Despite being in the workforce for *mumblemumble* years, now that it’s officially summer I still feel a welling excitement for a summer vacation that I don’t actually have. While I could be nostalgic for the years spent running around outside, playing, and swimming, I’m actually more likely to long for the summers of my teen years, when my mom would go off to work leaving me alone in the blissful a/c where I could watch MTV all day long. In those days the video channel was exciting because you never knew what was coming next; but here in 2012, we’re left wondering where the M(usic) part of MTV went. Not to worry, if you’d like to recapture the essence of those lazy summer days, there are still plenty of channels where you can see music on tv.
MTV – Surprise! There is still music to be found on the original MTV… between 3 and 8am. Even then, it’s organized into themed playlists.
MTV2 – Remember how this channel was created to show videos after the original channel “evolved”? Now MTV2’s programming is mostly shows – some MTV, some 80s sitcoms – with the videos relegated to 3-8am.
MTV Hits – We’ve finally hit the video motherload! MTV Hits is all videos all the time, but music played is the HITS OF TODAY. So be warned, even if you, like me, enjoy some current popular music, it may be only about 30 minutes before your head starts to hurt.
MTV Jams – While I’m too white for this channel, not everyone will be. It’s a lot like MTV Hits but with less Katy Perry and more Rihanna.
VH1 – I always thought this was a more grown-up MTV. Now I don’t know what its focus is. There are videos from 6-10am and then an odd assortment of shows.
VH1 Classic – This is the best one so far. With about 85% of the programming being videos or music related. The rest of the time it’s movies, Saturday Night Live, and – inexplicably – Married with Children.
VH1 Soul – It’s videos. It’s also the channel equivalent of Barry White, made for a little special one on one time, if you know what I mean…
Fuse – There are a lot of video countdowns on this channel, many involving the word “sexiest.” Otherwise, it’s some music documentaries, movies, and some comedy.
Palladia – This channel is all music but its focus is on live performances. You’ll get to see a lot of footage from European music festivals which you can happily enjoy from the comfort of your couch instead of a muddy field full of people. They also show things like Unplugged, Crossroads, and some music movies.
The Cool TV – This is a channel I didn’t know I had but I’m glad I found. It’s all videos (except for some infomercials, but even these seem to be music related). Yes, some is in block programming (like Eighties at 8), but the variety is good. Their unique “hook” is that they “record audio and video at live concerts and festivals and make CDs, DVDs and USB Wristbands available for sale immediately after the bands walk off the stage” these are also available via their website.
Ovation – I would call this an arts channel, but they also have some documentaries on musical artists and old concert footage from groups like The Doors and The Who.
PBS – There are a lot of PBS channels out there, and they’ve got some interesting music programming. Look out for: Austin City Limits, Live from the Artist’s Den, Infinity Hall Live, Front Row Center, Music Voyager, and The Artist Toolbox.
And for Country Music fans:
CMT – Music videos from 4am to noon, followed by a lot of shows with the word “redneck” in the title.
CMT Pure Country – Videos
GAC (Great American Country) – A lot of Grand Old Opry related programming. Also videos, music related shows, and country cooking shows.
The Country Network – Videos
Also, be sure to explore your cable provider’s On Demand service. Yes, you have to navigate through a maze of menus but there are concerts, videos, and even karaoke.
Don’t forget the Music Choice channels too. They may not be videos, but they’re a lot like satellite radio with each channel having a very specific focus. You can see the artist and song right on the screen in case you’re wondering what it is, and even better, there are no DJs and no commercials, only banner ads.