By the Topspin Staff.
As direct-to-fan campaigns go, 2013 was a banner year. Over the course of the last 12 months, we saw some of the most creative, smart, ballsy, and just plain cool examples of artists, flimmakers, and others connecting with fans that ever before in our 5-year history.
So it's no wonder our staff just couldn't wait to share their favorites. Enjoy...
WISH I WAS HERE (Zach Braff)
by Nicole St. Jean
Topspin and our ace friends at PROD/Icon helped Wish I Was Here build a beautiful home for the film's community of Kickstarter backers and new fans. Every week of production new videos were posted, teaching all of us how a film is made – topics included props, costume design, special effects, casting, etc.
The videos were funny and informative. (Personally, I learned quite a bit too. When we first launched back in August, I tried to correct Zach Braff's spelling of “previs” to “previous” only to learn that “previs” is a film term meaning “previsualization.” Doh!)
Watching the joyful comments from fans come in when each video posted was incredibly gratifying. And last week Wish I Was Here sold out of the first thing sold on the site: a limited-edition Jax “Sphero,” an impossibly cool robot toy hand-painted to resemble the Jax character in the film.
The cast and crew of this movie are fantastic partners, the film is incredible and our team has come to know the legions of lovely fans quite well. From all angles, it's an awesome project. Good thing there are more surprises in store for 2014!
CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS (Activision)
by Aaron Pathammavong
I joined Topspin's Creative Services team in May and had the awesome privilege of working with some of the biggest names in entertainment. The campaign for Eminem's MMLP2 with the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts was the most memorable for me. Fans that purchased CoD through GameStop were given a unique code that unlocked MMLP2 at a discounted price.
Topspin was able to create a comprehensive, powerful, and beautifully designed campaign. What's cooler than a million dollars? A billion dollars. That's the figure for the first day Ghosts went on sale. Through those units sold, Eminem was able to gain 792,000 downloads of MMLP2 in the first week. It's impressive by any measurement. I've learned a lot during the creation of this project, and I can't wait to see what's in store for 2014.
RAIN PLANS (Israel Nash)
by Miré Molnar
Israel Nash is a “self serve” artist (as we like to call them) who has shown us a few things about how to put together a beautiful campaign using our platform. We asked the artist if he could send us his Limited First Edition Rain Plans bundle and we were all very impressed with what he sent. I can't help but be so congratulatory to and inspired by an artist taking this much care, thought and time into the presentation of an album. Simply making an LP alone takes so much dedication and work - then to include hand-printed vinyl sleeves and a personalized viewfinder!!!??? Amazing! The songs and their production are dreamy, folky and well executed. The thoughtful package bundle elevates this delightful album to an even higher level. Kudos man!
REFLEKTOR (Arcade Fire)
by Steph Lo
If I could send a letter to my 16-year old self, I'd say:
I know you're mad that you couldn't get tickets to see Arcade Fire at the Troubadour because you were stuck in World History with Mr. Hall when tickets went on sale. I know you just want to drive around blasting Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) with the windows down, and that's okay. Let Arcade Fire be the soundtrack to your teenage angst and high school trials and tribulations. Just continue to work hard and keep your eyes on the prize.
One day, the band will come out with “The Suburbs” and it will change of your life. A few years later, they'll release “Reflektor,” and you're going to help them sell it. You'll then spend your Halloween at a special Arcade Fire show at the Palladium, dressed up as a bank robber, dancing under a giant disco ball with a bunch of other dudes dressed up as Win Butler and it will be awesome.
Kind regards and high fives from the future,
Your 25-year old self
CRAZY KIDS (Ke$ha)
by Miranda Degnan
As 2013 comes to a close, it's safe to say that this year was marked by the return of music videos. Pharell, Beyonce, Arcade Fire, and even Bob Dylan have pushed the envelope on traditional music video experiences and really turned over some great work on different ways to view and interact with videos. I am still really impressed with all of these artists, and one video in particular that stood out was the video for Crazy Kids from Ke$ha.
Our friends over at The Uprising Creative directed this great video for Ke$ha, and our Creative Services Team used YouTube annotations to sell T Shirts directly to her fans, which you can still buy just in time for the holidays here. This is a really fun song and definitely an entertaining video to watch.
BORN AND RAISED (Smif N Wessun)
by Jonny Young
Duck Down Music has put together some of the most creative direct-to-fan campaigns I've seen this year. In addition to the already out-of-the-box physical items such as the jute tote bag, rolling papers and acrylic grinder, their team also put together unique fan experiences available exclusively from the artist's store. The Ultimate Collector's package gives fans a chance to grab lunch with Smif N Wessun at Lily's in NYC. Also available are smoke sessions with Smif N Wessun in the studio, Skype calls, or even a custom verse from the duo.
by Jim Wallis
Denton, TX's Midlake returned this year and premiered the opening, title track from their great new record Antiphon on BBC 6 Music, simultaneously directing fans to download the track for free in exchange for an email address over at midlake.net using Topspin. With the departure of frontman Tim Smith, this track moves away from the more downbeat sound of their previous record, letting the rhythm section of the leash, upping the energy levels and putting a little more of the rock back into their excellent brand of 21st Century folk rock.
MEDORA (Beachside Films)
by Dick Fink
Setting: a small town in Middle America, with the factory gone, main-street boarded up, and little hope for revival. The high school's basketball team hasn't won a game in years; and as small, local schools continue to shut down and incorporate to cut costs they have to play increasingly large and skilled teams. If this sounds like a contrived story made up by someone in a coffee shop in Hollywood, it isn't. This is Medora.
This documentary film, produced by Steve Buscemi, is my favorite campaign of the year. It's an inspiring story, which gives a great inside look into the lives of a few teens in this struggling town. You don't need to care about basketball to enjoy this film; you just need to care about life.
I'm proud to say Topspin helped run the online store, and assisted in the digital marketing efforts.