Where concertgoers can connect

NEW YORK • You post family updates on Facebook, news on Twitter, selfies on Instagram and career changes on LinkedIn.

Do you really need another social network?

Mr Peter Shapiro, the man behind Brooklyn Bowl and last year's Grateful Dead reunion, thinks you do - one that shows all the ways you are a fan.

Mr Shapiro, 43, one of the most successful and least button-down independent music promoters in the United States, is introducing his latest venture this week, an online platform called Fans.com that lets users build profiles based on concerts they have attended and communicate with like-minded people via news feeds.

If the format sounds familiar, it is no accident.

But Mr Shapiro's bet with Fans.com is that other social networks are ill-suited as platforms to express the effusive passions people have for music, sports and other kinds of entertainment.

"There is no platform for being a fan," he said. "Facebook was meant to be a connector to friends and family. But if you are a Slayer fan, you might not want to post about that if you work at Chase Bank or if your grandma is on your Facebook page."

For more than two years, he has been quietly developing Fans.com with a team of 10, including Mr Seth Schiesel, a former reporter and critic for The New York Times who, like Mr Shapiro, is a die-hard jam-band fan.

The site's core is a database of five million concerts going back decades.

Users can tag individual shows they have attended and post media and links to a feed connected to each artist or event.

The site makes its public debut today with live video feeds from Lockn', Mr Shapiro's four-day festival in Arrington, Virginia, featuring Phish, My Morning Jacket and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead.

For now, Fans.com is a rudimentary database of concert listings. But Mr Shapiro wants to expand it into sports and other areas.

He also views it as a potential marketing tool that can be used by artists and promoters to target their most engaged listeners by tracking the data that users submit about how many concerts they have attended and where.

As a promoter, he said, he does not know whether people who have liked an artist's Facebook page are likely ticket buyers, but those who say they have bought tickets are a safer bet.

"If I knew who those fans were, that's a game changer," he said.

Last year, he and a partner, Madison House, promoted the surviving members of the Grateful Dead in a series of concerts called Fare Thee Well in Chicago and Santa Clara, California, that sold US$52 million in tickets, making the event an enormous success.

By comparison, the two weekends of Coachella, with dozens of bands, sold US$84 million in tickets that year.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Where concertgoers can connect'. Subscribe