Julian Schmidt, the Reggaeville manMonday, July 26, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
THE average Jamaican reggae fan may not be familiar with the city of Cologne, but Germany's fourth-largest metropolis has become one of the music's hot spots.
It is home to Summerjam, the world's largest reggae festival. Cologne also produced singer Gentleman, and Julian Schmidt, editor of Reggaeville.com, arguably the most influential source of information on reggae music.
On July 4, 'Reggaeville' was awarded Best New Media at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association's (JaRIA) annual ceremony in Kingston. Schmidt, 46, considers it a major shot in the arm for the company he launched in 2009.
“This award and recognition makes me and Team Reggaeville very proud, and it is an amazing honour to be mentioned among these great reggae legends. That it comes from Jamaica makes it indeed extra special and is an extraordinary appreciation of our work,” he said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
Schmidt marshalls a team of 20 freelance writers and photographers who cover the reggae beat in Germany, Jamaica, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States.
He also heads a content management team of three who decide what stories, photographs, and videos make it on Reggaeville.com.
The JaRIA recognition coincided with another landmark for Schmidt's organisation.
“Although we had the plan from the beginning to present a huge amount of content on the site, I did not expect that we could build up such a huge reach. On July 1, Reggaeville turned 12 and we have had a total of 26 million visits on the website so far; that is 2.17 million per year,” he said.
Reggaeville is the third reggae website Schmidt has operated. It was preceded by MelodyMakers.de, a fan platform dedicated to Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers, who he first saw in concert as a 15-year-old in his hometown.
Next was reggaephotos.de, which showcased photographs he took from attending concerts.
“In late 2008, I decided to create a new platform with the same concept I had for my other websites...compile the latest news, dates, photos, etc. Not only for a few artistes, but extend it to coverage about all reggae artistes,” Schmidt recalled. “The name was easy to find, 'cause I had the domain Reggaeville.com already since 2006. During a Skype chat with a Jamaican friend, she randomly asked, 'Anybody home in Reggaeville?' and I said 'yes'.”
The reggae scene is as busy as the more lucrative pop market, with festivals aplenty in Europe, news gushing from Jamaica, as well as active outposts in Europe, Japan and the US.
Schmidt stated that Reggaeville.com is up to the task in coverage.
“In comparison to 2009 when we started, it's now easier to cover the global reggae scene, 'cause today all festivals and artistes are using social media to share photos, videos, etc, which we can easily feature on our website,” he said.
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