Solutions

Shooting Stars
FansUNITED uses its many FileMaker databases for multiple actions such as maintaining seven million customer profiles

FansUNITED

FansUNITED is a leading photo agency in the entertainment world. Founded 1989 in Koblenz, Germany, FansUNITED is now in 15 countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Great Britain. FansUNITED is a photo agency with a twist. Unlike traditional agencies in the music industry, this agency's photos are not only syndicated to the media but also sold direct to fans by mail and web order. More than seven million customers have purchased concert photographs from FansUNITED.

Overview

  • Photo agency to rock stars and musicians
  • Founded in Germany, now in 15 countries
  • Over seven million customers have purchased pictures

Industry

  • Entertainment

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro 10 runs business from end to end

Benefits

  • Hosts over 1 million images
  • All billing, fulfillment and tax documentation generated for several countries
  • Holds data for over seven million customers

FileMaker is perfect for us. We can run some information on our web terminal, and some in–house, regardless of the PC or Mac our employee is using. We see FileMaker Pro as the overall tool. We do not use Microsoft Outlook or Word anymore. All we need is provided by the database.

— Guido Karp, photographer and founder, FansUNITED, locations in 15 countries

With high profile photographers such as Guido Karp, Anton Corbijn and Robert John the FansUNITED roster of licensed artists reads like a who's who in pop and rock music: AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones and Tina Turner among many others.

At the events, FansUNITED staff distributes leaflets to fans entering the venues. If a potential customer sends in the leaflet with return postage, they receive a free 4x6" concert photo with a sales brochure, offering more concert photos for sale.

Business Challenge

Photographer and FansUNITED founder, Guido Karp, recalls that when the company first started some 20 years ago, he originally ran it on an Atari. But as the company grew and his plans expanded, he turned to FileMaker Pro because it was affordable and ran on both Macs and PCs.

"Most importantly," Karp continues, "we were able to understand the basics of the software, and could easily transfer the million customers we already had at that time into FileMaker and take it from there."

FansUNITED uses its many FileMaker databases for multiple actions such as maintaining seven million customer profiles; running a CRM platform in 15 languages; collecting and sending mail, text messages and other communications directly through FileMaker; hosting 1.3 million photographs in 8x10" at 300dpi and generating ecommerce web sites in several languages with images straight from the FileMaker image library.

Besides running the day–to–day business of FansUNITED, FileMaker also manages all aspects of the events, such as organizing the leaflets for more than 1,000 shows a year and the logistics of the tour — hotels, flights and payments.

"The real challenge," says Karp, "is that our workflows must be optimized to perfection, otherwise we could never run this organization with the small staff we have."

We were able to understand the basics of the software, and could easily transfer the million customers we already had at that time into FileMaker and take it from there.

— Guido Karp, photographer and founder, FansUNITED, locations in 15 countries

Successful Solution

At FansUNITED, there are more than 300 databases, all linked to each other. Karp says, "Let me give you a quick example: currently, our biggest tour is the AC/DC tour. Let's say AC/DC adds a show in Boise, Idaho and one in Basel, Switzerland."

He explains that each show has its own database Diary and entries made into the Diaries will trigger the following workflow:

  • The design database confirms that the appropriate leaflet has already been designed, approved by the artist and is ready for printing
  • The Venue Database tells us how many attendees to expect
  • The Address book will advance the show to the venues' marketing people
  • The Diary will alert our travel agent of our hotel and travel needs
  • The Address book will also alert all our volunteers that new shows have been added, taking the relevant information (ticket sales from Diary, venue information such as meeting point and time from Venue Database, and then send texts in the relevant languages, in the preference by the individual volunteer, which may vary from email, text message, Skype message or post card)
  • The Diary will post the names of the volunteers who have confirmed they are available
  • Marketing will alert the relevant media that we will have images from the shows
  • Accounts will provide financials to both touring staff as well as State Forms (like IRS payroll)
  • And finally, the Job Database orders the appropriate number of leaflets from the printer we use in that country, and prepares the shipping."

Customer Benefits

It all adds up to a very tall order but one FileMaker Pro accomplishes with ease. "FileMaker is perfect for us," Karp says. "We can run some information on our web terminal, and some in-house, regardless of the PC or Mac our employee is using. We see FileMaker Pro as the overall tool. We do not use Microsoft Outlook or Word anymore. All we need is provided by the database."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For FansUNITED:

Guido Karp
FansUNITED
Los Angeles, CA
310-464 1474
Guido.karp@fansunited.com
http://www.fansunited.com