Alex Morrissey - Jamaica’s Mark Zuckerberg?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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IN the ongoing surge of social media's importance in everyday activity, a name that usually rings a bell is Facebook's co-founder and current CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Within the Jamaican landscape, however, there is a 22-year-old Web innovator on the rise named Alex Morrissey that is making a stamp globally with his interactive website www.jamaicansmusic.com, and its affiliates.


Www.jamaicansmusic.com is the ultimate online source for Jamaican music and currently has over 464,676 likes (members) on Facebook. This makes www.jamaicansmusic.com the most popular Jamaican company on Facebook.


Morrissey describes the website as "being on the forefront of Jamaican music and technology for the past three years with many creative products such as 'Virtual Turntables', 'SongWrita', and 'MyMusic'."


Morrissey is a past student of St George's College and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he studied Industrial Design.


It was during his college years that he decided to make www.jamaicansmusic.com due to homesickness. Morrissey admits that initially "the site was for me", but eventually saw its potential and initiated polls and forums online to ask persons what would make it better.


From the 'market research' conducted, the website began to provide the streaming of Jamaican mix tapes, riddims, and radio links, before he added a section for Jamaican artistes which included biographies, pictures, and iTunes playlists.


In May 2010, Morrissey decided to stop freelance graphic designing and concentrate on the website full time. This was partly due to the popularity of the website's Facebook page, which had gained 7,000 fans from its launch in November 2009 to May 2010.


The website's Facebook page did not go unnoticed, as in that month Universal Records approached Morrissey to conduct giveaways of promotional material for Damian Marley and Nas's album Distant Relatives. This would be the first of many such ventures pertaining to promotion for artistes on the website.


Taking advantage of his father living in the southeast Asian country Indonesia, last summer Morrissey decided to use his life savings and visit Indonesia to introduce www.jamaicansmusic.com to potential fans.


He said: "I used Twitter to get in contact with the local reggae artistes there and asked them to get in touch with various media personnel about the launch."


This proved to be a success as after Morrissey conducted a series of radio interviews in Indonesia, over 1,000 persons came to the launch there. To date Indonesia is the website's largest fan base and has over 70,000 members there on Facebook.


Smaller launches were conducted in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, all neighbouring countries to Indonesia. A friend of Alex's, who was studying in Mexico, also conducted an unofficial college tour for the website in Mexico. Currently Mexico is second to Indonesia regarding site popularity, with Jamaica coming in third.


In Jamaica, it was the addition of the Virtual DJ application for the website, and the popular 'SongWrita' for the Facebook page, that have given the website prominence locally. 'SongWrita' is a video game featuring local dancehall and reggae artistes as playable characters.


2011 has proved that there is no slowing down for Morrissey as he has launched a song countdown in partnership with Digicel called 'MyMusic', and has partnered with several different players to launch an online radio station called Jadio, and an online magazine in conjunction with eZines Limited called IrieZine.


For the rest of the year Morrissey said that: "Persons can look out for a relaunch of the website that includes digital distribution of music and 'Social Sector', a full-service social media company that provides Facebook and Twitter account management and application design and development," Morrissey explained.




— Dominic Bell



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