The Internet Archive Rescues MTV News’ Web Site, Making 460,000+ of Its Pages Searchable Again

Image via Inter­net Archive

Last month, MTV News’ web site went miss­ing. Or at least almost all of it did, includ­ing an archive of sto­ries going back to 1997. To some of us, and espe­cial­ly to those of us old enough to have grown up watch­ing MTV on actu­al tele­vi­sion, that won’t sound like an espe­cial­ly long time. But if you remem­ber the hit sin­gles of that year — “Bare­ly Breath­ing,” “Semi-Charmed Life,” “MMM­Bop,” the Princess Diana-memo­ri­al­iz­ing “Can­dle in the Wind” — you’ll start to feel a bit more his­tor­i­cal dis­tance. And if you con­sid­er all that’s hap­pened in not just music but enter­tain­ment in gen­er­al over the past 27 years, cov­er­age of that peri­od of great change in pop­u­lar cul­ture and tech­nol­o­gy will seem invalu­able.

It will thus come as a relief to hear that, despite Para­mount Glob­al’s cor­po­rate deci­sion to purge MTV News’ online con­tent (as well as that of Com­e­dy Cen­tral, TVLand and CMT), much of the site has been res­ur­rect­ed on the Inter­net Archive, which now offers “a search­able index of 460,575 web pages pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished at”

So reports Vari­ety’s Todd Span­gler, not­ing that the con­tent “is not the full com­ple­ment of what was pub­lished over the span of more than two decades. In addi­tion, some images in the archived pages of MTV News on the ser­vice are unavail­able. But the new col­lec­tion at least ensures, for the time being, that much of MTV News’ arti­cles remain acces­si­ble in some form.”

MTV News itself shut down in May of last year. It had begun in 1987 as a seg­ment called “This Week in Rock” anchored by a print jour­nal­ist named Kurt Loder. “I was work­ing at Rolling Stone and every­body that wrote about rock music, as it was called at the time, had a very down point of view about MTV,” Loder recalls in an inter­view with that mag­a­zine. But choos­ing to throw him­self into this new form of info­tain­ment gave him the chance to get to know the likes of Madon­na, Prince, and Nir­vana (the death of whose singer Kurt Cobain became one of his career-defin­ing sto­ries). “You could just fly off any­where you want­ed and do all this stuff,” Loder says. “It was a great time. I’m not sure it’ll ever be back, but some­thing else will.” What­ev­er it is, may the Inter­net Archive be here to pre­serve it.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Watch the First Two Hours of MTV’s Inau­gur­al Broad­cast (August 1, 1981)

All the Music Played on MTV’s 120 Min­utes: A 2,500-Video Youtube Playlist

The Com­plete Col­lec­tion Of MTV’s Head­bangers Ball: Watch 1,215 Videos from the Hey­day of Met­al Videos

Enter “The Mag­a­zine Rack,” the Inter­net Archive’s Col­lec­tion of 34,000 Dig­i­tized Mag­a­zines

Watch John­ny Cash’s Poignant Final Inter­view & His Last Per­for­mance: “Death, Where Is Thy Sting?” (2003)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities and the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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