MTV’s MTVhive.com has launched another new program, “Weird Vibes,” that aims to replicate MTV’s original format: music videos, interviews with indie and underground artists, and a title sequence pulled from the network’s 1986 imaging.
MTVhive’s managing editor, Jessica Robertson, tells WSJ Weird Vibes is viewed as a filter and tastemaker in a new music landscape—basically what MTV used to be: “We have an audience that comes to MTV for the reality shows, not necessarily the music. But we wanted to try and capture that audience coming to our site, passionate about music, but not knowing where to turn.”
Last week’s inaugural 30-minute episode of Weird Vibes featured videos and appearances by emerging indie-rock acts like Vivian Girls, Best Coast, WU LYF and Shabazz Palaces, interspersed with interviews with young artists about being labeled a “buzz band.” It also educates viewers on Indie Rock’s sub-genres, like Lo-Fi, Emo, Indie Pop, Garage, etc…
The show is wrapped in a Day-glo aesthetic that evokes MTV’s earliest video promos. See the first show here
Weird Vibes was conceived by 28-year-old Shirley Braha: “When I was an intern at MTV in the summer of 2003, I dreamed of one day incorporating cool music back into MTV somehow.”
Indie rock is Braha’s forte. She started her own record label at 16 and eventually launched the short-lived but much-loved music-video showcase “New York Noise” on what was then Mayor Bloomberg’s public-access channel, NYC TV. And there are a good number of NYC Indie bands that are now quite popular. You’ll hear them quite a bit on the Sirius XMU channel and stations like KEXP-FM Seattle and KCRW-FM LA: Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective, MGMT and Dirty Projectors.
Now at MTV, Braha is no longer constrained to focusing on music created in the Greater New York area. She hopes it will help herald the music-video renaissance: “There was a moment in the mid-2000s when there weren’t many avenues for music videos to get exposure. But with increased bandwidth and blogs multiplying, the music video has definitely seen a comeback,” she told WSJ.
RBR-TVBR observation: Indeed, MTV was a major force in launching fairly unknown Modern Rock and “New Wave” bands in the 80’s. Perhaps the network’s dropping of that ball actually has led to the stale music we hear today on Alternative radio stations – there is no “mainstream incubator” anymore for Indie bands to make it big. Sure, there are College and non-comm stations playing these tunes, but listenership is limited. YouTube has helped revive music videos to a degree, but getting them on TV again will be the big leg up. If Weird Vibes gets a big following, we can see MTV certainly opening up a full channel for it—now that we’re in the “500-channel universe.”