iTunes categorizes Jewish music as ‘Christian & Gospel'

Apple's online music store does not have a separate category for Jewish and hassidic melodies.

September 18, 2011 03:09
2 minute read.
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iPhone 4 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Truth Leem)


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Apple Inc.’s popular online digital media outlet iTunes classifies many of the most well-known Jewish performers and their albums as “Christian & Gospel” material and does not have a separate category for Jewish melodies, The Jerusalem Post has found.

Albums by Avraham Fried, an Orthodox Jew, with titles such as Yiddish Gems Volumes 1 & 2, My Fellow Jew and The Baal Shem Tov’s Song all appear under the “Christian & Gospel” category. Other songs of his appear under the heading “World.”

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Similarly, Mordechai Ben- David’s collections Just One Shabbos and Yerushalayim Our Home, as well as songs such as “Yom Tov Medley,” are all listed as “Christian.”

And the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach’s album Shaarei Shabbat – Songs and Blessings for your Jewish home” which includes the song “Am Yisrael Chai” (“the People of Israel live”), is included in the Christian category.

Music for Jewish children and cantorial works by Joseph Malovany of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Synagogue are also not exempt from Apple’s unusual classification system, which deems them to be Christian.

Contacted by the Post, Fried expressed astonishment. “Why would they put Jewish and Hassidic music under the ‘Christian and Gospel’ category? It makes no sense,” he said.

“I don’t understand where they are coming from and what the point is of doing this,” Fried said. “I would hate to think this is an attempt to bury Jewish music under a Christian or Gospel label.”

Repeated requests for comment to Apple’s corporate headquarters in California and its UK branch went unanswered.

Fried said Apple should change its policy and create a Jewish grouping.

“It is time to have Jewish and Hassidic music stand on its own,” he declared. “It should have its own category and be called by its right name – Jewish music.”

Apple’s iTunes is said to be the largest online music and video vendor in the world. In February 2010, the company announced that more than 10 billion songs had been purchased and downloaded from the site since its inception in 2003.

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