Music startup Topspin hit with significant layoffs

Los Angeles-based music marketing and merchandise sales startup Topspin Media laid of a significant number of its staff Wednesday. Music blog hypebot first reported the news, calling it “major layoffs,” and laid off employees said on Twitter that “half“or even “the majority” of the company’s staff was let go. Topspin acknowledged that there have been layoffs when contacted by Gigaom, but declined to comment further on the matter. The company recently teamed up with Spotify to offer artists a way to directly sell merchandise through its service, and it is also slated to power a similar integration for the recently-launched Beats Music service.

Spotify opens up analytics, teams up with Topspin

After an increasing backlash from some high-profile musicians, Spotify is going on the offensive by sharing some information on how it generates money for the music industry. Aside from average pay-outs, which range fromĀ $0.006 to $0.0084 per play, the service is also offering musicians detailed statistics, and even an additional revenue stream: Spotify has teamed up with Topspin to allow bands to sell merchandise through its service.

Does Direct-to-Fan Marketing Really Work?

topspin-logoThe knock on direct-to-fan music marketing toolkit developer Topspin Media has always been that its tools work better for major label refugees and other established acts than for developing artists seeking to build an audience. The company, which offers “CRM-for-bands” tools that help sell deluxe editions and unique digital releases for the likes of Eminem, David Byrne and the Beastie Boys, has signed up more than 250 acts since launching last year. But now Topspin can point to Britain’s Fanfarlo as a case study of how it helped a band win over new listeners, garner it a growing international fan base, and ultimately earn it a major label record release. It’s a compelling example of how a worthwhile artist can use technology to get new fans, but only time will tell whether Fanfarlo’s story is a fluke — or an example of a path that independent bands looking to catch a break need to follow. Read More about Does Direct-to-Fan Marketing Really Work?

Weekend Vid Picks: Videos For the Bitter Old Cat Lady In Us All

The holidays are more stressful than ever this year — take the panic of holiday shopping and combine it with the panic of potentially not having a job with which to pay for those presents, and no one’s happy. So perhaps you need a quick break to remove some of the pressure, pre-or-post your latest excursion to the mall. Maybe, in short, you need to be caught up on the latest viral videos of funny animals.

I like this video because it is simple — it promises to show you a cat elevator and it delivers. A note for people watching at home: dangling a basket out your window is not guaranteed to lure a cute fluffy kitty into your house. Not that I’ve tried or anything.

Read More about Weekend Vid Picks: Videos For the Bitter Old Cat Lady In Us All

Ian Rogers’ Topspin Raises New Cash

Topspin Media, a startup launched by former Yahoo Music General Manager Ian Rogers and widely regarded as digital-music maverick, has raised a new round of founding from Denver Boulder, Colorado-based VCs at The Foundry Group. The news was announced on the Foundry Group blog by partner Ryan McIntyre, but the funding amount wasn’t disclosed. The company recently came out stealth and was featured in Billboard magazine. Topspin also raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Redpoint Ventures.

So why are VCs all hot and heavy about this company? The shift to downloading music has boiled away the fat in the industry. Now all you need is an artist, a recording studio and an audience willing to pay for the artist’s music. But someone still needs to handle the marketing and distribution of that music across the web. That’s where Topspin comes in: The company is creating an enterprise-class software platform to track, analyze and monitor music sales and fan response.

As Hypebot, an influential music industry blog notes, “Topspin appears to be breaking through the clutter of disjointed widgets and apps.” And that makes selling easier.