Fuse puts ‘music’ back into ‘music television’

Jessica Sprowl

Amy Mathews, a senior communications major, interned with Fuse, an all-music network,

Credit: Ben Breier

When it comes to music networks, some believe the lines have become blurred between real music networks and networks who primarily air reality shows and little actual music.

The three main music networks in this debate are MTV, VH1 (which is owned by MTV networks) and the fairly new network, Fuse, which airs locally on Time Warner digital cable.

“Fuse shows what MTV lost – music videos,” said Amy Mathews, a senior communications major.

Mathews, who interned with Fuse this summer, believes showing music is the whole purpose of a music channel.

“A lot of people who worked for MTV networks, like VH1, Comedy Central and MTV, left and went to work at Fuse.”

Fuse is an “all-music viewer network,” and does not have any reality shows on its network. It plays music videos and concerts and features artist and band interviews.

Mathews said Fuse is more geared towards punk, indie, metal and rock music, but it does have shows like “Hip Hop Confidential” and “Daily Download,” a program like MTV’s “TRL,” which features the top 10 most downloaded songs rather than most requested.

Mathews does not know anyone who watches reality shows like MTV’s “The Real World” anymore.

“As much as they (MTV and VH1) say they are reality shows, they’re not. (‘The Real World’) is just so predictable (now).”

Mike Samber, a freshman education major, agrees with Mathews.

“I can’t stand ‘Laguna Beach’ and ‘Real World,'” he said. “They’re pointless. Watching 20 minutes of girls bitching at one another is just ridiculous.”

Rose Puntel, a junior psychology major, is one student who does enjoy watching the reality shows found on MTV and VH1, especially if there is nothing else on television appealing to her. She, too, would like to see more music.

“I would probably watch a station like Fuse more than MTV if it was on regular cable.”

Director of VH1 Creative, Grant Stuart believes Fuse will eventually have to do something else.

“I think right now, Fuse does play more music, but later on, economically, I think it will have to change,” he said.

VH1, which reaches 90 million viewers and coined the term “celeb-reality,” is more focused on pop culture and nostalgia, Stuart said.

Joseph Seaman, a senior electronic media production major, believes VH1 and MTV are more diversified with their music.

“They (MTV and VH1) give you more of a creative outlet,” he said.

Seaman, who interned this summer with LOGO/VH1 (owned by MTV networks), believes the way the networks are run benefits them, or the networks would not be as successful as they are now.

“I don’t think Fuse is a realistic network,” he said. “Just showing music doesn’t leave them a lot of room to grow.”

Seaman also believes MTV and VH1 create niches for each individual’s tastes. MTV has many channels, where as Fuse only has one channel.

“MTV is always expanding and looking for a new show,” he said.

Contact features correspondent Jessica Sprowl at [email protected].