Beat Film Festival
The launch of MTV in August 1981 flipped youth culture and the music business upside down. Before this, American youth didn’t have their own TV channel nor did they have the opportunity to see their favorite artists anywhere but in concert. Teenagers were able to buy records, but rarely had enough for tickets to the tours of their favorite groups. MTV met that need by inventing the music video, which became a new way of communicating with fans. Since then, it wasn’t just what you played that was important, but how you presented yourself.
The creators of the film talk with managers and producers of the channel, chipmakers and the first VJs: a musical world that we now perceive as the norm was invented by a small team of revolutionaries. They tell how MTV changed the way that artists are promoted, influenced the way that trends were distributed around the entire world, and became the main partner for youth for two decades. Dozens of memorable stories, featuring a whole army of stars of the era from David Bowie and Phil Collins to Madonna and Michael Jackson, backstage shots, and conversations with MTV’s founders whose faces we never saw and the artists who owe the channel their popularity — all of these show that the music of the 1980s and 1990s is impossible to separate from the music videos that were made for it. But euphoric success isn’t the only note that this documentary strikes: MTV was killed by YouTube and reality TV — and among other things, this film explains why it couldn’t have happened any other way.
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