DJ and Fangage founder Sam Feldt
Sam Feldt, the Dutch DJ who knocks out good times house music is entrepreneurial. He launched Fangage.com, a website tool built to allow creators to maintain control of their own fans. I like its premise. The core idea is that you should not have to cede control of your fan base to a company which owes you nothing in return. Instagram and other popular sites have retained the ability to change course in an instant, modifying their algorithms, the way they sort popularity or putting up a pay gateway between the followed and their followers. Any such change can have a devastating effect on an artist or creator who lies at risk their followers become inaccessible or expensive to contact.
The prospect of pay to play with followers on someone else’s site is very real. Professor Scott Galloway of NYU’s Stern school of business has been very vocal about his idea that Twitter should charge users by the number of followers they maintain. Galloway’s theory is once you build a successful following you should pay Twitter a “tax” which is proportionate to your following each time you tweet. Someone with 10,000 followers would pay a fraction of someone with 10,000,000. Twitter has yet to follow that advice, however Galloway also advocated that Disney DIS -0.6% pivot to streaming during the pandemic, which they did, and now Disney is monetizing more than 100 million subscribers.
Sam started Fangage from his personal frustration he had no way to directly reach his then one million followers. He built it to be helpful promoting his own community of fans. As a result, the software is helpful for DJs, musicians, artists, “YouTubers”, politicians, and any other business which exists in part by maintaining connectivity with their community.
Creators have to offer value to the fans. Fangage is based in Amsterdam where personal freedoms are paramount. It enables owning your own fan data which is critical in a world in which your income is derived from your audience. No business can remain stable if those critical access points to the consumers are delegated to an outside company with its own profit agenda and which does not align with your values or interests.
Fangage is a solution for creators to get in touch with fans directly and monetize that fanbase. It is not a social media site. Instead, it runs in conjunction with your own site, and keeps you from the risk of getting shut down as happened to folks who were once on MySpace. Unlike competing sites, Fangage allows creators to own the data provided by their fans and to keep 96% of all the revenue generated on their unique branded domain which runs Fangage in the background.
Fans sign up to the websites of the creators who then control what is for sale whether a custom event, a class, a livestream or a one-off sale of merchandise. Using this software allows creators the flexibility to host a livestream on a platform like Twitch which is only made available to their Fangage database. Ticket partners are integrated by the software, so fans don’t have to sign up repeated on various sites. Tickets are sold directly with Shopify, WooCommerce, or through the software’s ticketing hub.
It is more of an integrated software as a service product for maintaining connectivity with your fans while and keeping control of their data and contact information. Unlike commercial social media sites, Fangage has an “engage” feature which allows creators the ability to arrive in a particular city and contact all those folks in the region to alert them to a show or appearance.
This project was created and backed by Sam originally, prior to a first capital raise of $300,000. That money went to build the ability to scale and to incorporate support for a broad range of communities, including eSports. Their next round will be $2 million for Fangage to gear up to the next level and have the capacity to compete with OnlyFans and Patreon.
Over the past year, Sam has released his own work and those of other artists through his label Heartfeldt records. Heartfeldt records in partnership with Warner records and Spinnin’ Records released 35 records during the pandemic. They donate 1% of all royalties to causes related to keeping the planet green through Sam’s Heartfeldt foundation.
When live shows return, Sam will be back on the road performing. He appears at both large festivals and more intimate local shows. Typically, he plays 150 international shows a year. His 2020 planned solo tour was set in theaters holding approximately 3,000 people. Sam also played the giant “Sahara” tent at Coachella which is about as major a stage as you can get. It is as big as a hangar for multiple jumbo jets, open at both ends for fans to extend back into the festival grounds. My weekend at Coachella in 2019 had me on the soundboard riser in the Sahara tent while Kid Cudi brought out his “surprise” guest Kanye West. I estimate there were 15,000 people or more jammed into that tent and beyond the open ends.
Sam’s music is fun to hear, and easy to find on the internet. Here are two versions of his recent release Stronger, featuring Kesha, including the newly released Frank Walker remix.
Stronger featuring Kesha:
Stronger featuring Kesha – Frank Walker remix
And, here is one of the songs which really broke out early for Sam, Hold Me Close featuring Ella Henderson:
Hold Me Close featuring Ella Henderson
My conversations with Sam for the True AF podcast are below in audio and video formats:
I like Sam Feldt. He is engaging, creative and making both good music and good products. I suppose that’s the path forward in the post pandemic world. Now, that the world’s beginning to reopen, I look forward to getting back onto a field, or into a theater and watching him play live.
I love going to see shows. Most nights you’ll find me in a crowd with the people. Come join me as we analyze the live entertainment industry.
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