Macklemore Enlists President Obama to Discuss Opioid Epidemic in MTV Docs’ Debut Offering

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

More people died of drug overdoses in the United States last year than in car crashes.

How big of a deal is that? An estimated 38,300 people died in auto accidents, so the scale of the drug deaths is almost unimaginable.

Tonight, MTV bores into this explosion in drug deaths, a spike largely attributable to an eruption of opioid use, with Prescription For Change: Ending America’s Opioid Crisis, a one-hour documentary hosted by Grammy Award-winning artist Macklemore, himself a recovering addict.

This powerful documentary, the first from MTV’s new Docs division, is an incisive exploration of the opioid epidemic that is gutting American communities. The doc not only explores the scope and trauma of the rampage, but takes a frank look at why what is certainly not the country’s first drug abuse problem is getting so much more sympathetic attention than past scourges. The meat of this is explored in a candid conversation between Macklemore and President Obama:

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mtvU, Jed Foundation Partner to Tackle Issue of Prescription Drugs on College Campuses

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

mtvU and The Jed Foundation’s “Half Of Us” campaign debuted an initiative at the 3rd annual Clinton Health Matters Conference aimed at helping college students navigate the issue of prescription drug abuse on college campuses. Above, watch MTV’s Noopur Agarwal, Vice President of Public Affairs, announce the new campaign and speak on the issue during a mental health panel at the conference. Read More

‘Woodies’ Spur Sales, Social and Chart Spikes for Emerging Artists

by Chanel Cathey, Viacom
Earl Sweatshirt, Domo
Gravy Wenrich
Ryan Lewis, Macklemore
Joe Newman, Gwil Sainsbury
Danielle Haim, Este Haim
amorosad amorosad
Tegan Quin, Sara Quin
Watch The Duck

The Woodies are more than just a college awards show, with this year’s show spurring sales, social and chart spikes for several of the performers, hosts and winners. This week, the Huffington Post’s article “More Than Just an Award: What the 2013 mtvU Woodie Awards Did for Artists” took a look at the facts and figures and heralded the awards show for spotlighting new emerging artists:

“Perhaps most notably, though, it’s the newness of it all that make the college award’s show a success: the Woodie Awards spotlight up-and-coming performers, meaning it’s more likely that those watching won’t be as familiar with the artists and/or songs featured throughout the night. Nothing buzzes the World Wide Web quite like something they haven’t heard before.”

The piece ends pointing out how these sales, social and chart jumps are a substantial perk to being part of the show:

“So congrats, 2013 Woodies, on sending home this year’s hosts, performers, and winners with a little something extra: career milestones. They’re sure to be appreciated long after the hunks of wood are forgotten.”

Here are the numbers from this year’s show:

  • Machine Gun Kelly aka MGK, who co-hosted this year’s Woodies and won the “Woodie of the Year,” experienced a 25 percent increase in digital albums sales along with a social media impact that included a massive increase of over 70 percent in Facebook likes and a respectable 12 percent increase in Twitter followers post-show.
  • Tegan and Sara also co-hosted and performed that evening, and they too fared well in many of those arenas. Their time on screen resulted in some increased album sales but an enormous 163 percent jump in the number of people downloading their single “Closer.” When it comes to Facebook and Twitter, the duo ended up with more than 790,000 new likes and 760,000 followers, respectively.
  • As for non-hosts at this year’s Woodies, performers Zedd and twenty one pilots both got in on the action, with the former’s single “Clarity” jumping more than 70 spots on the Billboard Digital Songs Chart and the latter’s sales of their single “Holding on to You” rising 33 percent.

Head here for Huff Post’s full story.

Fulbright-mtvU Celebrate 5 Years of Partnership

by Daina Amorosano, Viacom

Former fellow Andrew Magill, pictured above in Malawi in 2010, recorded narratives of Malawian families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS and crafted a concept album.

A diverse crowd gathered at the U.N. last night to celebrate five years of the powerful partnership between the Fulbright Program and mtvU. There were high-profile government officials, creatives and execs, indie-pop duo Matt & Kim,  and recent Fulbright fellows. But the mix was mingling over the same misty view of the East River, and in solidarity over a single mission: to promote music as a global force for good.

Hosted by the Honorable Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Tom Healy, Chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the evening was a tribute to everyone involved: the Fulbright Program, the State Department for its long-standing sponsorship of the program, and MTV for its continued support for breaking down barriers and making the world a whole.
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