Topspin’s on the Road

We invested in Topspin Media last summer, and they’ve been busy cranking out multiple releases of their Artist Manager platform while simultaneously supporting numerous album releases from established and new artists who have adopted Topspin’s technology to enable them to release their music direct-to-fan. As a reminder, Topspin provides advanced marketing tools and services to enable recording artists to build successful brands and businesses online.

Many musicians chose to release their music using Topspin’s platform in 2008.   The two highest-profile releases to date have been David Byrne and Brian Eno’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today and Paul McCartney’s The Fireman. The Fireman’s Electric Arguments made The AMG Top 50 Album list for 2008, while the Byrne/Eno album (one of my personal favorites of the year) wound up on a boatload of year’s best lists, published by the likes of AMG, Sound Opinions, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Uncut and the NPR Listeners.

Of course, Topspin’s platform is not just for established artists — some great new artists chose to release their music on Topspin in 2008, including White Denim, Spinnerette and Imaad Wasif. Yet another release worthy of mention (because it was a first) was Arcade Fire’s release of their documentary, the first direct-to-fan video release and the first-ever better-than-DVD-quality direct-to-fan release as well. If you want to dig deeper, see Topspin’s blog for a more detailed rundown of their 2008 activities.

There’s a long list of artists launching their music via Topspin in 2009 that we’d love to talk about, but we’ve been sworn to secrecy until each one goes live. Watch the Topspin blog for the release announcements when they happen.

In the meantime, Topspin is going out on the road in January, and may be coming to a city near you. If you’ll be in Vegas attending CES this week, Topspin’s CEO Ian Rogers will be on Billboard’s Digital Music Live Music 2.0 panel on Wednesday morning and on a CES Issues and Attitudes Session Panel on technology and independent musicians on Thursday afternoon. And since it wouldn’t be Vegas without a party, Topspin is hosting a meetup at T&T’s in the Luxor on Wednesday evening, so come join the fun and meet the Topspin crew as well as several of Foundry Group’s partners, who will be in attendance. Finally, if you can’t make it to Sin City in January, but you happen to be in Europe, Topspin is hosting a meetup in Cannes during the MIDEM conference.

  • richards smith

    topspin is the same as no?

  • ian c rogers

    Hi Richards,

    I apologize for the lack of clarity on our Web site. We're not out of beta yet and haven't put too many specifics around our marketing message just yet. I know it can be a little difficult to sort out what separates us from other direct-to-fan offerings out there.

    We're actually taking a different approach than or others. Where most of the solutions I've seen so far are about demand fulfillment, we're much more about demand creation. Our platform definitely includes the ability to fulfill high quality digital (and physical) goods, but it also has sophisticated tools to manage the workflow necessary to market those goods online and measure the results of that marketing.

    On a very practical level,'s tools appear to me to be better at managing an entire label collection and very simply making that catalog available for sale at commodity prices. Our platform is much better for creating and marketing non-commodity offerings directed at serious fans.

    I hope that helps.


    • Bobby Richards

      Ian — when you say 'high quality digital (and physical) goods', what do you mean? What are the parameters of higher quality? Pls don't take this as any provocation, because I'm wanting to discover people in the recorded music world who care about quality.