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MTV Finland MTV Finland
by Thanos Kalamidas
Issue 16
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MTV Finland
MTV
2005

Why did a small country like Finland stop transmitting MTV Scandinavia and start MTV Finland? This happened something like six months ago and even the Finnish prime minister was invited on one of the programs and he called it a very good step for the Finnish music scene. But let’s take things one by one.

Firstly, the MTV network of channels is totally commercial, so obviously somewhere in the central administration they realized that a lot of adverts were coming from Finland so they decided to do something about it. The second excuse might be the language barrier, but that is a poor excuse if you think that the majority of the people who watch MTV are young and do speak English. MTV Finland has added Finnish subtitles to about 10% of its programs, but the majority of the programs are contemporary music videos with NO subtitles, so we return to the first excuse that make more sense.

MTV is a successful commercial television channel with international influence in the music scene. Over the last ten year at least, most of the pop stars are creations of MTV, such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, while some rock groups like Aerosmith owe a great deal to MTV; Madonna and Michael Jackson probably owe them everything. These artists would not have had the exposure they enjoy today if it hadn't been for the heavy promotion from MTV and I’m not going to judge their music.

Pink Floyd and The Beatles became popular by touring around the world, giving concerts in every single city, while the only thing Madonna has to do toay is film a video clip that exposes her meat, pretending to jump up and down like a ballerina, so instead of listening to her music you are thinking what the hell is that? In the end she succeed, she sells thousand of records, sorry CDs, nowadays and adds more billions to her already fat bank account.

Despite all that, MTV was a source of information regarding contemporary and pop music. In my late forties having grown up with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, I feel comfortable listening to Pink Floyd, Cat Stevens, Thin Lizzy, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin and in my very private moments I’m listening to jazz from the '50s and '60s and lately rap and hip-hop music. How did this happen? MTV, of course.

Even though a radio fanatic myself, I often checked MTV to see what’s going on and somehow I kept informed on latest things. MTV showed me rap music and somehow MTV forced me to listen carefully to the lyrics and understand what’s really behind these monotonous rhythms. Imagine that now I have rap CDs, including a couple with 50 Cent; I have even gone so far to realize the connection between rap music and R&B, and all that thanks to MTV.

But what’s going on with MTV Finland? There is an active Finnish music scene and I’m not only talking about Lordi, The Rasmus and the HIM. There are a lot of groups in all kinds of music, so do they show that? No! They show video clips from the good old 1970s! They show video clips of ABBA and this morning they had music videos from the '80s and Billy Joel. Do you think a seventeen-year-old viewer - their main target audience - even knows who the hell is Billy Joel? At exactly the same time the more contemporary Scandinavian MTV in the neighboring Sweden had Britney Spear’s latest video and you never know they might find out in MTV Finland that there is a blonde rapper celled Eminem.

And that is only the music videos, when it comes to the programs - the ones that somebody felt needed subtitles - it is 'The Osbournes' for the hundredth time and this is after the private channel had already shown it a few times in the last three years.

What’s really going on with MTV Finland if the quality has dropped so badly? Well the adverts are still there, but I’m not sure for how long. It will come the day when the seventeen-year-old will find out that there is mre to life than buying ringtones and ‘Like a Virgin’ is not the latest Madonna hit, so they will just …stop watching MTV Finland.

The audience disappears, so then the adverts will stop. Do the administrators of MTV internationally believe that Finns are so naïve and so behind that they don’t get any other information? Do they believe that Finns are idiots and they will eat whatever they serve them or have they decided to get the money fast and reap the fruit of MTV Finland as long as it lasts? The last answer sounds more likely, but is that the future of MTV?


   
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