Before banking on newlywed pop stars, drunken guidos and pregnant teens, MTV actually lived up to its name and offered music programming. I grew up during the TRL era, where I could count on coming home from school and being exposed to new artists and music on a daily basis. Without TRL, we may not be still enjoying artists like Britney Spears, Eminem, Justin Timberlake, and Beyoncé. But, with the rise of streaming video sites and interactive social media platforms, TRL’s novelty wore off.
Since the rise of the internet, MTV has all but abandoned music programming. I get it. People can go on YouTube and watch whatever they want, whenever they want. While I don’t necessarily miss the abbreviated music video clips played on TRL, I do miss MTV as a tastemaker. I miss Carson Daly and the VJs who facilitated discussion about music and allowed viewers to call in and send messages. The scrolling comments at the bottom of the screen acted as Twitter before Twitter. Yes, while the majority of them may have been, “I love Backstreet Boys!! *NSYNC sux!,” it was nice to see people interacting and talking about music. But, who’s to say a similar platform can’t exist online? While the internet may have killed traditional music television, it’s the perfect place to usher in a new wave of music programming.
MTV could have easily moved some of its music programming online. Shows like TRL, or even Say What? Karaoke, would have thrived as steaming, interactive online programs that integrated social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. But, when it comes to music, MTV’s the old model–stuck in the past. They’ve certainly adapted to make money, with successful reality shows like The Hills and Jersey Shore, but have undoubtedly lost sight of the music in music television. That’s where YouTube comes in. Much like MTV in its prime, YouTube is the place where people go to watch music videos and discover new artists (Justin Bieber, anyone?). It only makes sense that with YouTube launching 100 new digital channels this year, one of the first would be dedicated to discovering what’s next in music: myISH.
The recently launched myISH YouTube channel already has lots of promising content. Their hosts, or VJs (maybe we should call them YJs, YouTube jockeys?), post daily ISHpicks, featuring both established and undiscovered talent, ranging from Madonna and Nicki Minaj to Chairlift and John West. While the hosts, Elliott Aronow, Anthony Hull, and Hesta Prynn shine individually, it’s even more fun when they’re together. On the first installment of Open Mic, they shoot the shit about J.Lo’s “supposed” nip slip at the Oscars. Beyond discussing famous areola, these guys really know their music and make a great team. They’re likable, witty, and have good taste. It’s nice to see people actually discussing music and serving as tastemakers again. Sure, you can read blogs (much like this one) to discover new artists. But, seeing the videos and getting to know the hosts, adds another dimension of personality and entertainment to the mix. For some comedic relief, YouTube sensation Michael Buckley countdowns the top 7 “I am beautiful no matter what they say” songs on the first ISHlist. Considering we’ve been inundated with with these songs over the past year or so, it’s a timely feature that’s a great pick-me-up when you’re feeling like a plastic bag.
myISH also has active Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr pages, adding even more interactivity beyond YouTube’s platform. The hosts encourage comments and actually engage in discussion beyond the videos. Essentially, myISH takes what killed music television and uses it to its advantage. People are still interested in music-related content. However, where and how they get it has changed. myISH capitalizes on that, combining the best of music programming, with the interactivity of the internet.