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Television pictures accompanying a song.

A phenomenon that began to gain popularity in the 1970s, but really hit it big in the 1980s after the start of cable channel MTV, which was at least initially devoted to almost non-stop music videos.

Early music videos consisted of little more than film of the band performing, often taken from actual concerts, just providing a medium for getting songs played on television. After they became more popular, videos began to get more creative. Michael Jackson tested one extreme of the music video by extending some of his into short movies, in some cases over 20 minutes long, the most memorable being the one that put a story behind Thriller. Peter Gabriel made a classic mostly-Claymation video for his song Sledgehammer, while Dire Straits explored computer animation in their video for Money for Nothing.

Popularity breeds competition, and so did MTV's. Music videos reached the broadcast networks with Friday Night Videos, and MTV faced more direct competition from cable channel VH1. Later there was even more competition from MuchMusic, The Box, and others.

MTV has grown to include more and more "original" programming over the years, so much so that they started a second channel, MTV2, because there wasn't enough time left in the broadcast day of the original channel for just showing music videos.

You guessed it, more work from The Nodeshell Rescue Team