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College students and indie music artists do not get enough credit for the work they do. With this shared under appreciation, there is an unspoken agreement between them: college students promote and support indie artists while the artists create the new music college students need for intellectual inspiration when they can’t get it from top 100 radio.
The mtvU Woodie Awards honor this exchange by bringing these two underdogs together to meet in the spotlight and give them the recognition they deserve.
Without being familiar with the Woodie Awards one would think it was a show honoring the best porn of the year.
The name of the awards show stems from a tradition that was originally started by Seattle based Sub Pop record label, which would give a wood record recognition to artists whose albums never went gold or platinum, but was received well by the audience and made an impact on listeners.
The mtvU network caters directly to students by being broadcast in over 750 college campuses and remains one of the only music video channels that actually plays music videos 24/7. Though college students listen to a variety of music, the emerging music theme is at the core of mtvU.
“You can find what is about to break big, by just walking from dorm room to dorm and listening to the music and seeing what college kids are living their lives to,” said Ross Martin, the head of programming at mtvU.
Students have dug up these artists from the underground and brought them into the mainstream, increasing album sales and sparking sold out tours for the artists.
Artists such as Modest Mouse, Coheed and Cambria, Fall Out Boy, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Killers, gained a lot more recognition and found mainstream success with the passionate response students had to their music.
“When a student takes the stage and gives an award to a winner, it’s a moment you can’t script. It’s truly something special,” said Martin.
Prior to holding a live concert and ceremony, the Woodie awards started as just a show with VJs and students barging in on the artists at rehearsal studios and in some cases restaurants (Coheed and Cambria received that honor in 2004) and pleasantly surprising them with the awards.
Now, with the awards being held at Roseland Ballroom, students and artists gather together to celebrate music. The Woodie Awards offer college students a chance to honor some of their favorite artists. Students are a major part of the awards show: creating the categories ,working backstage, presenting awards, and voting.
Aside from the standard video of the year and album of the year, previously won by such artists as Modest Mouse, Coheed and Cambria, and My Chemical Romance, students decided to recognize other efforts made by artists such as best live performers and greatest social impact. The Woodies aim to acknowledge the way music connects people.
Students praise the fact that artists use their music and notoriety for social causes and the fact that they put everything they have on the stage.
Previously, the “Good Woodie” award has been presented to U2 for their work with DATA (Debt Aids Trade Africa) and Sum 41 for their work with WEA (“War Child Participation in the Congo). This year Pearl Jam, Rise Against, Serj Tankian (System of a Down), Ludacris and Juvenile have been nominated for their commitment to social causes.
The British have taken over the other awards this year, with the Arctic Monkeys and Imogen Heap getting three nominations each. Other nominees include Nightmare of You, Taking Back Sunday, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, The Raconteurs and Gnarls Barkley. Students can vote as many times as they want for their favorite artists on mtvU.com.”This is not our show,” said Martin, “it’s your show.”