80s music had a little something for everyone. The pop genre of 80s music was led by artists like Duran Duran, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Bruce Sprigsteen, Whitney Houston and U2.
The metal scene in 80s music started out with the hard driving bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath and then moved a little more mainstream with the likes of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Poison.
Later in the decade, 80s rap artists started taking over both the hot 100 and 80s dance charts.
And of course what would a decade of music be without the popular teen bands. In 80s Music this was artists like Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and The New Kids on The Block.
In 1981, the U.S. video channel MTV launched, airing "Video Killed the Radio Star" and beginning an era of 24-hour-a-day music on television. With this new outlet for material, the music video would, by the mid-1980s, grow to play a central role in popular music marketing. Many important acts of this period, most notably Adam and the Ants, Duran Duran and Madonna, owed a great deal of their success to the skillful construction and seductive appeal of their videos.
Two key innovations in the development of the modern music video were the development of relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use video recording and editing equipment, and the development of visual effects created with techniques such as image compositing. The advent of high-quality color videotape recorders and portable video cameras coincided with the DIY ethos of the New Wave era, enabling many pop acts to produce promotional videos quickly and cheaply, in comparison to the relatively high costs of using film. However, as the genre developed, music video directors increasingly turned to 35 mm film as the preferred medium, while others mixed film and video. During the 1980s, music videos had become de rigueur for most recording artists. The phenomenon that was famously parodied by BBC television comedy program Not The Nine O'Clock News who produced a spoof music video "Nice Video, Shame About The Song". The genre was also parodied by Frank Zappa in his satirical 1984 song "Be In My Video". Its increasing dominance had earlier been critiqued by Joe Jackson in his 1980 song "Pretty Boys" (which still referred to videos as "promos").
In this period, directors and the acts they worked with began to explore and expand the form and style of the genre, using more sophisticated effects in their videos, mixing film and video, and adding a storyline or plot to the music video. Occasionally videos were made in a non-representational form, in which the musical artist was not shown. Because music videos are mainly intended to promote the artist, such videos are comparatively rare; three early 1980s examples are Bruce Springsteen's "Atlantic City", directed by Arnold Levine, David Mallet's video for David Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure", and Ian Emes' video for Duran Duran's "The Chauffeur". Other notable later examples of the non-representational style include Bill Konersman's innovative 1987 video for Prince's "Sign o' the Times" – influenced by Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" clip, it featured only the text of the song's lyrics—the video for George Michael's "Freedom 90" (1990), in which Michael himself refused to appear, forcing director David Fincher to substitute top fashion models in his place.
In 1983, the most successful and influential music video of all time was released — the nearly 14-minute-long video for Michael Jackson's song "Thriller". The video set new standards for production, having cost US$500,000 to film. That video, along with earlier videos by Jackson for his songs "Billie Jean" and "Beat It", also was instrumental in getting music videos by African American artists played on MTV. Earlier, such videos had been rare: according to MTV, this was because it initially conceived itself as a rock-music-oriented channel, although musician Rick James was outspoken in his criticism of the cable channel, claiming in 1983 that MTV's refusal to air the music video for his song "Super Freak" and clips by other African-American performers was "blatant racism".
The Canadian music channel MuchMusic was launched in 1984. In 1984, MTV also launched the MTV Video Music Awards (later to be known as the VMA's), an annual awards event that would come to underscore MTV's importance in the music industry.
In 1985, MTV launched the channel VH1 (then known as "VH-1: Video Hits One"), featuring softer music, and meant to cater to an older demographic than MTV. MTV Europe was launched in 1987, and MTV Asia in 1991. Another important development in music videos was the launch of The Chart Show on the UK's Channel 4 in 1986. This was a program which consisted entirely of music videos (the only outlet many videos had on British TV at the time), without presenters. Instead, the videos were linked by then state of the art computer graphics. The show moved to ITV in 1989.
The video for the 1985 Dire Straits song "Money for Nothing" made pioneering use of computer animation, and helped make the song an international hit. Ironically, the song itself was a wry comment on the music-video phenomenon, sung from the point of view of an appliance deliveryman both drawn to and repelled by the outlandish images and personalities that appeared on MTV. In 1986, Peter Gabriel's song "Sledgehammer" used special effects and animation techniques developed by British studio Aardman Animation. The video for "Sledgehammer" would go on to be a phenomenal success and win nine MTV Video Music Awards.
In 1988, the MTV show Yo! MTV Raps debuted; the show helped to bring hip hop music to a mass audience for the first time.