JDub Records is a not-for-profit record and event production company for the innovative Jewish music and cross cultural dialogue. Founded in December 2002 by two NYU students, Ben Hesse and Aaron Bisman. In its start-up phase, JDub focused on developing a small cadre of artists, including Matisyahu, SoCalled, and Balkan Beat Box. In October 2009, JDub adopted Jewcy, an online magazine and blog. JDub COO Jacob Harris led the acquisition and served as publisher of Jewcy.
Ten years ago, JDub Records was a collegiate pipe dream. By 2006, it was the single coolest thing in Jewish popular culture. Five years later, JDub Records ceased to exist.
Even if you’ve never heard of JDub Records, you may have heard of the Hasidic reggae-rapper Matisyahu, their flagship artist. But the story is bigger than him.
It’s the story of a scrappy start-up that broke all the rules, revolutionizing Jewish music over eight years and thirty-six albums. It’s the story of the savvy innovators and radical artists who shook up Jewish popular culture at the dawn of a new millennium.
JDub, unlike most record labels, derived half its annual income from foundations and individual donors and the other half from record and ticket sales. As a non-profit Jewish organization its stated mission was to "forge vibrant connections to Judaism through music, media and cultural events." JDub operations included the an artists fellowship program, overseeing the Jewcy website, event production and consulting.
Along with the Foundation for Jewish Culture and Avoda Arts, JDub launched The Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, an artist development program financed by million from the Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal of UJA-Federation. The grant, described as the largest ever by UJA to an arts organization, will give each of 12 New York-based artists up to ,000 for living expenses and project-related support for two years.
In December 2009, JDub announced a strategic partnership with Nextbook which publishes books in collaboration with Random House's Shocken imprint, and produces Tablet Magazine. According to the JTA: "Under the partnership, the two organizations will remain separate and will still produce their own records and books and cultural materials, but JDub will essentially become Nextbook’s in-house marketing and PR department."
In July 2011 JDub announced it would close due to an inability to find new funding and the collapse of the music industry in general.