You better knock, knock, knock on mtvU’s ‘Woodies’

Ben Breier

Death Cab for Cutie is lost in the woodies . . .

Credit: Jason Hall

It’s fairly safe to say that the mtvU “Woodies” are far away from being your stereotypical award show.

Last year was the debut year for the “Woodies,” and the show broke the mold by surprising winning artists wherever they happened to be, much like the spontaneous delivery that is utilized by the Publisher’s Clearing House for its sweepstakes winners.

For the second annual inception of the show, MTV Vice President of Marketing Ross Martin looks to be streamlining things a little bit, turning the “Woodies” into more of a normal awards show. According to Martin, this will be the first year in which the “Woodies” are going to be recorded live.

However, just because the “Woodies” are going to be recorded live doesn’t mean they will regress into a formula similar to that of the majority of awards shows that already exist.

“We threw out all of the rules and we’ve become the traditional antidote to the award show,” Martin said. “It’s about music, college kids and how we can create a real college music moment of truth every year that really reflects the passion that college students have for music.”

With MTV concentrating on the vein of pop-culture, and MTV2 beginning to poke into underground music, mtvU maintains its core focus on college music, and does so by utilizing programs such as “Unveiled” – mtvU’s way of promoting new records in the college music scene.

Through “Unveiled,” mtvU showcases a song a day from a highly anticipated college music record, along with a video of the band performing the song live. Recently, mtvU did this with Death Cab for Cutie’s latest effort, Plans.

“On the day it drops, all of the songs are available – it’s a really intense crescendo to the album drop,” Martin said. “Death Cab for Cutie landed at number four on the charts nationally and number one on the college charts, and one of the big reasons for their success is because college students have embraced them.”

When it comes to selecting bands to appear on the network, it isn’t as easy as one may think. Martin attempts to try and capture something that Billboard charts and record sales can oftentimes fail to convey.

“We aren’t just picking indie artists that we like – it’s more organic than that,” Martin said. “It’s that feeling you have when you listen to a great song and you’ve gotta grab your best friend, girlfriend and anybody you can find to listen to it.”

Those who elect to watch the award show on Wednesday will be treated to live performances by Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire and Saul Williams, among others. The show can also be viewed via a broadband connection on MTV Uber – MTV’s recently developed broadband network, and can be accessed on

Contact ALL correspondent Ben Breier at [email protected].


“Woodie Awards 2005”

with performances by Death Cab for Cutie, Arcade Fire and Saul Williams

Airing: on mtvU (channel 22 on campus) Nov. 10

Airing: “mtv Uber” Nov. 9