If you’re young, here’s what you missed about the 80s: MTV used to air music videos and not much else. Madonna was the boss of everything they did. Okay, Michael Jackson, too. But mostly Madonna.
So when her 1986 album True Blue arrived—nobody said “dropped“ back then because you had to go out to a record store where the album had literally “arrived” and pay money for the thing in order to own it on vinyl, cassette or, if you were into technology, compact disc—MTV created a contest where viewers made videos for one of the singles and the winner got $25,000. In fact, the winners got to go on MTV and sit down with a gum-smacking Madonna–clearly in the middle of shooting her soon-to-flop movie Who’s That Girl–and thrill at the moment when she pulled the $25K check out from between her breasts.
Twenty-five years into the future, you don’t have to have a fancy camera or editing equipment to make a music video. You can just turn on your phone. Hence, the 25th anniversary True Blue video contest’s stakes are much lower. If you win you get an autographed copy of the album. It’s Madonna who signs it, so there’s that. But MTV won’t care one bit. So if you want $25,000 for your efforts you’re going to have to build a time machine, Michael J.Fox yourself back to the 80s and kick ass with secret laptop weaponry that nobody else will own yet.