The Nimbit vs. Topspin Smackdown - hypebot

« Twitter Explodes As Video Discovery Engine | Main | More Music Industry News: EMI, ReverbNation, Muziic & More »

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Scott

My resume is updated and available at www.scottfeldman.net. For those interested, I require only a modest salary, benefits package, relocation fees, and key to the executive washroom. Oh and a corner office, stock options, luxury suite at the local megaplex, handservant, a case of Petrus '55 delivered monthly. Did I mention I'll also need a car and driver at all times?

But seriously folks, I've been in this industry for a while now, and haven't fucked anyone over yet. I like to think I'm about as legit/impartial/fair as possible. Read the posts, and comment if you agree or think I'm totally off the mark....

Ben Patterson

This seems like a waste of time. Nimbit and Topspin are both products, not services, and you get back what you put in. Honestly, fans could give a rats a** about the widget used to stream or trade mp3s for emails. And really, most fans still buy from iTunes or stream on YouTube so a service that monetizes there is a bigger win.

The real test here should be an artist / band using the tools themselves and then discussing the ease-of-use, conversion rates, etc. Plus a mash-up of fees vs returns.

Oniracom

I agree with Ben on this one... You really do get back what you put in.

Also, if you are using two different sets of widgets, that means you have two different mailing lists. Are you sending out through Topspin? Or Nimbit?

I checked out the website and it looks like you are using a combination of Topspin (for email for media widgets) and Nimbit (for the store), so not sure how results are going to be measured there.

We recently did a mashup/review of Topspin vs. Nimbit vs. Bandbox. Check it out and see who our winner was:

http://solutionsfordreamers.com/articles/comparing_services_of_direct-to-fan_platforms/

Scott

Guys -

It's agreed; you get back what you put in. But the question really becomes how much/how hard/with what options can you put in to maximize the return.

For the moment, we've got a mashup of widgets/storefronts as I (slightly) hastily chose what seemed like the best of both Nimbit and Topspin. As I go on with this endeavor, I'll test out each company's "version" and come to a reasoned conclusion and post the process/decision making.

For now, yeah, there'll be two mailing lists generated. And when I see which one does a better job with messaging and list management, then again, that'll be posted and discussed.

And technically, I'm not sure on the product vs. service discussion. Software is a product -- but both companies offer a SaaS type solution. So it's both apple and orange, maybe?

On the marketing side, I've been getting the "what's the difference between you and Topspin" question a LOT. This is my way of answering the question conclusively.

Will Hatfield

Scott, you're a seasoned marketing professional who can likely get some results regardless of which widget you use. The acid test is how DIY artists with zero marketing skills can cut through the noise that a million other unsigned artists making with the same tools.

Marketing is a science. It requires a skill set that bands simpky don't have. It also requires serious funding. This is the area that unsigned artists are struggling with (all will continue doing so).

Any artist (no matter how bad) can port their music across all the stores but marketing and promoting it?..that's another story. Simply following Nimbit or Topspin tips and guidlines ain't gonna cut it.
MelodyConnect...bringing musicians and investors together.

Will Hatfield

Scott

You can cut a tree down with a butter knife or a chainsaw. Both will work, but one is decidely better to use. While dramatic, that's the point here.

[no further company plug here]

Louis T.

"Marketing is a science..."

Are you an idiot?

Marketing is about fighting for artists, getting into radio, internet, etc. and beating them up until they support.

Marketing is being a salesman in showbiz. You gotta fight for your artist.

Nimbit and all these tech companies are bullshit analytics, etc. They are NOT marketing.

Old Record Guy

How come there is almost nothing written about that these services actually cost (especially Topspin)- per download fees, distribution fees, setup charges, etc?

That's way more important than who has a better GUI. Any comparo worth its salt will disclose both.

Scott

Lewis -

Marketing is not just about fist-stomping, shouting, and being the squeaky wheel. Successful marketers know how to create the buzz, but also analyze the methods and results that precede/follow it. From there, they can take that info and turn it into results that matter. Marketing is definitely NOT sales. To be totally folksy, marketing leads you to water, but sales makes you drink it.

Nimbit and Topspin are definitely NOT bullshit! They're not a "magic bullet" that solves every problem either - and neither company is presented as such. But they both serve a very useful purpose in the marketing cycle. Which is better/more successful/smarter remains to be seen -- that's one piece of why I'm doing this whole experiment. The other, obviously, is to help the guys in Hollow Vixen capitalize on opportunities - present and future.

ORG -

That's definitely part of any conversation -- at least, it will be part of this one. Additionally though, the GUI is a valid component. To get the most out of the platform (at any price!), you need ease of use.

Iancr

As I told Scott via email I'd prefer if this was a real A/B test with two separate sites load balanced to see which approach (not just widgets, but marketing approach) garners more email addrs and $$. We would probably learn more that way as I agree with the commenters here, it's more about the marketing approach than the tools -- the tools don't make the campaign -- just as you can make a shitty record with ProTools you can run a shitty marketing campaign with Nimbit or Topspin, and if the music doesn't touch people no tool is going to solve the problem.

Ben, I agree with what you say but while it's true that most fans buy from iTunes in an absolute number basis many of our artists are finding more profit in the direct-to-fan channel. With my Get Busy Committee experiment Topspin has put 3x the money in our pocket our INgrooves checks have, so even at that level the direct to fan side drives more $$. Even David Byrne/Brian Eno they made more profit on direct to fan than they did through DSPs and physical distro combined. Less units, yes, more profit.

Just for fun, a couple Topspin releases from today:

http://www.howtodestroyangels.com/store/
http://www.arcadefire.com/

Hello from SFO,
ian

Scott

As I told Ian via email ( :P ) ... this is equally about the process of using and implementing the tools from both platforms without outside assistance. If I started to have more people involved from Nimbit and Topspin it could cast some doubt on the legitimacy/objectivity of it all. Not that folks haven't already. Everyone's a critic. Everyone's cynical. Trust is becoming a rare commodity today. But enough social commentary...

The fact that what I'm doing isn't "scientifically perfect" validates it to the public. It's not so slick that it begs to be questioned, you know? While I'm sitting in a Nimbit "chair," I'm not writing anything with professional bias -- and it shows when you read the posts.

And yes, I realize how ridiculous some of that sounds, but it does make sense.

Just for fun, check out Abraham Inc. They're the coolest thing to come across my desk in a long time -- and they've got Fred Wesley (!!!) in the band. If you don't know who he is, run to your local Internet search bar now!

www.abrahaminc.com

Good morning from Framingham,
Scott

J. Jack

Why is bandcamp not part of this conversation? It's free.

CocoOConnor

Hello All,
Well, I am an artist who used Nimbit for 2 years prior to just getting on board with Topspin within the last 2 months.
From my personal experience, I found that Topspin has given me better results than Nimbit. Like the band in the experiment, I do not have a big email list or a boatload of fans on FB ...however, until I was on Topspin...I never sold a ticket to any shows. And just a few weeks ago , I did a pre-sale for an upcoming show in July and sold 6 tickets. That is HUGE for me!
However, do know that I just got out of the Topspin course at Berklee where I didn't just take the "Topspin Course" I took 2 additional courses 1) The Future of Music ( taught by the founder of Hypebot , Brunce Houghton) and 2) Music Marketing : Retail, Press, Promotion in order to be "certified" as a Topspin Marketer. I believe my success is mainly due to my new found knowledge regarding certain marketing practices. Probably , if Nimbit had had a course at Berklee...I would have taken it and had satisfactory results with that tool.
I see it like building a house-- it's one thing to have the tools but you don't start building a house w/o building plans do you? Plus, you can't just build a house with only a hammer. You have to have nails, saws, wood, etc etc
I hear many artists complaining about the cost of the courses or the cost of promotion in general.But let me ask...how many thousands of dollars are spent on gear. I am married to a keyboardist who owns a number of vintage keys , outboard gear, mics, cables, I mean even if you are not a "gear-head" ... you probably have a guitar or maybe a drum set that cost at least $2000, right? I have made 3 CD's, spent $1500 on both to be professionally mastered plus had 1000 of both printed up at Discmakers. Tally that up:) it's well over what my education cost at Berklee. In the long run, I will actually save money because I will never make these expensive mistakes again. Wish I would've taken some classes before I got in the studio.
The thing is ... is that us creatives are dreamers...we sometimes can't or refuse to see things as they really are...I will say that I was kinda depressed after I took the courses cause it made me see that it takes nothing short of a small miracle to "write, record, and release" plus a small fortune to promote/market. However, after whining ; I just realized that if I believe in my art...it's my responsibility to simply do the best I can with what resources I have been given.
Truth is .... we have to be open to income coming in from multiple streams: DTF, Film.TV placements, joint ventures etc...just like other successful artists ie Jimmy Buffett (who has Lagershark, Margaritaville liquors and restaurants, and his own label) , Justin Timberlake ( invested in an LA restaurant), Beyonce (new perfume line Heat) etc etc. These people are just doing things on a larger scale...but they are nothing more than "artist-preneurs" which is something we all can and should strive to be. Artists should think about having their own "music business" and that includes everything from creation (of a product, songs, etc) to marketing (advertisements of your services), which will convert into sales. Cause in the end...no matter if you are on a label ( I have close friends on majors) or DIY you gotta look at the bottom line. If there are no sales you're gonna get dropped and if it's DIY and there are no sales..it's a hobby not a business. If you do treat it like a biz...you gotta wear many hats and yes, that's frustrating sometimes but successful business owner learn what hats they wanna wear and find others who'll wear the hats they don't wanna wear:)
Everyone and their goals are different...and that's what I think this experiment will prove...what works for some , won't work for others and vice-versa but I say never has there been a better time of "possibility".
THX for reading and I look forward to following this adventure:)
Coco
PS- You can visit my new website called http://zumuloo.com that is "helping musicians find their loot"-- regarding Topspin, marketing, my personal artistic struggles involving the 2:) and ideas in general -- I hope to make that site into more of a community where we "creatives" can go and share our experiences ideas etc...and my artist site as well... cocooconnor.com

CocoOConnor

Hello All,
Well, I am an artist who used Nimbit for 2 years prior to just getting on board with Topspin within the last 2 months.
From my personal experience, I found that Topspin has given me better results than Nimbit. Like the band in the experiment, I do not have a big email list or a boatload of fans on FB ...however, until I was on Topspin...I never sold a ticket to any shows. And just a few weeks ago , I did a pre-sale for an upcoming show in July and sold 6 tickets. That is HUGE for me!
However, do know that I just got out of the Topspin course at Berklee where I didn't just take the "Topspin Course" I took 2 additional courses 1) The Future of Music ( taught by the founder of Hypebot , Brunce Houghton) and 2) Music Marketing : Retail, Press, Promotion in order to be "certified" as a Topspin Marketer. I believe my success is mainly due to my new found knowledge regarding certain marketing practices. Probably , if Nimbit had had a course at Berklee...I would have taken it and had satisfactory results with that tool.
I see it like building a house-- it's one thing to have the tools but you don't start building a house w/o building plans do you? Plus, you can't just build a house with only a hammer. You have to have nails, saws, wood, etc etc
I hear many artists complaining about the cost of the courses or the cost of promotion in general.But let me ask...how many thousands of dollars are spent on gear. I am married to a keyboardist who owns a number of vintage keys , outboard gear, mics, cables, I mean even if you are not a "gear-head" ... you probably have a guitar or maybe a drum set that cost at least $2000, right? I have made 3 CD's, spent $1500 on both to be professionally mastered plus had 1000 of both printed up at Discmakers. Tally that up:) it's well over what my education cost at Berklee. In the long run, I will actually save money because I will never make these expensive mistakes again. Wish I would've taken some classes before I got in the studio.
The thing is ... is that us creatives are dreamers...we sometimes can't or refuse to see things as they really are...I will say that I was kinda depressed after I took the courses cause it made me see that it takes nothing short of a small miracle to "write, record, and release" plus a small fortune to promote/market. However, after whining ; I just realized that if I believe in my art...it's my responsibility to simply do the best I can with what resources I have been given.
Truth is .... we have to be open to income coming in from multiple streams: DTF, Film.TV placements, joint ventures etc...just like other successful artists ie Jimmy Buffett (who has Lagershark, Margaritaville liquors and restaurants, and his own label) , Justin Timberlake ( invested in an LA restaurant), Beyonce (new perfume line Heat) etc etc. These people are just doing things on a larger scale...but they are nothing more than "artist-preneurs" which is something we all can and should strive to be. Artists should think about having their own "music business" and that includes everything from creation (of a product, songs, etc) to marketing (advertisements of your services), which will convert into sales. Cause in the end...no matter if you are on a label ( I have close friends on majors) or DIY you gotta look at the bottom line. If there are no sales you're gonna get dropped and if it's DIY and there are no sales..it's a hobby not a business.
Everyone and their goals are different...and that's what I think this experiment will prove...what works for some , won't work for others and vice-versa but I say never has there been a better time of "possibility".
THX for reading and I look forward to following this adventure:)
Coco
PS- You can visit my new website called http://zumuloo.com that is "helping musicians find their loot"-- regarding Topspin, marketing, my personal artistic struggles involving the 2:) and ideas in general -- I hope to make that site into more of a community where we "creatives" can go and share our experiences ideas etc...and my artist site as well... http://cocooconnor.com

Clyde Smith

I appreciate folks who are willing to take the time to check out different platforms and share their findings.

I'm capable of deciding for myself but, when it's well done, that can save me a lot of time by telling me what to pay attention to, sharing quirks that may not be obvious, etc.

As someone who uses a lot of web services, I know that even the ones that look the same can be quite different and so it's great to have people share their time and attention.

Clyde Smith

Honestly, if you compare platforms and make recommendations on what they say they do, rather than what they do, you're a sucker serving suckers.

For instance, I helped somebody set up a blogger/blogspot blog recently because they'd added some basic but needed options and another friend had gotten on and set up a site without too much bother. After a few days we realized that numerous aspects weren't working and, after going to the forum and seeing that folks had been complaining about this stuff for months with no response from the company (i.e. Google the anti-customer service behemoth), we moved it over to hosted Wordpress.

Seriously, a good way to evaluate whether someone is worth going to for advice is to see if they take company claims for granted. If so, they aren't worth dealing with as "consultants" cause taking advice from toys, even free advice, makes you a toy.

Phil Antoniades (founder/drummer/nimbit)

Amen - I'm glad somebody said IT early on in this thread. Artist's must take responsibility for their success! If you believe in your music, you must believe in your business! Their is NO magic here other than the music you create. If anything, artist's should believe in using some of their creative talent to create interesting business plans.

It's amazing to me how hard it is to get an artist to show up when it comes to promoting themselves. It's not rocket science. It is, however, something you have to learn about, nurture and constantly move forward. Just like making music.

At Nimbit we are constantly trying to make access to a simple marketing system easy and measurable so when an artist or manager takes the initiative, they can measure the results quickly. Furthermore, no-one is going to hand you money unless you ask for it (marketing & sales) so we work to make sure you can track how you get a fan to eventually buy!

Again, Amen to coocooconnor, if we (artists, managers, bands) don't step up right now and take back our industry, we'll have no-one but ourselves to blame when megaticketmonger.com owns our asses and we are happy touring the world for 30 grand a year...

wolfgang

I like this thread a lot. thanks for the input.

D2F marketing seams to be the key at the moment. the same as D2C business. D2C works fine with ethno, gothic, industrial, jazz, ... music mass potential but no star potential.
fact is that those who move the masses don't use D2F strategies. they work pretty conservative.

All these Nimbit-like-plattforms make sense if you play around 100 shows a year, sell your own records at the merch and need a cheap digital window to serve those who realized at home that they should have bought a record after the show.

patrick - Nimbit CTO & Founder

Scott (& Ian),

I thought I should chime in here and register a comment on the fairness of the whole experiment. At face value, it’s difficult to say whether this is a ‘fair fight’, however I would argue that Nimbit is at the disadvantage, if anything.

If Nimbit ends up working out better for this campaign then people will question the validity of the result, simply because Scott is doing marketing work for Nimbit. Nothing we can do about it, even though this is something Scott is doing completely independent of his role with us. Believe me if we had known any of this ahead of time we would have said no way, for many of the same reasons that Ian points out.

If Ian’s product ends up working better for this particular artist then people will likely say that is a valid result given that Scott has no apparent motivation to favor the other platform.

That all said, let the games begin. Like Ian said, “thanks for the competitive intel.” It works both ways in that regard and now that the veil is being pulled back from their platform, Nimbit can work just as quickly as they can, if not quicker, to erase any deficiency and accentuate the experience and value that we’ve been building into our platform for the past seven years.

In the end, it’s about delivering a better platform for doing real business in today’s music industry. Nimbit has always and will continue to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to that.

Patrick Faucher
Founder & CTO
Nimbit, Inc.

CocoOConnor

Thank you Phil...I am truly honored that you took the time to reply (awesome!!) . BTW- I just started a new site / company and I want to provide artists with tools, strategies, etc...and would like to have you as a contributor in some form or fashion. I am all new to this sorta thing...but I will welcome any mentorship. You can visit the site http://zumuloo.com and check out my "about" tab to see my vision. THX again...I still have the credit card machine from NIMBIT ...never opened it...I never used it even:( BUt that's my own fault...NIMBIT supplied the tools...I didn't use 'em:) Hugs Coco

Kally

wow, this turned into something pretty useless. Seems like it's a cheap attention to draw attention to Scott as a "marketing consultant" and a poorly executed analysis of both platforms. What a joke. I'd be laughing if it wasn't so embarrassing.

Charles Alexander

Are there no further installments to the experiment, Scott?

Anthony Erickson

like someone said...Im curious to know the bottom line. SALES/$$$ comparisons of using the two services....and bringing Bandcamp/ and ReverbNation into the mix, as they offer similar services too.

Corey Crossfield

This just seems like a classic who has the biggest...budget contest. I mean seriously who cares about either platform at the end of the day it's about the artist and music and from a marketing standpoint neither of thees platforms are good. I have used both while marketing releases for artists and neither contributed greatly to any greater good for music.

Honestly the best statistics I ever got as a marketer came from band metrics and bandcamp, two free simple and easy to use platforms for artists which don't include an ugly "free" email widget and/or a store with an email option.

Epic fail.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Musician & Music Industry Resources


SEARCH HYPEBOT