The nonprofit record label that discovered the Hasidic reggae star Matisyahu will soon close its doors.
JDub Records, which was created in 2002, was hailed as a new breed of Jewish nonprofit that would rely on popular culture to reach young people. It put out 35 albums, released three gold records, and drew more than 150,000 young Jews to its concerts and parties over the past nine years, according to a news release that announced the closing.
It also had a hand in creating and popularizing several other innovative Jewish nonprofits, including the Six Points Fellowship–an incubator for Jewish artists–and Tablet Magazine, a highly regarded online publication of Jewish culture. None of those projects will close.
But the organization is best known for discovering Matisyahu, who became popular on MTV in 2004 after JDub produced his first album, Shake off the Dust … Arise.
It is not clear exactly when the organization will close, and JDub officials would not comment Tuesday.
“The decision to close was entirely financial, as the challenges facing our business model are too great to overcome,” the organization said. “JDub earned half of its annual budget from mission-related revenue, including album sales, concert tickets, and consulting fees, and the other half from foundations and individual donors.”
JDub was started with a grant from the Joshua Venture Group, an incubator of Jewish nonprofits. The Joshua Venture Group, which was started in 2002, helped several innovative Jewish organizations, including Heeb Magazine, get off the ground. But most of the organizations have had trouble sustaining themselves due to lack of donor interest.
“The collapse of the music business in the decade that JDub has existed, combined with recessionary effects and aging out of the cohort of Jewish “start-ups,” made securing the necessary operating support an insurmountable challenge,” JDub said in its release.