MTV Finally Drops ‘Music Television’

After almost 30 years of being on the air, MTV is finally getting rid of the words ‘Music Television’ from under it’s iconic logo. I’ve seen that some people are annoyed that they got rid of the words, but this makes sense to me on a couple of levels.

The first and most clear reason is that they’re no longer a music-centric cable network. These days they cater to mostly 13-24 year olds who devour reality television, a vast departure what was on 10 years ago, let alone 30. But that’s the nature of large companies, they shift their focus to continue to making money and stay in business. Look at Nintendo for example, they started making playing cards back in 1889, dabbled in instant noodles and “love hotels” in the 60’s until finally releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Nintendo now makes money creating games and gaming consoles, as MTV makes money with properties like Jersey Shore. MTV can’t go back to showing videos all day long just as much as Nintendo can’t go back to creating playing cards.

The second reason is that MTV has become a household name, those three letters alone. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone call it Music Television before and I grew up in the 80’s. It’s the same as other major networks. You don’t get your news from the Cable News Network, you don’t tune into the Home Box Office to see True Blood and you don’t hate the National Broadcast Company for screwing over Conan. These three letter acronyms are culturally built-in at this point and after almost 30 years MTV deserves the same treatment.

As for the treatment itself I think it’s nice. It certainly doesn’t knock my socks off but it accomplishes it’s goal, using the logo to frame their content. The TV on the front were also redrawn a bit and look cleaned up and less janky as they have in their previous versions. I think this is a step in a good direction for this mega-company, but I’ll guess that people will hate it simply because they hate change.

Update: Creative Review has a nice review of the logo as well, dubbing it a ‘logo-as-receptacle-for-imagery’.


February 9, 2010