Saturday, July 23, 2011

End of JDub. What's next for New Jewish Culture

The news broke about a week ago. JDub, the not-for-profit hipster Jewish music, is shutting down. Zeek has more info and an excellent summary of the state of "New Jewish Culture." This is a sad day, without a doubt, but not unexpected. I've heard lots of rumblings about JDub for a while now, they've had money problems, questionable management, maybe a bit overreaching in projects. Sounds like a typical not-for-profit, right? But they'll be missed. They were a focal point for folks like me to point to when trying to get people excited about New Jewish Culture.

But just because the organization is folding up doesn't mean the bands are going away, the fans are going home, or the enthusiasm is diminishing. It's more a question of what kind of organizations are needed and what kinds of business models work. So what comes next? Should someone else try to make a go of a Jewish label? Does the New Jewish Culture scene need record labels? And if so, for what? A&R and advance funding on recording (audio and video)? Public relations & marketing? Band management and tour management? Album distribution?

What about on the fan side? I've been expecting that someone will start a slick and stylish Pitchfork style website with a wide vision of Jewish music. There's finally a decent online radio station in Jewish Rock Radio. But it's pretty narrowly focused. There's an "International Jewish Presenters Association" but it doesn't seem to be particularly active. Shemspeed is still turning out great music, mostly hip-hop. There is, of course, the always active Orthodox & Chassidic scene, but they don't make much effort to reach outside their primary audience. (And, yeah, I'm still doing Teruah).

So what's next? Not sure. But, to paraphrase a recent tweet from the klezmer-punk band Golem....exciting new Jewish music was happening before JDub and it will continue to happen after JDub. But JDub will be missed.'s a quick blast from one of my favorite current JDub groups...Girls in Trouble. I've raved about GiT before and will continue to do so, led by Alicia Jo Rabins, Git is somewhere between the next Regina Spektor and the next Debbie Friedman. And I don't take either comparison lightly. Who's going to help me champion GiT and all the other new Jewish bands out there?

Girls In Trouble - We Are Androgynous


ray meds said...

Well talking about money... i know that many people is in trouble and they would not enjoy the christmas bonus because they need to pay credit cards bills.. is pretty sad that many people don't learn how to control their selves. said...

nice video .i know that many people is in trouble and they would not enjoy the christmas bonus because they need to pay credit cards bills