One of the unique characteristics of music is it has the ability to transcend across time. Between the performers, live performances, and the pure sound, there is so much to be appreciated. Despite this strong affinity that people develop for music, existing fan sites have failed to evoke the sentiment. Enter FANS. This platform, founded by the founder of Brooklyn Bowl, will complement all of your other Facebook groups and sub-reddits by becoming a resource that you keep coming back to complete with concert history, connections, profiles and discovery options. Music never gets old and FANS is looking to capitalize on that.
AlleyWatch chatted with Jesse Mann, COO of FANS and Chief Strategic Officer, Dayglo Ventures about the recently launched company and where he sees it going.
Tell us about the product or service.
FANS.com is an online, fan-to-fan platform for music lovers to share their enthusiasm around live events, celebrate their music history, discover new experiences and connect with other like-minded fans around their favorite artists. FANS.com is available on desktop/mobile web and iOS app, with Android integration coming soon.
How is it different?
The current online fan experience is all over the place and difficult to navigate. You search for shows in one place, talk about your favorite artists in another, and don’t have anywhere to keep track of all your experiences and expressions. There is no true place for fans to call home.
FANS gathers the fragmented parts of being a fan and makes the experience whole. FANS is a platform where “me” meets “we,” a place where artists can get close to their biggest fans, where music-lovers can embrace their fan identity, share information and connect.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
First and foremost, FANS is looking to connect with music fans and address their specific needs in an industry primarily focused on artists. We’re not trying to replace other platforms or the communities that fans/artists have already created. Rather, FANS is a compliment to them and we’ve learned a lot from their evolution and experiences. FANS marries what currently exists in silos on other platforms — bringing together content, event databases, check-in capabilities and beyond, serving as one, unified platform.
What is the business model?
The entire FANS experience will be driven by those who upload and share their love of music, as ongoing engagement will create a more enriching experience. We realize that encouraging fans to share their memories and experiences is a big ask, but we make it easy to auto-populate your profile through integrations with Facebook, Spotify and iTunes. Between never-before-seen photos one user already uploaded from a Beatles concert in 1964 to stage-side shots taken at a festival held the night before, FANS has the potential to serve as a rich visual database of music history, creating a place where our most powerful memories will live forever. We ask early users to invest in this experience and envision a place where all concerts — past, present and future — can be discussed and celebrated.
In time, this breadth of data will be extremely beneficial to major players in the music industry — whether venue owners, artist agents and management or record labels — eager to learn who is filling venues, purchasing albums and how to better cater to fans’ specific interests, from the casual fan to the “die hards”.
What inspired the business?
Back in 2014, after FANS founder Peter Shapiro saw Robert Plant play at Brooklyn Bowl, he woke up early and grabbed his phone to search for photos and reviews of the show, but couldn’t find anything. While Facebook, Instagram and other platforms are great, they weren’t developed specifically for fans. There hasn’t been a good way for people to share their experiences, love of music and the shows that they have seen. There hasn’t been a way to easily find those memories and description of how Robert Plant killed “Going to California” that evening or your favorite recorded version. That moment of realization, coupled with decades of industry experience, inspired the inception of FANS.
It’s really gratifying to see this vision become a reality. We just “officially” debuted around the LOCKN’ Music Festival last month, and we’re seeing many fans use FANS as a gathering place after the fact to share memories, reconnect and stay together.
Aside from nostalgia, what functional benefit does the platform provide?
FANS has a breadth of diverse features that allow users to build their concert history, create a profile dedicated to their love of music, connect with other users, and discover new shows.
- Concert history: FANS has the most comprehensive database of concert history. Users can search listings of almost 5 million concerts — by over 1 million artists at 380,000 venues — and 308,720 albums to check into past and upcoming shows. FANS continues to grow the database in real-time.
- Profile: Within their personal profile, users can build and enhance their fan identity by listing their musical preferences, past experiences, memories and musings. In addition to cataloguing their concert history, fans can share the photos and videos they’ve captured with their followers. The FANS platform can also be used to keep track of upcoming shows and get remind users when events they’re interested in are drawing near.
- Connections: Equipped with a powerful publishing platform, FANS allows users to share video, photos, written text and beyond in an interactive social forum directly tied to fans’ favorite bands, concerts and albums. When a user becomes a fan of an artist, they not only see their bio, concert timeline and discography, but posts written by and about them in real-time. Users can follow other fans to learn their common interest and experiences and interact with their timeline through comments, likes and shares.
- Discovery: Looking for your newest obsessions? FANS guides music lovers across genres towards new music discovery. On desktop and mobile, FANS leverages users’ concert history and preferences to provide personalized artist and upcoming concert recommendations. The FANS mobile app also taps into users’ locations to generate a real-time map of concerts happening in their area, enabling event discovery and alerting fans when their favorite artists are coming to town.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
In the next six months, we strive to continue to attract fans across genres and watch our digital fan community continue to grow. We’ll continue to innovate our app and desktop experiences while embracing exciting partnership and integrations with top artists.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Since launching FANS, we’ve come to appreciate how fast the tech world moves. In any given month, innovation, technology trends and competitors are subject to change. We’ve learned how essential it is to be flexible and think quickly on our feet.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Outside the music world, we’d love to meet Jake Schwartz and the other founders of General Assembly. GA fascinates us. Jeff Caldwell, CPO of FANS, and I have been working together in “the alley” for 20 years, and we were recently marveling about how much has changed since we first started – especially in regard to the level of talent and sophistication that comes through the door. The training centers and schools simply didn’t exist in years prior, so what GA is doing is great for our field in general.
Why did you launch in New York?
FANS is comprised of a small team of passionate music fans with deep roots in New York City. Our team has core members who have been part of the “Silicon Alley” community, specifically online music, since 1995. They have touched local ventures such as the Wetlands, Capitol Theatre, Brooklyn Bowl and The Bowery Presents.
Where is your favorite fall destination in the city?