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in Filmmaking
on Nov 11, 2008

Okay, I’m a week or two late to the party, but I just came across MTV Music, a new website, in beta, from MTV that streams music videos.

For younger readers, a music video — formerly called, in the pre-music-video days, a “promo,” or a “clip” — is a short film or staged musical performance set to a pop song and usually featuring as performers the singer and musicians of that song. MTV used to show them, and for those of us who remember the launch of the channel, music videos once seemed new, interesting, and even culturally relevant.

Creative Commons Cultural Program Associate Fred Benenson was initially very excited by the launch of MTVM, even going so far as to write, “I think MTV may be cool again,” but after a couple of weeks of he has begun to feel differently. He sees MTVM as an example of “passive media” in a time in which we should be demanding “participatory media.”

From the blog post:

The massive popular acceptance of sites like MTvM and Hulu, is compromising the natural interactive nature of the web for the sake of ease and passive consumerism. Where I like to think of the projects I’m involved in as breaking down the definition between consumer and producer, there’s a very real chance that popular culture will not want to put out the effort to create their own culture and simply continue to passively consume the work of others….

Now, however, participatory media has achieved a significant lead on the web. YouTube has massively popular stars that created their own fame and content from their bedroom, and Wikipedia has reached an extraordinary level of cultural significance. Indeed, most of the big sites on the web are participatory — eBay, Craigslist, Google, or any blog platform. But we risk abdicating this leadership position by not challenging MTVM and NBC to open their network and content even further. In other words, keep the pressure on. Ask why the MTVM videos aren’t available for download, and then, why aren’t they Creative Commons licensed?

Head to the link to read the whole post and then, stroll down memory lane by watching the video below (or, on the site, a video of your own choosing). If you are like me, you can also remember a crappy, flickering color TV in an in-need-of-renovation dorm lounge, Nina Blackwood’s blonde shag and times in which videos like this were as important as any film.

David Bowie |MTV Music
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