Mike Masnick Keynote from Leadership Digital Music Summit 2009

Leadership Music Digital Summit 2009 – Entire Mike Masnick keynote presentation, 3/25/09 from Leadership Music Digital Summit on Vimeo.

Bit Torrent Bundle Embeddable Widget

Sell Merch on Spotify

Spotify recently announced that artists will be able to sell merchandise (music, t-shirts, hoodies, etc) right from their Spotify Artist Profile. This feature is powered by Topspin Media’s ArtistLink service. But, you do NOT have to use actually use Topspin to run your store.

If you need assistance in figuring out how to sell your merch on Spotify via Topspin’s ArtistLink you can hire us to help.

Here is an example of a band you may have heard of already selling their merch on Spotify:

Led Zepplelin:
Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 3.59.19 PM
…which links out to Led Zeppelin’s Fanfire store:
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Topspin Partner Spotlight: Music Geek Services

[This spotlight was originally posted on the Topspin Media blog on April 4, 2012.]

Continuing our Partner Spotlight series, this post details how longtime Topspin friends and partners Music Geek Services deliver high-quality work to their artists. Thanks to Chandler and Jay for being excellent at promoting their artists with Topspin!

Who are you and what do you do?

Music Geek Services is an artist services firm, run by brothers Jay Coyle and Chandler Coyle. Our primary focus is to help artists create a strong and deep connection with their fan-base by super-serving those fans. To that end, we offer a variety of digital marketing and consulting services including: Web Development, Online Fan Development/Interaction, Direct-to-Fan Campaign Strategy and Execution and Topspin Consulting and Training. We also do Product Development/Consulting, Social Media Consulting, Project Management and even Artist Management.

You guys have been around as a company for quite a while. Talk us through the history of MGS and how it came about.

Jay Coyle (Music Geek): I founded the company in 2008 after leaving a sales/marketing position at EMI CMG in Nashville. My first project was as the band archivist and product development lead for the 20+ year Canadian music veterans, Barenaked Ladies. While working on that project I was turned onto Topspin. I have since spent the last four years by supporting other artists on many levels – such as sales & marketing, artist management, artist development, business development, tour manager, and product management.

The Topspin platform became a part of my toolset very early on. I was seeking out a way to sell direct to fans while working with the Barenaked Ladies in 2008. With BNL we did utilize Topspin to sell some live recordings. By June 2009, when Topspin offered their first official, public training course in Santa Monica, I had started working as part of Sloan’s management team. So I came out to the Topspin office and was formally training on the platform alongside future Topspin creative services employees, Nicole St. Jean and Parker Todd Brooks, and future Topspin Berklee instructor and Concord Music Group exec, Jason Feinberg. By Fall of 2009, I launched a Topspin-integrated store for Sloan and have been Topspin evangelist, ever since.

Chandler Coyle (Digital Geek): After spending ten years running a web development firm serving the nonprofit sector, and many other things before that, I was always hearing about Jay’s work with his various clients and projects. The more I heard about the direct-to-fan model and especially the Topspin platform, I became very interested. Eventually, I decided Jay was having too much fun working with bands and he could use my assistance. So, in 2010 I quit my job and joined Music Geek Services, full-time. I have a background in logistics and marketing and a passion for music and digital marketing tools, which was a perfect complement to what Jay was already doing. To get up to speed with Topspin, quickly, I took the Berklee Topspin course in the Summer of 2010 and have used it consistently, since then. I’m fairly active in the Topspin power-user community and started a blog called TopspinTips.com that I hope will eventually become a resource for other users new to Topspin. I love turning folks on to Topspin. In fact, I am now set to teach the Berklee Topspin course this coming session.

Does Music Geek Services cater to a specific type of artist?

Jay: We are fortunate to have worked with different levels of artists, from brand new acts all the way to established/veteran artists. Personally, I think our age and fan insight from being a lifelong music geek and omnivorous music consumer affords us a deeper toolkit to use for those more seasoned, heritage acts with deeper catalogs and longer history. One challenge that we really get excited about is re-energizing the fan-base of an artist who was popular before the age of the internet and direct-to-fan or has never taken care to build up a mailing list, of which they had control. So, often it is taking a known act and getting them up-to-speed with the new direct-to-fan best practices. Basically helping them rebuild their email list and coming up with creative product and project ideas for new, or renewed, revenue streams.

How have you seen the direct-to-fan space grow since you’ve been involved?

Jay: When I was first talking to Topspin and getting onto the platform, I felt like I was speaking some unknown language to a lot of my peers in Nashville or while on the road with Sloan. But thanks to some amazing projects Topspin has worked with by so many different big name artists (Paul McCartney, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails) I have seen the term direct-to-fan become very much part of the new music business. I do not have to explain to someone what direct-to-fan is anymore. Now I just spend my time explaining how to set it up and execute it properly.

I’m an artist and I would like to use Topspin. What is it that MGS is going to actually do for me?

Jay: We are going to train you how to get set-up on the platform and how to execute projects and products properly through “best practices”. That could be a simple consulting role or soup-to-nuts webpage build with Topspin set-up and product launch.

Do you have a standard approach for a band that wants to work with you but doesn’t have specific direct-to-fan goals in mind?

Chandler: It is pretty common to have artists or managers that know they need to be connecting with and selling directly to fans but haven’t formulated how or with what type of scope. In those cases we will take a step back and do a full audit of the artist’s email list, music catalog, merch inventory, digital touch-points and assets, and current timeline for past/upcoming releases and tours. Then based on the time, resources, and budget, we propose an appropriate strategy and tactical plan of action to get the artist up and running on the Topspin platform and have all their digital assets, like website, Facebook page, etc, in sync with the strategy.

Jay: A perfect example of this was one of our first and still current client, Sloan. Back in 2009 I started things off in a measured way to be able to not introduce too many new things and give me and the band time to get used to this newfangled thing, direct-to-fan. At the time, our primary focus was to build up their very stale email list and generate some new revenue by streaming and offering for digital download, the entire Sloan back catalog. It wasn’t long before I was working with the band to create completely new products to sell direct to fans, once they realized how much enthusiasm was out there in their fan base to connect, support, and actually buy stuff from Sloan.

One last thing, we also offer tailored, one-on-one Topspin training sessions. If you are looking to get up to speed very quickly, we can do a 1-2 hour “deep dive” training session using your actual data. So you can learn and move your getting on the Topspin platform, forward. We can do this as an one-time on-demand thing or as an ongoing thing. This has worked out well with artists who have a limited budget and just need some expert assistance rather than having us run their whole campaign.

If an up-and-coming artist had $5,000 to invest in their business, how would you recommend they spend that money?

Jay: We would be sure that they think of a big-picture approach and take the time and money to create the proper website, maybe just even a one-page micro-site, and Facebook page, and other relevant digital assets. Then with those finely-tuned tools in place, use them to gain fans, communicate with those fans and super-serve their needs. Over time, with authentic action on the band’s part, those fans will want to continue their relationship and support the artist by buying music, sharing music with their friends, and coming to see the artist live. Connecting with fans and allowing that natural relationship to grow is the best thing any artist, be it old or new, can do. The $5k should be spent making sure you have set up and maintain the proper mechanism to do exactly that.

Music Geek Services is available for consultations and would love to learn about your project. Contact them by visiting their website here: http://musicgeekservices.com/.

Using Topspin’s Download Anywhere to Drive Traffic to PledgeMusic

At Music Geek Services we have been loving the new-ish Download Anywhere functionality from Topspin. It allows one to customize the confirmation page for the email4media widget and place it, literally, anywhere on the web. A few weeks ago we saw a creative use of it mentioned in a blog post by Topspin’s Chris Carlson. This inspired us to come up with a creative implementation of our own.

One of Music Geek Services’ newest clients is Rhett Miller (of the Old ’97′s). We just signed Rhett up to Topspin as he launched a PledgeMusic campaign for his next studio solo album project to be released on his own label. We wanted to make sure that during the pledge campaign we were taking advantage of all opportunities to drive traffic to the PledgeMusic project page.

So, when you use the email4media widget to sign-up for Rhett’s mailing list on his web site:

…and you confirm your sign-up, we use the Download Anywhere customization features to display a message from Rhett about his PledgeMusic campaign and deliver the fan to the actual project page on the PledgeMusic web site. You can also choose to share the news on your Facebook or Twitter feeds.

Thanks,
Chandler
Music Geek Services

Topspin’s Download Anywhere Gets Some New Customizable Settings

Topspin has been testing a feature they call ‘Download Anywhere‘ for a while. You may have seen it in action on some artist e4m confirmation pages. Instead of the default Spinshop location you can declare any web page as a download location for media associated with an e4m. Hence, the name Download Anywhere. Old school users may remember that you used to be able to do this with “the pill” and some custom php. But not many Topspin users took advantage of that. The Download Anywhere feature makes it drop-dead easy to set-up as long as you take a few minutes to get familiar with the various settings.

If you are using the email for media widgets just for mailing list sign-ups without offering a track for download you can still utilize the Download Anywhere. The download page will just be a landing page of sorts after the fan clicks the “Confirm” button in the email.

The new customizable settings they have recently added are the ability to insert an image into the modal window, set the size of the modal window, control the text of the close link, and even put a background image under the overlay. It isn’t clear, yet, if you can use the modal box image with a download button — at least I couldn’t get it to work with both. As the image covers up where the download button would normally appear.

However, I currently have a client that is currently using the e4m widget just for mailing list sign-ups so I gave the new settings a shot. Here’s a screen shot of the result…

Topspin Announces Dropcards Integration

You know you have seen them. Those glossy credit card things being given away or sold at shows. Sometimes they are glossy paper, sometimes plastic, or even there cool Seedcards which fans can plant after redemption. Those cards are collectively known as drop cards. While you could make them yourself, a New Jersey-based company called, what else, Dropcards, do them best. They cost anywhere from $0.50/card to $0.25/card depending on the quantity you get printed. You can create custom designs and Dropcards will print them up and include unique redemption codes on each cards that you can tie together with anything you want.

Music Geek Services has been working with Dropcards for over two years. They were a big success at the Sloan merch table on the North American tours over the past two years. They allowed Sloan to sell their digital-only EP at the shows. They were often bundled with buttons, stickers, or a poster and sold for $5. This allowed a fan to take something physical away from the show even though the EP was a digital-only release.

Now Topspin has partnered directly with Dropcards so that you can generate redemption codes within Topspin, connect to your Topspin account inside Dropcards, and allow your fans to redeem the download or merchandise through the Topspin platform. It is an exciting integration that is sure to become a popular feature of both services.

Best of all, you can sign-up for a free account with Dropcards to learn more before you ever get around to ordering the physical cards.

Here’s the promo video that Topspin included in their recent blog post announcing this service to their users:

Recap of Weekly Topspin Webcast (10-June-2011)


Each week Topspin’s CEO, Ian Rogers, and VP of Product and Marketing, Bob Moczydlowsky (Bob Moz), have been doing live webcasts with interactive chat for current and prospective Topspin users. Usually it is the ‘Ian and Bob Show’, but they often have guest hosts or others making quick appearances. It is a great way to get to virtually meet the Topspin team , hear the latest news and announcements from the management team, and be able to ask questions directly via the chat.



Friday June 10, 2011 11a PT
Broadcasting from the Topspin office in Santa Monica, CA
Ian Rogers (C.E.O.) and Bob Moczydlowsky (V.P., Product and Marketing).
, with special guest producer Kerry Brown (Smashing Pumpkins).

Watch the webcast via the archive.


News & Announcements

Product Development

Partnership and Facebook Integration with Root Music
Gives you the ability to put a Topspin store inside a Root Music Facebook Band Page. Rolled out this week. If you notice any bugs, please email Bob.

Page Gate Technical Specs
Parker wrote up a “how-to” and posted it in the forums.

Expression Engine Topspin Module
Has been submitted by Oniracom and is being reviewed by Topspin. Keep your eyes peeled on the Topspin blog for news as to its upcoming release.

Topspin is Hiring
Topspin is looking to hire the following positions:
Software Engineer (RAILS and BDD-nerd)
Software Engineer
User Experience Designer and Creative Director
Director of Marketing (SEO, SEM, DSP Expert Required)
Fan Support Specialist



Artist Spotlights and Features

Artist Facebook Pages That Integrates Root Music Band Page and Topspin
Pixies
Beastie Boys
Matisyahu


Topspin Community Q&A

Q: How does one style the purchase flow white
A: This is done when you are creating the buy button in the Topspin app.

Q: Who developed the Drupal/Topspin integration?
A: 80 Elements

Submit Your Questions for Next Week’s Webcast

Topspin encourages us to submit questions, in advance, whether or not you can attend the web cast, live. You can submit your questions via this Topspin Community Forum Topic.



Music Geekery
Devin Davis - Lonely People of the World, Unite! Back in 2005 Chicago-based musician, Devin Davis, released his debut album “Lonely People of the World, Unite!”. The story was that Devin recorded most of this album in his basement apartment. The well-crafted pop songs bring to mind Brendan Benson, The Raconteurs, Sloan, and even Elliott Smith. I even hear some Neil Young influence, at least in the guitar tones and the shaky tenor vocals. I discovered the album in the summer of 2005 and I played it a lot. The album kicks off with “Iron Woman” that will certainly have you singing along before the end of the first chorus, trust me.

I saw Devin open up for Smoosh at Schubas and was impressed with how well he pulled off these carefully crafted and orchestrated songs in a solo setting. In April 2006 I had the honor of mixing sound, and recording, another Devin Davis solo show at the private venue Hotel S n’ S in Chicago. It was part of a Jeff Tweedy charity benefit house concert weekend. Amidst a large crowd in a packed, dark basement of a condo in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, armed only with his acoustic guitar, Devin had the crowd singing along to these awesome songs. I still pull that recording out, every once in a while, and give it a spin.

Do yourself a favor and seek out this album. You can stream tracks on his web site and some of them are up on YouTube. If you like what you hear, please seek out this album and buy it. There is no current information on his web site, wiki page, or anywhere else that I can find as to what happened to his planned 2007 album or what he’s up to currently. If I find out, I’ll let you know.



Music Geek Services is an artist services company based in Chicago and Nashville. Headed by brothers Jay and Chandler Coyle, Music Geek Services is a Topspin-Certified Marketer that specializes in helping artists achieve deeper connections with their fans through digital media. We provide a full suite of artist services including web development and design, Topspin platform consulting and execution, social media consulting, project management, and full-service artist management.

We have worked with Sloan, Barenaked Ladies, The Zambonis, The Odds, The Movings Label, Walter & Wendell, Dick Prall, Mike Evin, Dolly Varden, Steve Dawson, The Carter Administration, Broken: a Musical, and Callann Lane.

Recap of Weekly Topspin Webcast (03-June-2011)

Each week Topspin’s CEO, Ian Rogers, and VP of Product and Marketing, Bob Moczydlowsky (Bob Moz), have been doing live webcasts with interactive chat for current and prospective Topspin users. Usually it is the ‘Ian and Bob Show’, but they often have guest hosts or others making quick appearances. It is a great way to get to virtually meet the Topspin team , hear the latest news and announcements from the management team, and be able to ask questions directly via the chat.



Friday June 3, 2011 11a PT
Broadcasting from the Topspin office in Santa Monica, CA
Ian Rogers (CEO) and Bob Moczydlowsky (VP, Product and Marketing).

Watch the webcast via the archive.


News & Announcements

Product Development

New Streaming Players Launched This Week
New players have fill-frame setting. May need to adjust your existing installation of these HTML5 players if you adjusted your size settings to preserve aspect ration. In the near future you can set the aspect ratio when you are creating the player in the publishing interface. Another upcoming piece that will be added is more customizability (skinning/styling). The skinning stuff will be launched the week of 6/6, hopefully. Then the following week there will be deeper XML customization (targeting the player controls).

Partnership and Tech Integration with Root Music
Will be announced and launched on Monday 6/6.

iFrame Embed Codes vs. Flash Embed Codes
While some users love the old Flash embed codes, the web is really not Flash-friendly, especially on mobile devices. Of course, MySpace doesn’t like iFrames. But Topspin is siding with the web masses (including the YouTube way) and moving away from Flash embed codes.

Artist Spotlights and Features

Randy Travis Custom Gating Stream Behind e4m
Chris Carlson wrote a blog post about the recent Randy Travis use of an e4m gating a full album stream.

Kevin Smith SmodCast
Bob mentioned some cool things being done by filmmaker Kevin Smith on his podcast SmodCast web site. They are starting with really basic, but great deal. What is worth watching is that each week things are going to change with that offer using some creative ways of using Topspin.


Topspin Community Q&A

Q: We’re still not able to get a widget on our Facebook fanpage.
A: Check out this thread in the Topspin Community forums

Q: International billing (Brazil???), how is that going?
A: Still something they need to move forward, but no new information or progress as of now.

Q: How about changing the time to ship [for products]?
A: You can only do that, right now, via the pre-order functionality. Under normal circumstances you shouldn’t sell when you can’t ship right away. But, Topspin understands there are certain circumstances where this is unavoidable. Put the question in the Community Forums as there are other concerns surrounding this that need to be discussed before this can be considered further.

Submit Your Questions for Next Week’s Webcast

Topspin encourages us to submit questions, in advance, whether or not you can attend the web cast, live. You can submit your questions via this Topspin Community Forum Topic.

Webcast Archives
Each week Topspin archives these webcasts on their site. You can check them out here.


Music Geekery
Sweet - Desolation Boulevard (U.S. Cover)The webcast opened with a sampling of the classic album Desolation Boulevard by Sweet. Ian and Bob discussed that they were essentially a ‘Backstreet Boys’ of their day in the U.K., a pre-fab band produced to sound like Bowie and T-Rex. I, personally, don’t think it was that contrived and that Sweet were unfairly painted as ‘bubblegum’ or compared to The Monkees due to the pairing with the songwriting team of Chapman-Chinn, who often brought in session musicians.

Sweet - Desolation Boulevard (U.K. Version)The U.S. version of Desolation Boulevard was released one year after the U.K. version, and was actually a combination of tracks from Sweet’s prior release Sweet Fanny Adams. One side contained all Chapman-Chinn songs, the other side was all Sweet originals. Another interesting bit of information – the version of “Fox On The Run” included on the U.S. L.P. was the 7″ variation which was much different than the original (U.K. album) version. The original version didn’t have the synth parts we’ve come to know and love and definitely has a rawer sound. The U.K. album also included a cover of The Who’s “My Generation“.



Music Geek Services is an artist services company based in Chicago and Nashville. Headed by brothers Jay and Chandler Coyle, Music Geek Services is a Topspin-Certified Marketer that specializes in helping artists achieve deeper connections with their fans through digital media. We provide a full suite of artist services including web development and design, Topspin platform consulting and execution, social media consulting, project management, and full-service artist management.

We have worked with Attwater, Twenty Ten Music, Sloan, Barenaked Ladies, The Zambonis, The Odds, The Movings Label, Walter & Wendell, Dick Prall, Mike Evin, Dolly Varden, Steve Dawson, The Carter Administration, Broken: a Musical, and Callann Lane.