Everyone’s favorite concert promoter/bowling alley owner Peter Shapiro has a new
data-mining company social media platform: it’s called Fans.com, and it’s another “Facebook for XXXXX” deal, but I hope it does well. You can post stuff, or chat, or hack into other users’ webcams. I signed up and have already begun several arguments with strangers, so in a way it’s also like Twitter. Go read about it in the Times, or just go and poke around.
On the site, Shapiro posted a note explaining his reasons for starting the site, and what he hoped to achieve with it. The open letter went through a number of drafts, of course, but thanks to Wikileaks, TotD can provide you with the first version, which I believe is a far more interesting read.
By Peter Shapiro, FANS Founder
Today, The New York Times, which is very unfair to me and has a very low readership, very low, published an article about me and my latest endeavor, FANS.com.
Picture it: Minsk, 1882. My great-grandparents, Yussel and Blinky Shapiroberg, began promoting small shows around their village in order to raise money to put out the fire in their kitchen. Life was hard in those days. Then, Cossacks hit them in the head until they moved to Brooklyn.
Fast-forward to 1991: I’m working as a production assistant for a Bob Dylan concert at Northwestern, which is where I went to college even though I was accepted at several Ivy League schools. (Not just Brown. Real ones.) I did everything from carry ice, to work the phones, to babysit the band, but mostly what I did was keep an eye on the merch table, which was doing gangbusters business. Also, everyone was all happy and dancing or whatever.
The next year, I went to my first Grateful Dead show at Giant Stadium. The choogle hit me like a choog-choog train, and also a girl in front of me and my friends took her shirt off to dance, and her boobs flopped around. I was a Deadhead, and later went on to make a documentary called And Miles To Go: On Tour With The Grateful Dead.
In 1996, I bought Wetlands, which smelled like a hobo’s dick, but still drew crowds and served as a home for New York’s jam band community, and the site of literally infinite drug deals. Literally infinite. There were all kinds of bands, and all kinds of people, but what brought them together was a love of live music, and a high level of tolerance for bathroom cleanliness.
Since then, I have expanded my jampire. (Jampire™ is a registered trademark, Dayglo Industries.) I now sell t-shirts in bowling alleys, casinos, New Jersey, magazines, and–once a year–a field. We aim to create community, and work towards that end in every show we promote, and every venue we open.
But once the fans leave the show, that community vanishes, along with their ability to impulse-buy merch. The online world is segregated into small pockets, and unconnected silos. Grateful Dead fans prefer Facebook. Phish phans enjoy being mean to each other on Twitter. Festival-lovers use Instagram to post pictures of themselves at festivals, because what’s the point of going to a festival otherwise?
Recently, I saw Uncle Floyd on the subway, and I jumped on the internet to tell everyone, but I didn’t know which site to go to first: that’s why we need Fans.com. Live music lovers will finally have a place to come together as one, with each group’s fans all mixed up in unmoderated chat rooms, and I’m sure nothing awful will come from that.
Fans.com! Come on in, the music’s fine!*
Peter J. Shapiro
*That slogan is probably going to be changed. I think we can do better than that.