The tech blogs have been buzzing about MTV’s launch earlier this week of its own Hulu-like video site at MTVMusic.com. The network will never be a "music channel" again (they switched to 24-hour coverage of vapid people making out in a hot tub long ago). But they redeemed their dignity online by uploading 16,000 videos, with MTV concert footage and Unplugged performances, too. There is a vintage videos section with a trove of gems (Bowie’s "Space Oddity"! Gang of Four’s "Is It Love"! Dinosaur Jr!), but we’re kind of bummed that we can’t find some our ’90s favorites in the search engine (no Psychedelic Furs, no Swervedriver, no Green Day videos from the Dookie album). The site only makes us nostalgic for 120 Minutes.
Somewhere, buried behind the DVDs and Simpsons figurines on our media shelf, we have a VHS tape (yes, a VHS tape) filled with videos from MTV’s 120 Minutes. Any child of the ’90s remembers Dave Kendall and Matt Pinfield offering all the best of plaid-draped grunge, punk and new wave on the channel’s alternative video music show. We remember watching Nirvana’s "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video premiere there. 120 Minutes was cancelled in 2000 and moved to MTV’s sister stations but it was never the same.
Music community site ATRL.net has a 120 Minutes archive, listing some playlists from the show, and this random Tumblr aggregates some of the videos, which illustrates MTV Music’s problem: YouTube, which has most of the vintage videos available on their site. Although MTV might have some exclusive copyrighted material, especially with the Unplugged and concert footage clips, YouTube is still going to kick its butt in obscure music videos stock. MTV says they are uploading more videos by the day.
What we’d really like to see is MTV Music produce an online, 120 Minutes-like show with Mr. Pinfield as the host. He’s currently DJing on broadcast radio (on 101.9 the New York Rock Experience) and Sirius radio playing "Whatever He Wants." But surely MTV has the dollars to bring the bald guy back. Please?