Topple Track is a service for finding pirated content on the web and issuing takedown notices on the behalf of rights holders. They're currently focused on music and have not only redesigned their site for customers but are launching an API so that other music companies can offer Topple Track's service to their own customers. But their plans are even bigger with a vision that includes not only extending their service to rights holders of other forms of content but including analytics to evaluate the wider response on the web beyond the realms of piracy.
Hypebot readers may know Topple Track for their role in creating the incredibly successful Top 100 DJs list that is an excellent example of content marketing. Or you may have read CEO Zach Marburger's recent response to the RIAA's Five-Point-Plan For Google.
However Topple Track's main claim to fame may be the takedown of 4.2 million links to pirated content from Google putting them up with or even above major content corporations like NBC, Fox and Disney.
A relatively small company, Topple Track was founded in early 2011 by CEO Zach Marburger and Brandon Cook, VP Product. In creating Topple Track they drew on extensive experience in SEO and search engine marketing. When I spoke with the co-founders, they pointed out that what Topple Track does is fairly similar to what search engines do in that they primarily spider the web (for both illegal and legal uses of music and other content) and then store and analyze the data.
When they find such things as Google links to illegally hosted or shared files, they follow DMCA provisions and issue a takedown notice.
How Topple Track Works
Recently Topple Track was involved in what appeared to be a bit of controversy when their automated system, which does manual checks as needed, identified some artist Twitter accounts in a DMCA takedown request.
As they explained, in that particular instance a system update accidentally misidentified some sites as "bad sites" leading to an inadvertent request for takedowns. However Google maintains its own list and so doesn't block searches for accounts on sites like Twitter. In addition, they pointed out that out of millions of takedowns only two wrongful takedowns resulting in people filing counter notices.
So Topple Track's main mission has been to identify pirated content on behalf of its clients and issue takedown notices. Their services are inexpensive, as low as $3 a track, for "lifetime protection."
The pricing can be that low because most songs are only seriously pirated for brief periods and the system is now largely automated.
Topple Track Seeks to Support All Genres of Music
Currently around 90% of Topple Track's customers are in electronic music including EDM's biggest label Spinnin' Records. But they describe themselves as "genre agnostic." So with the redesigned site they're now making a push for a wider range of musicians who will benefit from the service.
They've also launched an API to make it easy for distributors and other services to add Topple Track to the mix. That way, for example, in addition to distributing tracks digitally, a music distributor can also add Topple Tracks analytics and takedown services. The API will also support their move beyond EDM.
But there's an even bigger play in the works beyond music since all sorts of content is now available digitally. And that play also goes beyond piracy to consider more positive mentions of one's content on the web.
Topple Track's Even Bigger Vision
Topple Track's bigger vision is to not only provide anti-piracy services for content holders of all kinds but to provide analytics for positive appearances on the web outside of the realm of social media. Topple Tracks' founders pointed out that there are lots of great tools for monitoring what's happening on social media but the web beyond those sites has ended up being somewhat neglected.
By focusing on content and discussions of content on websites, blogs, forums and filesharing, Topple Track then becomes more clearly a marketing tool. As the founders pointed out, when you remove piracy links from Google, other links take their place in a form of SEO.
Topple Track has the potential to be a really big company and that belief has been supported by investors with $500k in initial funding by early 2012 involving Silkworm Capital and Trident Capital. Additional funding is currently in the works.
In addition they're building a board with that future in mind and working with advisor Carter Laren who has quite an impressive background.
- Responding To The RIAA's Five-Point-Plan For Google
- Top 100 DJs Based On Social Media Fans, Google Mentions and DMCA Takedowns
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.