Turn it up to 11: tech's contributions to rock and roll

Many of rock's greatest moments hinge on shifts in music technology. Here is a chronology of some of the highlights.

Turn it up to 11: tech's contributions to rock and roll prev next


The Music Video (1981)

The Buggles' song "Video Killed the Radio Star" was the first music video played on MTV — and the one millionth video played.

MTV was the first television channel to offer 24 hours of music programming daily. (Yes, MTV used to be all music videos. Imagine that.)

As music video fever swept the nation, rock-and-roll marketing moved beyond the traditional two-pronged attack of albums and concerts; if you had a hit single — or wanted one — you needed a video to go with it. Fans were just as likely to do their rocking with the TV on as with the radio on, so artists had to adapt to the new format.

This music video did much to shape the legacy of performers like Michael Jackson, whose 14 minute-long "Thriller" music video cost a record-setting $500,000. It also hampered the careers of performers whose videos didn't catch the public's attention. One example: 1980s rocker Billy Squier, whose career went into eclipse after a nation of middle-school metal enthusiasts watched him writhe on the ground dressed in "Flashdance"-style ripped workout apparel in the video "Rock Me Tonite."

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Turn it up to 11: tech's contributions to rock and roll

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