the Rap Channel

IT’S EASY TO FORGET the consternation that MTV once caused among the faithful. Not just the end of music “as we knew it, ” MTV was proof that the suits had finally found a way to convert the disloyal yearnings of youth into market obedience. Even if music video did not come to replace records altogether, it would be an indispensable industry tool, and the pleasure of sounds would surely surrender to the power of images in the struggle for sales. The fans, it was predicted, would become less important than TV advertisers or programmers. The video would not simply be an ad for the record , but would develop an ontological life of its own—to the detriment, it was assumed, of everyone who really cared about music.

Some of these fears were the familiar ones that accompany any new form in popular culture. Others were an accurate forecast of industrial tendencies. Among other things, MTV saved

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.