Rob Moody is famous for his YouTube channels robelinda and robelinda2. Photo Courtesy: Rob Moody
Rob Moody aka robelinda (or robelinda2) runs probably the most sought-after YouTube channel dedicated to cricket. In a little over two years he has been responsible for taking the archived videos on the internet to heights hitherto unknown to the lovers of the sport. Here are some excerpts from Abhishek Mukherjee’s interview of Moody.
The name Rob Moody may not have be familiar to cricket fans all around the world, but they nod in acknowledgement whenever the names robelinda or robelinda2 are mentioned. If uploading cricket videos had been an Olympic sport Moody would have been a gold medallist.
He teaches both electric guitar and acoustic steel-string guitar at Modern Guitar Tuition (MGT) in Box Hill, Melbourne. He also plays guitar for the Nightfliers or with the covers band WOMP. Moody’s illustrious career has involved working with an acoustic duo, a Latin guitar duo, and a progressive country-rock outfit among other things.
The following are excerpts from a Moody interview with CricketCountry:
CricketCountry (CC): Rob, you have one of the highest followers among cricket lovers on YouTube. How did it all start? Did you record live matches on tapes or an equivalent?
Rob Moody (RM): Yes, I used to record virtually every match on television onto video tapes, starting in the 1980s.
CC: In an era of cassettes, space must have been an issue…
RM: Yes, it was a serious problem, but back before the days of pay-television there was far less cricket shown outside of the Australian cricket season.
CC: … as was the monetary bit…
RM: Always a significant problem! I did whatever I could to get enough money as a kid or a teenager to buy more tapes!
CC: How difficult was the shift to the electronic format? You had probably started the transfer in an era when even DVDs were a new concept, and there was no question of hard disks that went up to multiple terabytes.
RM: It took about three solid years of converting tapes to DVDs, and it cost a lot. I still have a few hundred videos left that I have not transferred yet.
CC: Then again, DVDs do not last for an eternity; the entire business of writing DVDs time and again must have taken an immense time. What motivated you to go on?
RM: It is because I am a lunatic! Also because I knew the era of cricket I had been recording was seriously great, had to do what I could to preserve it for as long as possible.
CC: How did the idea of sharing videos on YouTube strike you?
RM: It had all started when a friend online was chatting about some random Sheffield Shield innings, and I said I would try and upload one for him so he could see it, snowballed from there, I did not even know I had footage that people wanted to see.
CC: Did you have the habit of sharing videos (cassettes or DVDs or otherwise) with others? Why did YouTube change things?
RM: No, I rarely shared footage with people, only occasionally. Obviously with YouTube it is much easier but lots of people are very greedy with requests!
CC: Do you realise that you are actually getting terabytes of free space on YouTube for your files and do not have to bother about storage anymore?
RM: Yes, but it is not reliable, over 300 videos have been either terminated from my channel or blocked worldwide by the copyright holders.
CC: When did robelinda become robelinda2?
RM: My first channel was unable to upload long videos after a few months, so I created a second channel and just continued to use that as my main one.
CC: When did you start realising that robelinda had become a more popular identity than Rob Moody? What does it feel like when people keep on addressing you by your virtual identity?
RM: Oh, I am sure most people do not even think that I am a real person: they think I am just some online automatic uploader of cricket videos!
CC: Where do you acquire these videos from? You have some rare yet spectacular videos from obscure matches. Do you actually sit through the entire recording to find out whether there is anything worth an upload?
RM: Yes, all videos come from my personal collection, recorded off television; and yes, I often watch random matches and find interesting bits to upload!
CC: We have seen a lot of, er, unwanted comments on your videos. How do you tackle the issue?
RM: I mostly ignore them now: it is out of control. I get over 500 comments a day on my videos, nobody has time to deal with all the trolls.
CC: What is your favourite era of cricket? Why?
RM: I quite like the less hectic eras of the 70s and 80s, less commentators talking rubbish too. To hit a six back then it had to a ridiculously well-timed shot, nowadays an edge goes for six easily.
CC: The obvious question: your favourite, or maybe five favourite videos?
RM: I quite like the Curtly Ambrose 71 bowled dismissals. Glenn McGrath 51 fours he hit is a good video too. I did a compilation of the 1980s West Indies fast bowlers, great viewing. I like the videos of Mark and Steve Waugh facing Shane Warne in the 90s, a classic battle which Shane Warne lost.
CC: What would be the one video that almost nobody knows about but you feel everyone should watch?
RM: Ah, there are heaps of those! I actually made a playlist a few weeks ago of videos I wish would get more attention, but its hit-and-miss on YouTube. I guess one video is Sachin Tendulkar facing Glenn McGrath for the very first time in 1994.
CC: How do you procure these on-demand videos? I remember you had uploaded one of Chris Tavaré hitting a six on my request…
RM: Yes I often will try and fulfil people’s requests if I can, and if I have the time. I like to research cricket and do my homework on historic moments and things like that, and see if I have video footage to match.
CC: Is storage still an issue, given the era of hard disks?
RM: These days it is all the cost that is the problem, very difficult to afford $600 a month for hard drives.
CC: Have you been approached by cricket archives/libraries of famed institutions for your collection for videos? What about the historians?
RM: I have been approached by several historians and statisticians, which is nice.
CC: What about the players themselves?
RM: Several players have found me on Twitter or Facebook. All of them have been very nice and friendly and happy to chat, but really it has got to do with the nature of social media in this era. There are lots of people who were previously inaccessible but are now very easy to contact.
CC: How much of your collection is still not on YouTube?
RM: Well, my videos on YouTube are just small bits and pieces. I have almost every match from the last 30 years in full ball-by-ball form, so there are loads that are not on YouTube.
CC: What is the earliest video that you have? In terms of cricketing chronology, that is?
RM: I am unsure about that. I have lots of Bradman era footage, like a lot of people. I am not overly concerned with really old footage actually, there becomes a point where it almost unwatchable, in terms of footage quality.
CC: Is there any possibility of your starting a Netflix sort of service for cricket videos?
AM: We do not have that capability yet in Australia, but maybe in the future.
CC: Have you toyed with the idea of adding voiceovers and making documentaries?
RM: No, I have a terrible voice! And I do not really have much time to do much else: busy days with little children to be raised!
CC: How does the popularity of your videos vary according to era? Do people prefer more recent clips ones even if the older are far more rare and valuable?
RM: I think with YouTube it is fairly random. I have never been able to figure out the magic secret code of YouTube views!
CC: Same question as above — could you answer for viewers country by country?
RM: India, without a doubt: something like 90% of my views come from India.
CC: How do you get the footage of rebel tours etc, which are extremely difficult to come by?
RM: Well, they used to be available to buy in the shops in the 1980s! I found one at a market for $1 a few months ago!
CC: Would you like to be remembered as an archivist? Or do you have other ambitions?
RM: Oh I have not ever thought about that: I am just a guy who occasionally uploads cricket to YouTube, there have been people doing it before me and no doubt long after I finish.
CC: Have you ever felt an urge to monetise your huge collection? Acquiring rights and selling DVDs, for example?
RM: No, I never think about that. I do it purely for fun.
(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)