MTV's new president, Sean Atkins, announced at this year's upfront presentation for advertisers that it would "put the M back in MTV," ushering back the music programming that the 35-year-old network used to be known for.
But digital media companies like Vevo and Vice claim that even though MTV has forsaken music programming for years, youth interest never waned. It just went online. With music being the most popular category on YouTube and the global phenomenon of HBO's music-video style documentary "Lemonade" by Beyonce, they may be right.
"Music has never been dead," said Ciel Hunter, executive creative director for Vice. "The trick, and the need, was a different platform for it."
Now that digital media companies are the go-to place for music for today's youth, it may be difficult for MTV to take the mantle back.
In April, MTV announced upcoming shows that include a weekly live music program called "Wonderland" and a reboot of "MTV Unplugged." An untitled Mark Burnett project will allow hip-hop artists to perform in front of music executives for a chance to be signed. It's also developing "Studio 24," where top artists will be challenged to make a record in 24 hours with a guest collaborator, and "Year One," a look back at a breakthrough year in an artist's career. MTV declined to comment for this article.