• Stepping Stones Kottla

The 1980’s and the 2000’s: From MTV to YouTube

By Julia Arnelund.



When the disco music from the 70’s began to abate it was replaced by the more modern music of the 80’s. New styles such as Hip hop, new wave and glam metal (also known as hair metal) became popular. MTV was introduced to the television and it took the world by storm, and with MTV came the music videos.

Most of us associate the joyful music of the 80's with the synth. In the majority of the songs you will hear the instrument, “Girls just wanna have fun,” “Break my Stride,” and “Flashdance...What a Feeling,” are just some of the popular songs including the instrument. Even though the synth (shortening of synthesiser) was introduced many years before, it became really popular during the 80’s. I think that the synth, among other electrical instruments, were the grandfathers of the kind of instruments we have today, and thanks to the popularity of the instruments in the 80’s, they could develop into better instruments. With electrical instruments the performer has many more possibilities, which I think is good. For example, you can experiment more with a wider range of dynamics, wider range of texture, and so many more technical advantages that can help them. If the electrical instruments wouldn’t have become popular, no one would have wanted to develop them, and we wouldn’t have the types of instruments we have today.

MTV (Music Television) is a tv network broadcasting music 24h a day. It was introduced in the early 80’s. They broadcasted music videos and had top lists and awards, so it became more important for the artists to not only sing good, but look and entertain well also. With the help of MTV celebrities could get recognition and their music records begun selling better if they were featured there. This network made celebrities super-celebrities, and to be featured here the stars began creating a “brand” around themselves so they became more interesting, since MTV showed interesting things.

The most famous artists of the decade are Madonna with “Like a virgin,” Michael Jackson which made many good songs such as “Thriller” and “She’s out of my league”. Prince was also one of the biggest artists with his many hits. “Purple rain” and “kiss” are two examples of Prince’s music.

Music in the 2000 wasn’t changed much from the 90’s. Many of the big artists were in both of the decades, and it was about the same genre of music. The music in the 2000’s was a mix of many different genres, contemporary R&B, Hip hop, and electronic music are just some of the many popular styles. With the creation of the ipod 2001 they way of listening to music changed forever. You could now store up to 100 songs digitally, meaning that you didn’t have to buy the actual album physically. The technology made it much easier for people to listen to music, and during the decade came many more new inventions.

In 2005 youtube was launched, and it was going to have a big impact on the music industry. On the platform artists could publish their music videos, and the video could now reach many more, instead of being shown on ex MTV. The pro of publishing the music video there was that they could get more recognition, and the music could reach many more. On the other hand, they didn’t earn as much money from people listening on youtube as they did when the listeners had to buy a record. Instead, the artists could collaborate with big brands to do marketing with the companies products in their music videos, which they earned money from. Another good thing is that smaller artists could publish their works on youtube, and hopefully people would listen to what they did, which could lead to them becoming famous.

Eminem, Usher, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears, 50 cent, and Coldplay are just a few of the many well-recognized artists. If you would ask today’s teenagers I think that they would recognize every single famous artist from this decade, and even though us teenagers were really small at the time, this is the kind of music we grew up to. Therefore I like this kind of music really much, it reminds me of my childhood.

One of the biggest differences between the 80’s and 00’s is the way you could listen to music. In the 80’s other than listening to music through the tv and MTV people used cassette players, radio, tape recorders recording their favorite songs from the radio and buying records to play on the gramophone. In the 00’s many new technological innovations came, such as the ipod, youtube and most important the iPhone. With the iphone you could directly download music and listen to it right away if you were connected to wifi. Which made it possible for you to listen to any song you’d like, on the spot. So in the 2000 it was much easier to listen to songs, and you weren’t dependent on things. For example, you didn’t have to listen just to the songs they played on the radio, now you could listen to every song available on the entire internett. I believe that this had a major effect on the music, and artists. Instead of the e.x radio introducing new songs and making it popular, people could now choose what they wanted to listen to, and I think that it is a huge improvement. People in the 2000’s could choose themselfs what to listen to, and the artists that had many streams on ex youtube and the itunes became popular. I think that the best thing with this is that with the help of youtube and other services artists have been discovered, and if they wouldn’t have existed, these artists would have been discovered. One of these artists is Justin Bieber. He was discovered by a record company on the platform, and just think about how big he is today.

Many of the artists active in the 80’s were also active in the 2000’s, and some are still producing music today. For example, Madonna released many hits in the 80’s, and she continued to do that through the 90’s and into the new millenium. Michael Jackson is also one of the artists that lived through multiple decades, and I think that he still would have been really popular today, but he sadly passed away in 2009. In my opinion these artists produced nothing but hit after hit, and I think that is the reason why they were/are popular from the 80’s-00’s.

The music styles and genres during both of the decades are similar. Hip hop played a major role in both, and electrified instruments were used. The biggest difference between the hip hop in the 80’s and 2000’s is that the hip hop in the 00’s contains a much worse language, and they sung/rapped about. I think it depended on how the society looked. In the 2000’s there were two wars fighting in the middle east, and the 9/11 terror attack, and the music was reflecting how people felt and their fears. I believe that the artists sung about this for two reasons. First because they wanted to express their feelings, and they could do that through their music. Another reason is that many people could relate to what they were singing about, and therefore they knew that many would listen to it if they made a song about it.

One last difference between the two decades is that in the 2000’s you could “fake it till you make it.” In the 2000’s there were more ways to fake it. There was autotune which could change someone's voice. So even if you couldn’t sing well, you could change your voice, and because of that many more could become artists. In the 80’s when the autotune didn’t exist the artists needed to be actual good singers. The people who had the look and image to become a singer, but not the voice didn’t succeed. In the 2000’s you could change that by using autotune, so the voice sounded better, and therefore people that had everything to become an artist but not the voice, could now fake it. I think that this is a little unfair. Some artists that have the whole package and have to work hard for their fame, are being run over by people faking it. It’s unfair to me that some people that don’t have what it takes to be a singer, still manage to succeed, because they are faking it. Instead, I believe that the people that actually work hard deserve the pain.

In conclusion, there are a lot of similarities between the two different decades. Same artists and music genres were popular, and I think that it depends on the fact that the 1980’s and 2000’s are not so many years apart. Although they sing the same type of music, its content is different since the society has changed. With the evolution of technological innovations it became easier for the artists to spread their songs to the public, and things such as auto tune made it possible for artists to “fake it till you make it.”