Topspin To Open Direct-To-Fan Platform To All

image from www.eyesandearsentertainment.com (UPDATED) Topspin CEO Ian Rogers used the New Music Seminar, to announce that their direct to fan platform will open to all musicians in March. While used by hundreds of musicians from Paul McCartney to unknown bands over the last 18 months, Topspin had been previously invite only. In addition, Rogers announced a $5,000 Direct-To-Fan marketing grant contest. 

\With plans starting at $9.99 per month plus15% of sales, users can access the full array of Topspin features which include tools for both fan acquisition and direct sales. “We’ve learned so much working with thousands of artists over the past three years,” said a clearly excited Rogers. “The only thing more exciting than the new features we’re rolling out in March is being able to bring those features to every artist on the planet.”

The new Direct-To-Fan Marketing grant will award $5,000 plus four 2-hour sessions of Topspin Pro Services consulting, to the applicant with the best direct-to-fan business plan. Applications will be judged by an all star industry panel including: Rick Rubin (co-president of Columbia Records), Marc Geiger (William Morris Endeavor), Richard Jones (manager of the Pixies), Glenn Peoples (Billboard Magazine), Mike King (Berklee Music), Jennie Smythe (Girlilla Marketing) and others.

For grant application visit www.topspinmedia.com. Entry deadline is March 7, 2011 at 6:00pm PST. The grant recipient will be announced at SXSW on Thursday, March 17.

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  1. There is absolutely nothing Topspin does that a band couldn’t do for themselves with a week’s work using already existing tools. E-commerce is everywhere in open source, marketing tools for collecting emails etc, already exists, and even their “advanced” tools like integrating with social media and giving stuff away in exchange for a tweet or facebook like.
    In other words, Topspin is a platform designed for big budget folks (like record labels, etc. that already use it) or a really lazy and/or unwilling band. In my opinion, a band paying $9.99 a month plus a percentage of sales would be simply stupid.

  2. @Jay: Open source tools are nice, but they don’t have the functionality or customizability of Topspin’s widgets. You COULD cobble together a bunch of free stuff, but A) you won’t have a central hub from which to operate all those different pieces, and B) you won’t reap the benefit of a unified analytics platform that pulls together data from all your widgets, players, and stores.
    Topspin is HARDLY designed for a lazy band; our platform is built for VERY active artists who engage in regular marketing, fan acquisition, selling, and optimization. We give bands all the tools they need to run a professional operation, plus the scale to do it right, whether they’ve got 2000 fans or 20,000.
    You’re entitled to your opinion, but we think an investment in Topspin is the smartest money a band can spend if they’re serious about building a sustainable business.

  3. We must have caused such a buzz that the Topspin site crashed! How can my band check it out if the website is down? Why would I sign up now? hahaha

  4. Well, at least the site is back up. I couldn’t get any information off of their social networks. Bad timing for a crash on the site, I would say..

  5. Just updated the piece to add that the pricing starts at $9.99 plus 15%.
    Jay – Ian tells me that they’re still working out the fee for existing customers and should know soon.
    If you guys have other questions I can try to ge them answered.

  6. Why should we go for topspin and not Reberbnation, or bandzoogle, or just set up a free wordpress website.

  7. Jason,
    First, I cannot speak from experience because I didn’t plop down the thousands of dollars for the Berklee Music class to unlock TopSpin. All I have to go by is what’s on the website, which doesn’t go into functionality and customizations, although I’d be willing to bet that any functionality or customization could be duplicated with minimal effort for someone already familiar with their own open source tool. And you would in fact have centralized analytics as long as you (again) knew what you were doing.
    I will point out that any interaction I’ve had with TopSpin through bands’ widgets and such (primarily from 10th St/Eleven Seven artists) have all looked EXACTLY the same, except for the album art. So maybe they just don’t know how to customize them.
    Like somebody asks below though, how can you compete with ReverbNation and other services like it that are free? Will there be a free trial of some sort?
    I guess what I really don’t get is the “why” factor. You say that it’s for bands that very actively do everything, but to me if they are actually very actively doing all that stuff, they don’t need TopSpin, because they’re already doing it. See what I mean?
    I don’t mean this as anything personal, but it just seems like this is another major-label-esque example of the old guard. To be in on it before this, you had to already “be somebody” in the industry, and/or you had to pay an awful lot of money to take the course. Even now, you’re offering an “all-star industry panel” but it’s from an industry that’s dying or already dead depending on who you ask. No offense to Mr. Rubin and company, but I don’t think even they can take an unknown band and make them financially successful right now. Hypebot always harps on doing something “new” in the industry, but this seems like much of the same old.
    I would love to see a more detailed tour or anything that explains how exactly TopSpin is any better or even different from anything else already out there and accessible to artists both lazy and hard-working. And I also just realized the post says *starting at* $9.99 and that makes it seem even more questionable.
    Bruce/Kyle, if Jason would like my email address you’re more than welcome to pass it along.

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