Jordane Delahaye, Gleaner Writer
Five years ago Jamaican entrepreneur Alex Morrissey started JamaicansMusic.com as a project while studying at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Five years on the website is known as one of those pioneering elements in the Jamaican music circuit, marketing brand Jamaica to the world.
The website celebrates its quinquennial anniversary today and for its fifth year it is getting a complete makeover.
According to Morrissey, Jamaicans music will undergo a rebranding in 2013 which will involve a tweaked logo and the addition of a slew of cool new features.
"We want to make the site more interactive. Technology has come a far way since we first started; more people have tablets and other touch-screen devices now so we will be optimising JamaicansMusic for them and we will also be introducing some new features," Morrissey told Entertainment.
Some of the new features include a timeline feature that is already on the website's Facebook page. The Facebook page will offer those visiting the site the chance to learn a little about the history of Jamaican music.
Morrissey says this is part of his goal for the website to become an archive for all things related to Jamaican music.
The young entrepreneur has big plans for the website's future and acknowledges the five-year journey as a rewarding one.
"Initially it was hard. As much as I love music I don't come from a musical background, so getting in contact with artistes and producers and so on to produce content for the website was a bit hard at first," Morrissey said, adding that now it is the artistes that contact him to have their work featured on his site.
There was a point though, where Morrissey had been completely disenchanted and almost gave up on his blossoming creation.
The website had been hacked and he had lost valuable content, but luckily he found a backup that he did not know about a week later and Morrissey's resolve was renewed.
While studying for his bachelor's degree in industrial design, Morrissey had set up JamaicansMusic.com to showcase his personal favourite Jamaican music and musicians.
Soon people started sending feedback about what they saw and what they would like to see on the site. Today, the website has evolved into a heavily trafficked entertainment hub.
"It has really grown over the five years. We now have over two million fans on our Facebook and we have added a lot of interactive features," Morrissey revealed.
Most of the website's visitors come from America, Indonesia, Mexico, United Kingdom and Columbia in that order. JamaicansMusic is bridging the gap between reggae enthusiasts around the world and is even giving them a chance to showcase how reggae has influenced them and their country by running an article every month written by a native.
For any organisation to speak of success, it must have something to show for it. JamaicansMusic recently to donate one full scholarship and one partial scholarship to two lucky performing-arts students of Excelsior Community College as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Not only is the website contributing to the marketing and preservation of Jamaican culture, it is also helping to build Jamaica as a nation as well.