Goodbye TRL…Does This Mean No More Music on MTV?

After ten years, thousands of videos and squealing young girls, MTV has said goodbye to “Total Request Live”. Was this the only show which still showed music videos on MTV? I haven’t watched in so long that I wasn’t sure.

MTV

Credit: MTV

From the Associated Press:

Carson Daly chatted with Eminem, Beyonce gave a show-stopping performance, girls shrieked at the sight of Justin Timberlake and hundreds of fans lined up outside in Times Square for a glimpse at superstars.

For few hours, it seemed like old times at MTV’s “Total Request Live” — back when the show was not only music’s most powerful force but a dominant part of pop culture. Unfortunately, it took the show’s demise to make it relevant again.

MTV pulled the plug on its most influential franchise Sunday night following years of declining ratings, but not before marking the occasion with celebration and nostalgia, as some of pop’s biggest stars paid respects to the show that helped launch their careers.

“I feel like they’re kinda tearin’ down my home,” Eminem said via phone as he and Daly, “TRL’s” first and most famous host, commiserated during the live, three-hour broadcast from the show’s headquarters.

“It’s a bittersweet moment,” Diddy, the show’s most frequent guest, said as he cried mock tears and gave one of the final waves to the Times Square audience from “TRL’s” glass-encased studios above.

MTV has had other shows that will be remembered for changing the musical landscape, including “Yo! MTV Raps,” but perhaps none greater than “TRL.” It made its debut in 1998, just as the teen pop phenomenon was about to explode, when the rap-rock hybrid was bubbling over, and groups like Destiny’s Child were considered emerging acts.

While its concept of a video countdown show wasn’t new, its model — which included a live show, an audience full of enthusiastic kids and viewer feedback — helped energize the teen fan base and made them music’s tastemakers. Soon, “TRL” would become an integral part of boosting the careers of superstars like Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Eminem and Christina Aguilera. It’s no coincidence that their biggest sales, and pop’s huge sales boom in the new millennium, came during the show’s most potent era.

“If it wasn’t for ‘TRL,’ I don’t think I would have this launching pad for my career,” said a cigar-smoking Kid Rock, who came to prominence as a raucous rap-rocker on “TRL” with his baudy hit “Bawitdaba” but has since morphed into a country-rock career that is more CMT than MTV.

“It’s a big loss, not having this as a platform to promote our music,” said 50 Cent in the show’s waning moments.

In its prime, “TRL” had “American Idol”-like power to influence sales on the pop charts, and became a required stop, not only for those on the road to pop stardom, but those in TV, movies and even sports superstars. Tom Cruise and Will Smith made stops before a new movie; all-star athletes like Derek Jeter mingled with the teens; even legends like Madonna and Michael Jackson made sure they got “TRL” face-time.

From the New York Times:

“TRL,” the afternoon video show that has been an MTV flagship for 10 years, came to an end on Sunday night with the network’s version of a New Orleans funeral. For three hours, a party of pop stars, former hosts and thousands of ecstatic young fans celebrated its legacy with shouts, hits, bling and tears.

For the 2,247th and last episode of “TRL,” Beyoncé sang and danced in the studio, Fall Out Boy played on a temporary stage on Broadway, 50 Cent apparently arrived just in time for his performance (although he made sure to swing by the press room earlier), and Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Nelly shared a stage like a chummy hip-hop brat pack.

“This is like a big high school reunion in a way,” Mr. Timberlake told Carson Daly, the show’s former host, who had returned for the finale. “We kind of all grew up together.”

Not all guests had such wholesome toasts. Kid Rock entered the studio with a glass of beer, a fragrant cigar and a big grin. “I used to come here and they would say, ‘Hey, man, you’ve got to put the cigar out,’” he said. “Well, guess what? It’s over; I ain’t putting the cigar out.”

It would not be “TRL” without Diddy, the hip-hop producer and indefatigable self-promoter who has been the show’s most frequent guest. Making his 38th appearance, he watched a montage of his previous visits and had just begun to speak when Mr. Daly noticed that his eyes were watering behind his dark shades.

“Are you crying?” Mr. Daly asked. “You’re a good actor — I can’t tell.”

Diddy expressed his love for everyone on the show, down to the crew and cameramen, and later managed to plug his new fragrance and a forthcoming Notorious B.I.G. biopic in 15 seconds.

“TRL,” which began as “Total Request Live” but has long since been known by its initials, was an old-fashioned video variety show, with viewers voting on the most popular songs of the day. At its peak, in 1999 and 2000, when it was in perfect symbiosis with the teenage pop of Britney Spears, ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys, the show had an average of more than 700,000 viewers a day, according to Nielsen.

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