Fan financing service Passes has officially announced an agreement to acquire self-proclaimed “subscription social media platform” Fanhouse. However, a number of originators are voicing their disapproval, and the Passes founder chose to give “unequivocal acknowledgment and apologies for the way the deal was announced”.
The acquisition was publicized in a series of tweets from Fanhouse (originally described as a “merger”). While not a musician-dominated platform, Fanhouse is among its users, including The Chainsmokers, who backed the startup through their Mantis VC in May 2021. Parcast founder Max Cutler also joined this seed round, and then so did Fanhouse announced a $20 million Series A led by a16z about a year later.
Meanwhile, seemingly similar company Passes bills itself as a “brand-friendly platform with more features than anyone else in the industry.” Both it and Fanhouse prohibit nudity, and among the creators featured on the passports’ homepage is a magician and artist Annie Shredand an astrologer to name a few.
It’s also worth noting that Passes announced late last week that it had secured $9 million in seed funding from Multicoin Capital and others. Although the companies involved have not disclosed the details of the Fanhouse acquisition – including the sale price and the number of Fanhouse staff who will remain on board after the deal – they stated that “all creatives will have a seamless transition to their personalized passports.” page is offered”.
“Fanhouse will continue to operate during this transition and for a period thereafter,” Fanhouse said continuation on twitter. “Creators simply need to log into Passes with their fanhouse information and their site is already set up and ready to go (about a 95:5 split!). (And did we mention that all *fans* also get Passes accounts and keep their active subscriptions and unlocked posts?)”
However, as mentioned at the beginning, several developers are making it clear that they are less than enthusiastic about the news and the prospect of moving to passports. Their concerns and complaints — most of which Lucy Guo, CEO of Passes has responded to personally on Twitter — concern the switch of posts to Passes, the current lack of an app on the platform, and the use of artificial intelligence.
All posts are broadcast, an app is under development (“We’ve since found that SMS notifications convert better”) and Passes uses AI to scan for banned content and (if creators choose to do so) offer auto-generated media to followers, according to Guo (who also co-founded Scale AI) as well as a FAQ.
“I’ve spent the last day reading comments and speaking directly with the creators — I want to give my sincere appreciation and apologies for the way the Fanhouse x Passes merger was announced,” Guo said wrote in another tweet already.
“We found out last night that The Information (a technology-based news publication) wanted to break the story and wanted the community to hear it directly from us,” she continued to sue that FanHouse had approached them “with the proposal to acquire the company”. “We were only minutes away from the scheduled release, so everything was extremely rushed.”
Needless to say, it will be interesting to keep an eye on the presence of Passes in the music industry – which supports “pay-per-minute 1-on-1 calls” in addition to subscriptions, paywall content and live streams – in the future.
Several companies are working to capitalize on superfan engagement, and BTS agency Hybe has already made significant strides in this area with its social platform Weverse. Last week, Twitter began accepting payments under its Creator Ads revenue sharing program. A broader rollout is planned for later in July.