When it launched 40 years ago, on August 1, 1981, MTV signaled a new era where artists forged deeper connections with fans through music videos, on-air interviews, live performances, and contests. While there’s been tremendous change in every aspect of the music industry since, I’d argue that nothing has sparked the same outpouring from fans and reshaped how artists connect with their followers quite like MTV did.
Until now, with cryptocurrency.
We are just starting to see artists of all levels experiment with their own cryptocurrencies to tap into new revenue streams and deeper fan engagement. Performers are embracing it as an alternative to the big tech-owned social media platforms that have been profiting from their labor over the past decade. And much like MTV’s early years, cryptocurrency has the same independent game-changing spirit to shake up the system and the potential to massively shift pop culture.
From its inception, MTV understood the symbiotic relationship between artists and fans and helped drive a significant change in the industry’s business model, whereby fans expected interaction with their favorite artists. During my time at MTV (and sister net CMT) from 2010 to 2018, the brand continued to expand beyond music, but that fundamental understanding was ever present in early experimentation across digital platforms.