Joe Lieberman is the founder and CEO of FanAddict: a new mobile app that allows music lovers to easily find, track, and share their favorite live events locally or nationwide. Here, Lieberman discusses FanAddict’s birth and future. This interview took place at his KC home.
The Deli: Why is it important for fans to follow bands they love?
Lieberman: It’s a natural inclination of people who really love music and to want to see their favorite bands live. That was one of my biggest passions as a kid. I remember reading the album covers from back to back...studying up on the band members...keeping track of my ticket stubs. I built a scrapbook of all my memorabilia. I felt that the tracking and the scrapbook could be combined. That’s the genesis of FanAddict.
The Deli: What’s your sales pitch for FanAddict?
Lieberman: Track your favorite bands and relive your memories. You can only say one message at a time. Because if you say too much you’re saying nothing.
The Deli: How has living in KC affected FanAddict?
Lieberman: There’s a very strong entrepreneurial in spirit KC and a community ecosystem that revolves around small business development. It’s very nurturing. It was easy to find other professionals who had skill sets that I could use collaboratively.
The Deli: How do you think FanAddict will change the live music industry as a whole?
Lieberman: We hope to change the way that artists engage directly with their fans. Even using Spotify or Pandora you’re really just listening to the music. It’s distant. We’re trying to create an environment where you feel connected using your own notes, photographs, and band twitter feeds.
The Deli: You’re involved with two other Kansas City companies.
Lieberman: Yes. ManGoDo Productions is a fun shell for some creative things I do. At The Capitus Group, I do business consulting to help small business owners through growth transitions.
The Deli: How do you divide your time between projects?
Lieberman: Everything ebbs and flows. Currently FanAddict is working on version two development. I’ve got a bunch of people who are busy with that. So I have more time to focus on business consulting. But over the last year I did ramp up my involvement in FanAddict as needed.
The Deli: How do bands sign up?
Lieberman: Right now we are working on phase two, which allows bands to directly use FanAddict to manage their tour, events listings, and social media feeds.
The Deli: What lessons have you learned about launching a venture?
Lieberman: Foremost, you have to build an awesome product no matter what you do. It has to meet the needs of a key group of people. If you don’t do that; give up. You have to be careful about the robustness of your first product set.
The Deli: You had a contest for bands to submit videos for a chance to win a FanAddict traveling band van (the winner was Not A Planet).
Lieberman: We wanted to see if we could get bands to market FanAddict in a way that we couldn’t get exposure otherwise. It worked. It was a month long contest; In a few weeks we got over 4000 Facebook likes.
The Deli: Who are your favorite bands?
Lieberman: Currently Arcade Fire, of Monsters and Men, and The Doves. My favorite older bands are The Smiths, Morrissey, and Death Cab for Cutie. One of my favorite locals is Cowboy Indian Bear. They have these really nice lush harmonies.
The Deli: How do users find you in the AppStore?
Lieberman: We use a multi faceted marketing program including lots of organizations who want to promote us, the bands themselves, and PR agencies. Within the store, we use Search Optimization to find people who are searching words about our product.
The Deli: Bands can’t make money anymore by just selling music.
Lieberman: It’s the truth. It’s a sad state of affairs for the people developing the content that gets marketed by others. I think the bands that make it are quickly learning it takes a whole environment of cultivating fans. FanAddict helps with that.
The Deli: What’s the next big trend for bands making money?
Lieberman: It will continue to be fan access, like how big artists sell backstage passes. But I think smaller bands are going to get more and more creative marketing different ways to connect with their fans.
The Deli: Do you play music?
Lieberman: I don’t anymore, but I learned to as an adult. I took guitar lessons and started a band with a friend. We created our own music, played live, and cut a CD. But I couldn’t fit it all in, so I “put that to bed”. I then learned how to edit music, and now I have FanAddict.
The Deli: It’s a mystery to many users how apps actually make money.
Lieberman: It’s a mystery to me too [laughs[. Very little apps make money by selling themselves directly. We have affiliate revenues which make money off of song downloads, ticket commissions, and advertising.
The Deli: Do you have any new products on the horizon?
Lieberman: No, but I’ve had lots of ideas come and go over time. This is the biggest one I have jumped at. The experience has been incredible. I’ve been exposed to all sorts of great people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
The Deli: How do you think FanAddict would have changed your experience as a young music listener?
Lieberman: It was what I was looking for. I needed it. I would have been clued in and probably obsessed with it [laughs].
Hannah Copeland is a UMKC business student and self proclaimed "Fun Engineer". She books concerts for local bands every month, is working on an e-commerce music merchandise start-up, and is a lyricist and singer for her electronic band, Hunter Gatherer. She cannot wait to graduate next spring and work in radio broadcasting, music promotions, or bartending in South America. You can contact her at HeyHannahCopeland@gmail.com.