Each week Topspin’s CEO, Ian Rogers, and VP of Product 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 April 29, 2011 11a PT
Broadcasting from Topspin HQ in Santa Monica, CA
Ian Rogers (C.E.O.), w/ Bob Moczydlowsky (VP of Product Marketing) and Jason Spitz (Director of Marketing)
Watch the webcast via the archive.
News & Announcements
Heads Down Week for Topspin Development Team
Bob Moz commented that the new embeddable store offers feature was launched this week, new streaming player development progress continues, there has been cool progress on the new email functionality, and the new Facebook/Topspin Store is still undergoing debugging and quality assurance testing. Overall, it has been a heads down and get some work done week for the Topspin Platform Development team.
A cool thing to look forward to on the new features of the email functionality of the Topspin platform – the ability to have what I call ‘smart triggers‘. Where you can set things up so that people who, for example, purchased tickets to a show in Chicago will get a follow-up email in two weeks time. I can see that being used to either send them some detailed information on where to enter the venue, maybe send them a free track to thank them, timed right before the show, or maybe give them details about a planned meet and greet.
Platform Pricing Updates
Bob reminded us of the Label (bulk) Pricing for accounts was launched last week. Also, he mentioned that there was now monthly Enterprise account pricing ($99.99/mos), which used to just be available for annual ($999/yr) pricing.
Rethink Music Conference in Boston
Ian attended the Rethink Music Conference put on by Berklee College of Music and MIDEM. Ian recalled very prescient comments made by Thomas Hesse, Sony Music Entertainment’s Global Digital Business, US Sales, and Corporate Strategy. In Hesse’s comments you could hear [Sony's] strategy and in recalling Hesse’s comments during the presentation Ian said you could “hear what people were selling [Hesse] and what [Hesse] was ‘buying’”. Ian, paraphrasing Hesse, said “I think we are going to have both a subscription service and a buy it and put it in a locker service”. Hesse also made reference to a subscription service, powered by social networking. Ian guesses that this may mean Spotify + Facebook and Ian sensed that it is real. Ian hoped to blog about it when he has time.
Ian did not exactly specify if Hesse made this point on his panel, but the panel on which Hesse made his presentation was called “Working Together to Create a Bigger Pie Instead of Fighting For Slices of a Shrinking Pie“. Hesse provided the ‘label’ perspective on that panel and made a Ted-style presentation. I tried to find that specific panel in the Rethink Music video archive, but that one appears to be missing.
However, here are some other cool videos from the conference:
- Short interview with Topspin C.E.O. Ian Rogers
- Short Interview with Topspin co-founder and Chairman Peter Gotcher
- The Technology, Data and Music Panel – Featuring Ian Rogers as well as Eric Garland, founder of Big Champagne
Topspin Community Q&A
Q: Any new developments on the upcoming week?
A: Streaming player is (hopefully) due out Mon 5/9 and Facebook debugging is continuing, so no concrete launch date on that.
Q: I have had a request from a blog to be able to disable sharing/embedding for an exclusive placement with a Connect-For-Media widget any way to do this?
A: Can’t on a Connect-For-Media (C4M) widget, but you can on an Email-For-Media widget.
Q: Is it possible to have a e-mail blast setup weekly based on RSS for my blog?
A: Not currently possible, but Ian wouldn’t recommend it, either. He recommends more of a FeedBurner approach. Make sure it is opt-in. Maybe do it newsletter style when there is news to share.
Q: We are creating a t-shirt and we would like to donate a portion of it to a certain cause. Does Topspin have the ability to do this for a physical shirt for sale at the merch booth?
A: Topspin does plan to do more with charitable donations, but no further details at this point. But as for the merch booth, not really possible to do unless you had an iPad or computer at the merch booth and send the items via Topspin later. For the donation portion you would either need to account for that yourself or maybe do ‘split accounting’. Right now, there would also be some issues with tax.
Q; The people that bought items don’t show up in my (fan) email list.
A: By design, there is a wall between fans and purchasers. Buying an item does NOT automatically sign people up to your fan/marketing email list just because they bought a product. They must actually opt-in during the purchase flow.
Q: We were curious if we could hang a tag on the shirt that the fan could redeem for an album download?
A: Yes, create redemption codes. Download a CSV. Print out the codes on the tags. Then use those tags to pin/hang on your merch.
Q: Can we get an update on the potential roadmap for the app for the coming weeks/months?
A: Topspin new email functionality, new data analytics, changes to ways they are dealing with currency. While the Q2 Roadmap is all locked down, beyond that Bob and Ian did not want to get too comprehensive in their explanation for fear of giving away their road map, too early, to their competition. They also did not want to be too specific on ‘ship dates’. Having worked for a software start-up this is because you never know what Q.A. testing will surface. So their approach makes sense to me. Topspin did say that if you had a specific question that you could email them directly.
Q: What about save-able cross-sell options? Pulling from a drop-down menu would be easier than filling out 3 fields for each buy button.
A: Bob is going to answer this directly via email to the questioner.
Q: I’ve seen text-to-donate options from charities. Any idea [how] to do text-to-purchase?
A: Not currently, haven’t sorted it out yet. PIAS [Europe] has done some really cool stuff with payments and merch via mobile.
Q: Any idea why some artists Topspin Facebook stores aren’t showing items in them?
A: Not aware of any bugs in existing Facebook stores. So, please send a support request via Artist Support for troubleshooting.
Q: I’m still showing an issue w/ the new single track players. Images aren’t showing. It works when I hack back to the flash player but doesn’t show images on the html5
A: Report the bug via Artist Support, but hopefully the new players will help completely resolve this issue.
Q: Square (or other similar type of location smartphone card reader service) integration?
A: Topspin is experimenting, but providers of those services aren’t quite ready in terms of an open API for that type of integration. Powerful potential, but not anything concrete on the table at this point.
Submit Your Questions for Next Week’s Webcast
Upcoming Music-Related Conferences and Events
- Muse Expo – Los Angeles – 5/1-4/2011
- NARM 2011 Convention – May 9-12 – Los Angeles, CA – Bob, Jason and Andrew Mains will be there this year. Jason will be part of the panel “Product Managers: Get Naked – Part 1 – Getting Back To Marketing Fundamentals in the Music Industry” from 3-5pm on Wednesday May 11. Andrew Mains, Topspin’s VP Artist and Label Relations and Services, also appears on that panel for “Part 3: What Gets Measured, Get Managed”
- Great Escape – Brighton, UK – Ian plans to be there with Topspin co-founder Shamal Ranasinghe, Co-founder of Topspin.
Love for the Feelies, Remembering Meeting Tommy Keene, Memories of Jay Bennett
Sorry, need to music geek out for a moment, it is only fair, right? Bob mentioned that he has been listening to The Feelies while traveling. Specifically the 2nd track from Good Earth, which would be “The High Road“. Apt choice, Bob. I loved the Feelies and it has been way too long since I heard someone mention actually listening to them recently. So Bob’s cool quotient just went up a few notches, in my book. I saw The Feelies, with my brother Jay, live in late 1987 at the (original) 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. Where I was able to chat with Tommy Keene who was in the audience that night and told him that my brother and I had covered “Places That Are Gone” in our short-lived band, The Hour. Watch that Tommy Keene video and you will spot Mr. Jay Bennet (R.I.P.), post Titanic Love Affair (sort of) and pre-Wilco.
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.