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MTV, an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs.
MTV has had a profound impact on the music industry and popular culture. Slogans such as “I want my MTV” and “MTV is here” were embedded in public thought, the concept of the VJ was popularized, the idea of a dedicated video-based outlet for music was introduced, and both artists and fans found a central location for concert music events, news, and promotion. MTV has also been referenced countless times in popular culture by musicians, other TV channels and television program, films, and books.
MTV has spawned numerous sister channels in the U.S. and affiliated channels internationally, some of which, like the former MTV Tempo now known as TEMPO Networks, have gone independent. MTV’s moral influence on young people, including issues related to censorship and social activism, has been a subject of intense debate for years. MTV’s choice to focus on non-music programming has also been contested relentlessly since the 1990s, demonstrating the channel’s previous impact on popular culture. MTV has since largely departed from music programming and is now known for producing mostly teen-oriented programs.