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MTV Iggy brings global music to stateside listeners

October 13, 2011 |  5:00 am

MTV's new brand hopes to link U.S. audiences to imports and trends with weekly series, website.

4Minute

K-pop, Norwegian heavy metal, Bollywood and Brazilian baile funk are just a few of the international sounds that MTV is hoping to connect to American listeners with a new multi-platform brand, the network announced on Thursday.

MTV Iggy, which the network will officially launch on Friday, will serve as this hub for global music and trends that will expose international acts through the MTV brand. 

“For a very longtime the world has been inspired by American pop music and pop culture. And now we want to do the reverse. We want to bring global artists into the US,” said Nusrat Durrani, senior vice president and general manager of MTV World. “We all know the world is becoming a much more global place … and music discovery is increasingly happening on social platforms.”

Crowd in times sq 2

Durrani said the goal of developing Iggy is to serve as “an entry point for emerging [international] bands.”

MTV Iggy content will be available online, on-air and through social media destinations such as Twitter and Facebook.

The network will also premiere a weekly, 30-minute showcase, “The MTV Iggy Show,” on Monday. The show will spotlight new music and artists from around the world and air on mtvU, with other editions of the series airing on MTV, MTV2 and online. 

“The launch of MTV Iggy reinforces our commitment to supporting an eclectic mix of artists and further extends our music strategy,” Amy Doyle, the network’s executive in charge of music and talent, said in a statement. “Great new artists from around the world will have a home base in the U.S, our audiences will discover fresh sounds on MTV, and hopefully we will create great opportunities for collaboration with U.S. acts.”

Durrani said the brand’s first major initiative is their best new band in the world campaign which features 10 breakthrough acts from countries including the U.K., Australia, Jamaica, Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.  The winner, determined by fan votes, will perform on the series.

“Bands are finding fan bases in unlikely places. We want to be a part of their success stories in the U.S.,” Durrani said. “American pop culture should be open to more what’s going on in the world. There’s no better connective tissue than music.”

In recent years, MTV has garnered a sizable amount of criticism after the network began distancing itself from music videos and gravitating toward scripted and reality programming. Popular shows such as “Jersey Shore," “Teen Mom” and "Awkward" have taken over real estate once devoted to videos. The network even dropped the word "music" from its logo a few years ago.

Stephen K. Friedman, president of MTV, previously told Pop & Hiss the network is working aggressively to identify new ways to musically engage their demographic of viewers who don't "wait very long to see a video."

“Our audience is discovering music everywhere. We’d love to have a music franchise that’s a big hit," he said. "The bar has been raised for the TV franchise that’s going to get them engaged. I don’t know that we’ve got the answer yet.”

MTV Iggy is the latest in a string of initiatives the network has introduced as a way to reclaim music fans. The network launched an algorithm-based site called Music Meter last year which allows users to explore 100 of the most buzzed about up-and-coming artists on any given day, premiered a revamped version of “120 Minutes” and introduced indie music hub the Hive.

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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Twitter.com / gerrickkennedy

Photos: (Top) Korean Pop girl group, 4Minute, takes the stage for their first US appearance at the MTV Iggy K-Pop showcase at MTV Times Square Studios.(Bottom) Thousands of fans line up outside MTV’s Times Sq. studios to catch a glimpse of the MTV Iggy K-Pop Showcase. Credit: MTV Iggy.

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