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Oct 31, 2010

MBD on the difficulties of the music industry.. (video)

Mordechai Ben David was just here in Israel for a few days, and Bechadrei got an opportunity for a brief interview..

ראיון MBD - HD from bhol on Vimeo.

I get that the industry has become tough over the years and they have not found a solution to the problem of people downloading music rather than paying for it.. MBD, though, has become the biggest crybaby about it. Every time someone sticks a microphone in his face he kvetches about the downloads making it so tough. Now he is saying he doesn't bother working on anything new because it is just not worth it. Every other singer keeps pumping out album after album without bellyaching all the time, but MBD, the "king of Jewish music", just can't get past it..

And just once I would like an interviewer to ask him, when he complains about the downloading, about his past experiences in copying music and how he justifies it while complaining about others.. I'd love to see him answer that question (not that his wrongdoings justify anybody else's, but seeing how much he complains I would just like to see how he fields the question)..

And just for kicks, here is Dschinghis Khan..


  1. An old complaint against MBD, but worth it just for the Dschinghis Khan link.

  2. Why do you call him a cry-baby? Should he work for free?

    OTOH, someone in the industry once told me that in Jewish music, CD sales is not where the money is made. If you're really big, maybe you'll break even. The real money is from performances. It's the CD that gets you known and in demand for the performances.

    If that's true, then the downloading shouldn't cause them a loss. If anything, it should increase their popularity and get them more gigs. So maybe you're right.

  3. he shouldnt work for free, but he walks around kvetching during every interview. no other singer harps on the issue like he does. And he doesnt propose solutions or find innovative ways to make money despite the downloading, like many artists, both Jewish and non-Jewish have.
    Lenny Solomon recently released a cd and he offered it available for a period of time for download and the downloader could choose how much to pay, no questions asked. And he told me he didnt make a lot of money on it at the time, but he came out ok. just one example.

    A guy like MBD, the industry leader, the proclaimed king of Jewish music, should be a leader and find solutions. It doesnt help anybody in the industry for him to cry. Everyone else is working just fine and making a living (I assume. they wouldnt keep pumping out albums if they werent making money), and filling up concert halls.

    I said I dont justify stealing (ask your own shailoh if downloading is considered stealing - I know there are a range of responses to that question), and he has to be concerned about his parnassa. But he cant seem to deal with the reality and find a way past it. He is not the only one affected by it - the whole music industry is. He is the only one (in the Jewish industry) who cries about it regularly.
    That has been the reality for the past 15 years already. Accept the reality and find other solutions and move on.

  4. I recall also hearing an Oorah interview with him about 3 years ago and he was, no pun intended, singing the same song about downloading.

    I give him credit as a good performer, but I agree, Rafi. Enough is enough.

    At least he isn't getting all anti-internet, just anti-downloading.

  5. I think you were being quite unfair.

    After reading your intro, I was expecting to see him harping on and on about the subject.

    But he merely gave a brief answer to a question.

  6. No he should realize by now how he's coming across - after all he's a performer.

    For example if you were frequently asked do you get along with your mother in law would you say "like anyone does" or realize that you don't want to be heard saying something negative even if it's completely normal to feel that way.

    Maybe he is more distressed about it because his career is far older so this is still relatively very new to him. And maybe unlike some of the other older performers he's less internet savvy which makes him less likely to adjust to the reality.

  7. I was a huge MBD fan growing up and I was even a soloist for him in concert once, but I've been disappointed with his music in the past few years. His latest CD, Kulom Ahuvim, sounded like there was no emotion in it, like he really didn't want to sing, and I thought the best song was B'Inyan Hasimcha - because of Razel's performance in the song, not MBD's!

    IIRC his recent "platinum" collection of greatest hits, says on it "you are not buying this, you are only renting it for 10 years." I just don't get it.

    I haven't heard that CD, but I know all those songs. Were any of them re-done? Or from concerts?

  8. This seems very unfair. Downloading is stealing plain and simple, he has every right to complain. Back in the day jewish cassettes and records sold as much as 100,000 copies. Now the biggest hits in frum jewish music don't top 30,000. What solution should he propose? He offers his own CD's for 12 bucks download. Not a huge expense. The soloution is for frumme yidden to stop stealing. Is that so crazy?

    Also - I had the same issue with the Yidden song for years. Recently I asked someone very close to the situation about this and was told a family relative brought them the tune and didnt say where it came from originally. They wrote yiddish words to it and released it and it was a hit. only after did he (MBD) find out the source. I personally beelive this person and in this context can understand why MBD doesnt address it. But, either way, his own averiros does not legalize other people to steal ...

  9. anonymous - I didnt say he is wrong, and I did not justify people stealing his music. I did say that we have heard him kvetch about it in every interview about music, and now talk about how he is stopping putting out albums. Every other performer in the Jewish and non-Jewish world deal with the same problem and they seem to not harp on it so much. I a saying that is the reality and move on - find a solution, ignore it, , change careers, whatever. Nobody likes to listen to a crybaby though.

    Maybe he should go the napster way and work on finding otu who is copying, bootlegging, downloading and any other method of stealing his music, and bring them all to court or beis din. It worked to put napster out of business, even though it just forced people to find other ways to steal the music.

    I remember someone once posted a video of the dghengis khan people being asked if they knew about mbd and how he had turned their song into a big hit among Jews. They had been amused, IIRC, but said nobody had bought the music from them


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