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In 1970, Philadelphia-based disc jockey Bob Whitney created The Now Explosion, a television series filmed in Atlanta and broadcast in syndication to other local television stations throughout the United States.The series featured promotional clips from various popular artists, but was canceled by its distributor in 1971.Several music programs originating outside of the US, including Australia's Countdown and the United Kingdom's Top of the Pops, which had initially aired music videos in lieu of performances from artists who were not available to perform live, began to feature them regularly by the mid-1970s.

In April 2016, MTV announced it would start to return to its original music roots with the reintroduction of the classic MTV series MTV Unplugged.

The Beatles had used music videos to promote their records starting in the mid-1960s.

The creative use of music videos within their 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, particularly the performance of the song "Can't Buy Me Love", led MTV later on June 26, 1999 to honor the film's director Richard Lester with an award for "basically inventing the music video".

As of July 2015, approximately 92,188,000 US households (79.2% of households with television) have received MTV.

Several earlier concepts for music video-based television programming had been around since the early 1960s.The channel, which featured video disc jockeys, signed a deal with US Cable in 1978 to expand its audience from retail to cable television.

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