MTV Launches Iggy, Giving World's Bands a Platform in America
The music world got a little smaller Thursday when MTV World announced the launch of MTV Iggy, a multi-platform global music brand that brings artists and pop culture from around the world to America.
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MTV Iggy content will be available across multiple platforms, including online, on-air and social media outlets. On October 17th, MTV Iggy will premiere its first episode of "The MTV Iggy Show," a 30-minute, weekly roundup of the new music from around the world. It will air on mtvU at 8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT. Other editions of the show will air on MTV television networks including MTV and MTV2 as well as MTV.com.
Why bring foreign artists to American consumers with more than enough homegrown music? "There is potential," Nusrat Durrani, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MTV World, tells Billboard.biz. "Beyond just the financial potential, there is an opportunity here for us to diversify the pop culture vernacular."
Besides, artists want to reach American audiences. "Most artists are interested in being seen in the U.S. They've never had this platform before."
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For the launch, MTV Iggy created Best New Band in the World, a program that features 10 acts from countries including the U.K., Australia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Pakistan, U.S.A. and South Korea. The MTV Iggy staff started with 2,000 artists and whittled them down to the 10 nominees that will receive fans' votes at the Best Band in the World web site. The winter will have the opportunity to perform at an MTV Iggy Live taping in MTV's Times Square studio and be promoted on MTV U.S.A. platforms. Since MTVIggy.com launched in beta in late September, the competition has already attracted votes from 159 countries and territories.
MTV Iggy is very much the result of today's Internet tools. In the past ten years, digital platforms and mobile and social have changed how people communicate. "The world is now talking to itself. Music discovery is not just happening on TV, it's happening on mobile, on social," says Durrani. "Kids are finding music all over the place."
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Indeed, pop music knows no bounds these days. Durrani points out that K-Pop artists 4Minute and G.NA were appearing at MTV's Manhattan studios as we spoke and throngs of Korean girls were screaming on the street outside. One of the Best New Band in the World nominees is 2NE1, a K-Pop band from South Korea that has attracted the interest of Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am. "There's a little Korean girl inside all of us," says Durrani.
As for the name Iggy, Durrani explains it came out of focus groups MTV ran with students. "Iggy just rose to the top. It was meant to be a nonsensical name."
In addition to the web site, you can follow MTV Iggy at its Facebook page and Twitter account (@MTVIggy).