Media of the Youth, by the Youth, for the Youth
Music Video Television (MTV), launched in August 1981, became increasingly prominent in the 1980s. Although music videos had been pioneered before MTV, the cable channel afforded a dedicated platform to promote sales of recorded music, a function previously assumed by radio. Earlier “concept videos” using narration and abstraction had been employed by such artists as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. MTV grew and reached 27 million homes by 1986, and 52 million by 1990. Expressions of gender and race/ethnicity are critical factors in interpreting music videos, many of which prominently portrayed risk behaviors — such as the use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and violence — as well as relationships between racial/ethnic groups, genders, and romantic partners. Youth now have ample access to music videos on the Internet, and can easily create and disseminate their own music video content.
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