to overstate just how revolutionary this network was – in terms of the evolution of music (giving a platform to a whole new medium, the music video) and the edginess of televised content in general. MTV found a way to market and sell youthful angst and rebellion in a way that altered the course of pop culture forever.

The first thing to ever air on MTV was footage of the launch of the Apollo 11 spaceship overdubbed with John Lack’s introductory words: “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.” Immediately following those words, the original MTV theme song played – a crunchy hard rock tune written by Jonathan Elias and John Peterson. The American flag then appeared, but instead of the stars and stripes, it boasted MTV’s now-iconic logo. This moment, it turned out, would change television (and the music industry) forever.

The first music video to air on MTV was, appropriately, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. And for the next 20 or so years, MTV would be the premiere outlet for music videos, music news, and music-related original programming. Shows like Bevis and Butthead, Yo! MTV Raps, Headbangers Ball, Total Request Live, MTV Unplugged, and Sucker Free Sunday would all contribute to music and pop culture greatly over the next few decades. Even today, MTV continues to prosper, albeit with a completely different kind of programming.

As the 2000s unfolded into the 2010s, MTV switched gears pretty dramatically. They shifted focus. Instead of offering mostly music-related programming, they went all-in on reality TV. Shows like Jersey Shore, 16 and Pregnant, Punk’d, Paris Hilton’s My New BFF, Teen Mom, and (more recently) Catfish came to replace the constant feed of music videos, live performances, and news segments that once dominated MTV’s airwaves.

As MTV further pivoted, though, from primarily a cable TV network to an online source of digital media, it seems as if they have managed to find more of a balance between the olden days of musical content and the new age MTV brand of reality television. The current state of the MTV website appears to be, I would say, about 60-40, leaning a little more heavily towards reality shows and news – but with a strong through-line of music that was all but buried entirely in their live broadcasting over the last 20 years. MTV.com now stands as a great source of thoughtful music journalism, as well as the best place to watch the latest in MTV programming.

Design

Gone are the days of the classic grungy MTV aesthetic. In the 80s and 90s, MTV opted for a very rock and roll feel, with lo-fi graphics and overlays, as well as intentionally mismatched and loud color combinations and juxtaposed images. The look of the old MTV wanted to disrupt the status quo, it went out of its way to disturb and antagonize.

The MTV of 2020, however, is a lot quieter, calmer even. It has a sleeker and more professional feel to it – a more pop-friendly appeal, I would say. It presents itself in an understated white, gray, and black theme, with clean lines and clearly separated sections that make browsing the site easy and convenient. I must say, I am personally a little disappointed in the direction that MTV has been heading for the last 25 years or so … I miss the punk rock, in your face attitude that MTV once had. That being said, the site is well-designed and, honestly, the cleaner look is probably much better in terms of functionality. So, I approve.

Content

As I sort of touched on a bit already, MTV offers a blend of music and pop culture news, album reviews, think pieces, and original content that you can stream (either live or on-demand). I should note here, though, that in order to stream shows or live MTV broadcasting you will have to have a traditional cable provider. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, you cannot simply become an MTV subscriber and access all that the site has to offer.

That being said, MTV.com is, in my opinion, one of the best resources for music journalism on the web. They have a history of showcasing thoughtful and talented writers – such as one of my favorite music writers of all time, Hanif Abdurraqib – who provide something that goes beyond mere music journalism, often synthesizing music or pop culture news with personal and/or political themes.

Mobile and Desktop Experience

In addition to offering up a great website for desktop browsers, the MTV app is also worth a download. Get all your music and pop culture news on the go and stream any of your favorite MTV shows from your smartphone or tablet with the extremely user-friendly and stunning MTV app. I am not alone in loving this app either – it has received an average user rating of 4.4 on the Apple App Store (out of 19,000 individual reviews).

Pricing and Plans

Unfortunately, MTV does not offer its own premium service. They are still beholden to traditional cable. So, the only way that you will be able to access the members’ area of MTV.com is to sign up with a cable provider. And, as you know, prices for cable plans can vary greatly. However, you can read as many articles as you like, free of charge.

Suggestions that I have for MTV

I would love to see MTV offer their own OTT service. I want to be able to just pay MTV, say, $10 a month in order to access their original content. I do not want to pay $60 or $70 a month for traditional cable. I just want my MTV, as the old slogan goes.

Likes & Hates:
Tons of great written content
Stream any MTV show, any time
Live TV
Great site and app design
Need a cable provider to stream
MTV is too tame these days!