New York (AFP) - Passionate about a band but too shy to share it on Facebook? A new site is hoping to carve out a niche in the crowded social media world by reaching the inner geek of hardcore music fans.
Called Fans and accessible at fans.com, the platform lets music lovers trade insights on shows, swap news stories and browse through a database that already has some five million past concerts.
The site, the latest project by music business entrepreneur Peter Shapiro, hopes to become a go-to site for fans that will complement Facebook and other platforms.
Chief product officer Jeff Caldwell said the social media world has been too fragmented for music lovers who follow a variety of bands or want a fan identity separate from the rest of their lives.
"If you're in a certain community, you can get very geeky with people, but if you want your entire fan identity, there's not a single place to do that," Caldwell told AFP.
"People want to talk about their fandom differently than when they are on Facebook. If I saw Slayer last night, if I saw Gwar last night, I'm not sure if I want my colleagues to know and my grandmother to see that," said Caldwell, referring to two intense heavy metal bands.
The site allows fans to post under assumed user-names, with the content visible to everyone who follows the same artist.
Caldwell sees Fans as especially conducive to conversations about old bands or shuttered venues, which often get automatically relegated to the back corners of Facebook timelines.
Shapiro was the force behind last year's Grateful Dead shows billed as the last by the legendary counterculture band whose "Deadhead" fan base is among the most dedicated in music.
The initial audience on Fans is highly weighted to the Dead and other jam bands.
As of Tuesday morning, less than a week after the site's launch, the Grateful Dead and Phish -- the jam band often seen as the Dead's successors -- each had more than 12,000 fans.
Pop star Katy Perry, the most followed person on Twitter at more than 92 million, had barely 300 followers on Fans.
Caldwell said the site aimed to stretch across all genres and internationally, but that Deadheads -- famed in the 1960s and 1970s for sharing bootlegs and traveling from show to show -- and other jam fans were a logical starting point.
"We think that they are the hardest community to please. If we can get it right with them, it can work in different areas," he said.