Online generation welcomes the new ‘TRL’

Say farewell to the days when teens and young adults had the right to vote… vote for their favorite music video, that is. Last Sunday, the Paramount/Viacom-owned network MTV put to rest their 10-year-old fan favorite Total Request Live, or, to its loyal voters, TRL.

Set in Times Square, the music video countdown show is arguably responsible for the launch, and overexposure of such music icons as Eminem, Britney Spears, N*Sync and the Backstreet Boys. The show’s heyday was in the late ’90s, when bubblegum pop flooded the airways.

TRL quickly became such a cultural phenomenon that celebrities saw the potential to self-market themselves and would often make guest appearances to promote albums, merchandise, tours or movies.

Unfortunately, as TRL‘s audience grew older and matured, TRL and most of its featured artists did not. TRL‘s original fan base left for college, and with finals around the corner, voting to ensure Britney’s new video hits the countdown just doesn’t seem all that important anymore.

“It’s terrible,” senior Rachael Rigamatt said. “I remember coming home and voting so Christina’s video would beat Britney’s out of the No. 1 spot. It feels so long ago now.”

The mood was nostalgic Sunday as the curtain closed after 2,247 episodes. Carson Daly was there to bring his ship to harbor, and help count down the top ten music videos of the TRL decade. Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time” took the top spot. The show also honored rap star, producer and marketing mogul Diddy as the most frequented guest, as Sunday was his 38th appearance.

The night included the music stylings of Beyonce, 50 Cent gave a memorable performance in the studio halls, and Ludacris, Snoop and Nelly all performed together on the same stage. But the festivities left one to wonder: what caused TRL‘s demise?

The Internet is to blame. Web phenomenon YouTube and the accessibility of music videos on the Internet have made video countdown shows obsolete. With the death of the countdown, and a death of a pop era, MTV announces a new birth for a new generation.

Recently MTV launched www.mtvmusic.com, a website dedicated solely to music videos. The site is relatively new, but UM students have already taken notice.

“I actually think it’s a really cool site,” junior Brent Goldman said. “It has a good variety, and I don’t get bombarded with ads.”

While people aren’t running to the phone anymore to vote for their favorite video, they can now assess them on their laptops, desktops, and cell phones on the bus, at home and in class. The generation that lives online just got another reason to stay online.

November 19, 2008


Ramona Cavanagh

Contributing EDGE Writer

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