1988 Countdown: Demographic Breakdown

Okay, now that we’re one-quarter of the way through the countdown, let’s break down some of the numbers for those top 25 videos (not counting the bonus clips from Def Leppard and U2):

United States: 14
England: 6
US/UK joint ventures: 2
Australia: 2
New Zealand: 1

White: 21
Black: 4

Male: 17
Female: 8

Solo acts: 13
Groups: 12
Number of solo acts better known for their previous groups: 4
Number of groups with members better known for their previous solo work: 1

posted 6 November 2008 in 1988 and tagged . 1 comment

One Comment Thus Far on 1988 Countdown: Demographic Breakdown

  1. Chris M. Says:

    White: 21
    Black: 4

    This is the most interesting piece of data, given MTV’s sad history in the ’80s of playing videos by black acts. And 1988, the year Yo! MTV Raps premiered, was something of an inflection point.

    Broadening “black” music to include R&B and Whitney-style dance-pop, I remember vividly that even that stuff was rare on the channel, Prince and Michael notwithstanding, as late as 1985. I recall being surprised when they started playing Whitney’s “How Will I Know” and Lisa Lisa’s “Head to Toe” in the spring of ’86.

    It’s been well-reported that the twin forces of “Beat It” and “Little Red Corvette” were what forced MTV into playing black music back in 1983; but what’s not well-reported is that they continued to regard those two acts as exceptions to a hidebound rule for a few more years after that.

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