Thanks to decades of corporation-sponsored hagiographies, the occasional terrific independent book (Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks’ oral history I Want My MTV being the best), and, yes, their seismic and lasting cultural impact, MTV is synonymous with the music video. But during the early days the channel was far from the only place to watch them. Just like any other pop-culture phenomenon, MTV found legions of imitators eager to siphon off some of its success. While most of these imitators were born out of the desire to score a quick buck, they also filled a need; MTV rolled out to non-major markets somewhat slowly, leaving open a gap that was filled by both cable upstarts and major networks.
No other network devoted themselves solely to music videos. [...]