Shawn Mendes is already plotting a huge 2017 to follow up a robust year that included another No. 1 album, multiple Top 40 hits and his first headlining tour. Next year, Mendes and longtime manager Andrew Gertler are hoping to expand the 18-year-old singer-songwriter’s profile through his first arena headlining run, possibly more music, and Fan.si, a Toronto-based artist services app that encourages fan interaction through exclusive merchandise and experiences.
Gertler tells Billboard exclusively that he and Mendes have formally signed on as investors and advisors of Fan.si through their AG Ventures, after the app (founded in 2013) helped launch the pre-sale of Mendes’ Madison Square Garden headlining show in September, and later for his 2017 tour.
“It’s a mix of a traditional fan club — it lists tour dates, it gives fans a way to interact online,” Gertler explains of the app. “But it also is going to get built out into amazing interactive experiences, where fans can buy digital goods, get first access to merch items as flash sales through the app, and where they can access augmented-reality VR experiences at a show. We want superfans provided with a next-level experience of some kind.”
For Mendes’ Madison Square Garden show, Gertler says that he and Mendes wanted to come up with a way to get tickets into the hands of diehard fans only and not scalpers. They decided to partner with Fan.si and geolocate fans who would be attending Mendes’ performance on the Today show the day before the MSG pre-sale started, and give them the first crack at tickets. “What better way to combat scalpers than to make sure the only people who get a pre-sale code to the show are the people at the Today show, that we know are his fans?” Gertler says.
Now, Mendes and Gertler have moved beyond the initial partnership to formally join the Fan.si braintrust, with more fan experiences being planned for his 2017 tour and future music rollouts. “What Andrew and Shawn have built together in the past few years shows the true power of direct-to-fan experiences,” Fan.si founder Joel Augé adds in a statement. “We were thrilled the Fan.si platform played a role in their success in 2016 and now we’re even more excited to utilize their experience as strategic advisors.”
Gertler says that the investment is a natural extension of Mendes’ brand. “For Shawn, every endorsement deal he’s already done is a by-product of what he’s already doing,” he says. “We always look — we only look — at partners that will come in and help amplify the awesome relationship that Shawn has with his fans.”