The Evolution of Music Videos: From MTV to YouTube

Since their inception in the 1970s, music videos have undergone significant development. The development of music videos has been a fascinating journey, beginning with the early days of music television and continuing through the growth of the internet and YouTube. In this piece, we will take a more in-depth look at the development of music videos and how they have altered over time.

Early Days of Music Television

During the early stages of the development of music television, music videos were an innovative and cutting-edge type of entertainment. When it debuted in 1981, Music Television (MTV) was the first network to concentrate solely on broadcasting music videos. It didn’t take long for it to become a cultural phenomenon, and before long, music videos were an indispensable component of the music industry. Promoting artists by record labels frequently included music videos, and MTV was an essential component in the beginning stages of many musicians’ careers.

During that era, most music videos were produced with a limited budget and showcased the singer performing the song in a quiet environment. On the other hand, some music videos were significantly more involved than others and included narratives or special effects. The music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” initially published in 1983, illustrates this phenomenon well. At the time, it was one of the most costly music videos that had ever been produced, and it had a narrative in the style of a horror movie that lasted for 14 minutes.

The Rise of YouTube

Because of the proliferation of the internet, music videos are now more readily available than they have ever been. YouTube first went live in 2005, and almost immediately afterward, it established itself as the most popular website for watching music videos. Artists no longer needed to rely on MTV to promote their videos; instead, anyone could upload their music videos to YouTube for users worldwide to see.

In addition, YouTube gave birth to a new music video genre, the viral video. YouTube videos that became big hits, such as “Gangnam Style” by Psy and “Baby Shark Dance” by Pinkfong, received billions of views each. These films were not necessarily made to promote a particular musician or song, but despite this fact, they still had a large impact on the music business.

The Impact of Social Media

Social media have significantly influenced the evolution of music videos in important ways. Musicians increasingly widely utilize social media to connect with their audiences and promote the release of music videos. New genres of music videos, such as dancing challenges and short-form videos, have emerged due to the proliferation of social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

The proliferation of social media has also made it easier for artists to work together. Music videos like “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion and “Stupid Love” by Lady Gaga featured collaborations with other artists and influencers. They were highly promoted on social media platforms.

The Future of Music Videos

Music videos will continue to change and adapt in the future as a result of the ongoing development of technology. Virtual and augmented reality may play an important part in the development of music videos in the future. This will enable musicians to produce more immersive and engaging experiences for their audiences. Additionally, live streaming and videos viewed in 360 degrees are anticipated to become increasingly widely used.


The progression of music videos from MTV to YouTube has been an interesting and entertaining journey. The production of music videos has evolved from simple, low-cost productions to intricate, high-cost productions. Additionally, the proliferation of social media has led to new subgenres of music videos and new sorts of partnerships. It will be fascinating to observe how technology continues to advance and how it impacts the development of music videos in the future. But one thing can be said with absolute certainty: music videos will remain an important component of the music industry for many years.


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