Fandalism: Finally A Social Network That Works For Musicians [EXCLUSIVE]

Screen shot 2012-07-25 at 10.18.19 AMAnyone who has ever been in a band knows exactly how frustrating it can be to find the right band mates. Maybe your friend isn’t the best drummer after all, or perhaps your guitarist can’t kick his boozing habits, or your keyboard player constantly misses rehearsals. For years, many musicians turned to the web and sought out new musicians on online communities or tried their luck with Craigslist. The problem is that neither of these is dedicated to the act of finding and interacting with new musicians, nor has there ever been one comprehensive, professional, and social database with ready and willing musicians to reside – until now.

582175_412384125474469_956538592_nSan Francisco-based serial entrepreneur, computer programmer and drummer Philip Kaplan, or “Pud” as he goes by, has a storied history of developing creative and useful web products. Kaplan was the founder of the blog FuckedCompany and the ad network AdBrite, who later went on to co-found the social shopping startup Blippy, and then focused on smaller projects like newsletter-maker TinyLetter, which was acquired by MailChimp back in August.

But Kaplan, also a seasoned drummer and musician, recognized the fallacies of searching for a band mate using Craigslist and decided to build a database and community where musicians can find their creative soul mates, or maybe just find a local jam buddy. The end result is what he feels to be his most passionate web creation yet – Fandalism.

“I came up with the idea for Fandalism when I was looking for a guitarist to jam with on Craigslist,” Kaplan told Hypebot from his home in San Francisco. “I was frustrated with Craigslist and thought, ‘what if there were a database of every musician in the world?’”

Fandalism is incredibly simple and straightforward. Musicians enter their basic information such as location, preferred genres of music, and influences. They then share their work through photos, lyrics, and embedded YouTube videos and SoundCloud palyers. They are then encouraged to follow other members, post comments, give “props” to their performances, and send private messages to interact.

One brand new feature, which is a huge product development for the site, is the ability to search for musicians through specific filters to find even the most obscure types of musicians all around the world, almost in an online dating-like fashion.

The search feature works amazingly well… there’s even a result for “heavy metal accordion players in Denmark”

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“Before search, Fandalism was just a fun, though large, community of musicians checking out other musicians' music,” Kaplan said. “Now with the new search feature, Fandalism has become super useful, in addition to being just fun. Try Fandalism vs. Craigslist to find musicians, and you'll see what I mean."

Kaplan wanted the site to grow organically through word of mouth, so he decided to make it invite-only when it initially launched back in January. Musicians began telling their other musician friends, and thanks to the site's Facebook integration, Fandalism quickly garnered around 85,000 users from all over the world in just a little over a month.

“One day, even if it's 20 years from now, I hope it will practically be a requirement for every musician on the planet to be on Fandalism,” Kaplan said. “I think that would be awesome for musicians.”

Aside from the ability to find the right creative fit for projects, Fandailsm also has an incredibly active social community built within the platform and across all of its social properties.

“There aren't really any other musician-only communities online,” Kaplan said. “There are lots of sites that connect musicians with fans, or connect musicians with industry people. But if you just want to hang out with other musicians and check out their playing, Fandalism is the place to be. And a lot of musicians find it irresistible to log into Fandalism throughout the day to see what new talent is featured by the musician-featuring algorithm.”

Fandalism continues to grow, approaching 500,000 users in less than a year since its launch back in January.

When we asked Kaplan about his future plans for the site: “I live for creating community among musicians. I'm going to keep building things that significantly improve the lives of musicians. Stay tuned.”

The site is open to the public and musicians can learn more by heading to Fandalism.com. 

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House, LLC and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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  1. According to Alexa, these other musician-only sites get way more visits from their user bases than Fandalism does from its 500,000:
    Tunecore.com has about 3X more traffic (with 50% fewer users, I think)
    Harmony-Central.com has 6X more traffic
    Surprising to me how infrequently Fandalism’s users actually visit/use the site. Maybe this new feature will help that.

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