So it doesn't really show videos anymore. Does that mean MTV is no longer relevant? The network did, after all, bring us The Osbournes, Nick & Jessica, and, God help us, Ashlee. Doesn't that count for anything? Regardless of its programming, or lack thereof, no one can deny the channel's clout with American yutes. The media giant helped define our culture -- and sell it.
This Friday, mtvU -- a subdivision of MTV that airs on 700 college campuses -- kicks off its Campus Invasion '05 tourat Florida Atlantic University's Boca Raton campus. Equal parts global marketing consortium and rock festival, the daylong event features an interactive "village" full of games and activities with a variety of brand-name products, from Nintendo and Herbal Essence to Ford and Citibank. Beware of the words games and Citibank combined or you'll be "interactive" with credit counselors well past graduation. Beyond the product shilling, students and guests get to enjoy live performances by Muse and Razorlight, two of Great Britain's shining new offerings.
Though relatively new to the American mainstream, these bands have been making noise overseas for some time, earning heavy rotation on MTV2 and critical acclaim. Rife with overlaid guitar noise and punchy drums, Muse has drawn comparisons to Pablo Honey-era Radiohead. With a new wave look and an alt-rock sound, Razorlight offers bouncy, strumming guitar riffs that are decidedly Brit and very shagadelic. Marketing ploy or not, considering the astronomical prices for concert tickets these days ($160 for U2 -- hello?!), $7 a pop doesn't sound like too bad a deal to catch these two imports. Of course, all the day's high jinks will be caught on camera for a special to air on MTV later this year. Smile for the product placement!