In the News: How Streaming Music Impacts Music Sales

Last week, Nielsen came out with a report noting that sales of digital downloads declined for the first time, while streaming activity is on the rise. Specifically, U.S. digital downloads fell 5.7% for singles and 0.1% for albums. Streaming music—including online video, Internet radio, and on-demand services—meanwhile increased 32%. 

This week, noted digital music analyst Mark Mulligan posted some additional analysis of what this means in his report How Streaming Will Impact Music Sales. It’s a pretty data-heavy piece, so be warned in advance, but it’s definitely worth a read if you’re at all concerned about this transition. Here’s a key excerpt: 

It is important to understand the appropriate context for the shift to streaming: it is fundamentally a transition of spending.  Just as the download was a transition from the CD so streaming subscriptions are a transition from the download.  This is because the majority of subscribers were already digital music buyer before becoming subscribers and the majority of those were iTunes customers.  50% of subscribers buy album downloads every month and 26% buy CDs every month (see figure).  On the one hand this can be interpreted as the fantastic capacity of streaming to drive discovery and music purchasing.  There is some truth in this, but it is an inherently temporary state of affairs.  If streaming services do their job well enough there should be little or no reason for a subscriber to additionally buy music.  They do so because consumers transition behaviour gradually not suddenly.  The fact that a third of download buyers still buy CDs illustrates the point.

Studies like these not only reinforce the need for artists to sell music in multiple formats (including vinyl, which increased 32% as well last year, by the way), but also to sell more than music. Merch, events, and experiences are all equally valid ways that fans can show their appreciation for the music they love and the artists that make it. 

Happy Holidays: Signing Off On a High Note With Kid Rock

This will be Topspin’s last blog post of 2013 as we sign off a bit for the holidays. 

And speaking of the holidays, we wanted to leave the year behind with a particularly heartwarming story. For the past few weeks, Topspin has helped Kid Rock and his fans pledge money and donations to send care packages to troops overseas through a donations campaign running on Initially, we were hoping to send 50 packages… but we far exceeded that goal, with over $28,000 raised and over 500 care packages pledged to soldiers far from home this Holiday.

Packages will include toiletries, cookies, candies, and Kid Rock CDs, as well as merchandise from Kid Rock, Made in Detroit, Badass American Lager, Jim Beam, Harley-Davidson and FEA/Live Nation (most of which has been donated by Kid Rock and his generous partners).

Each person who donated had the opportunity to add a special message to the troops which we’ll be sending oversees along with our care packages. You can read these messages here:

We are so humbled by the outpouring of donations we received and excited to share the results of this promotion with fans via photos and responses from the soldiers receiving our care packages.

Happy Holidays!  

Topspin Staff Picks: Campaigns of the Year

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…

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1 Million Served

Just two weeks ago, we introduced ArtistLink Promo Exchange, Topspin’s totally free cross-promotion platform for artists that allows your offers to be shown to fans of similar artists when you allow the same. The response from you our artists has been overwhelming to say the least!

Today, we achieved an important milestone when we hit the millionth promotion served through the Promo Exchange network of artists. Now that’s artists helping artists at real scale!

To celebrate we’re giving away 1,000 free additional promotion credits to each of our active artists. Ho ho ho! Meeerrrry Chirtsmas (or happy holidays if you don’t believe in Santa)! Thank you all for helping to make our launch successful! Of course, any new artist who joins the network will continue to receive 100 free credits as well. Each credit equals your promotion appearing in front of a truly verified music fan in your genre. If you’re already active, go to your account now to check out the free credits, and if you haven’t yet joined, start here.

We dug through our logs and discovered that Luke Dowler’s promotion was the 1,000,000th served. He’s promoting his new EP, “WEST” through the exchange. As a reward, he is receiving 10,000 free impression credits. Here’s the lucky promotion:


We also have a number of other great new promotions - here are some of our most popular:

If you haven’t opted into the Promo Exchange network, opt in now and starting promoting yourself for free. Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, you can now get your merch promotions live on Spotify through ArtistLink as well - learn how here.

♥ Team Topspin

artistlink Spotify lukedowler

"Whole Lotta Love" for Artists on Spotify

imageToday for the very first time, you can go to Spotify and stream Led Zeppelin…

We’ll let that sink in for a moment… LED. ZEPPELIN.

In case you missed the news, this morning Spotify announced an exclusive deal to become as the only place fans can stream the band’s catalog. And if that wasn’t cool enough, when you head over to Spotify right now and stream Led Zeppelin, you’ll notice three merchandise offers available direct from the band - two classic t-shirts and a sweatshirt with the 1969 Led Zeppelin album artwork.


As Topspin announced last week, these merchandise offers are made possible by Topspin ArtistLink and live in the artist profile of the Spotify desktop application. Zeppelin is one of a small group of artists participating in the private beta of Topspin’s ArtistLink program with Spotify, but pretty soon the ability to add merch links to Spotify will be available to all artists who want it.

Check it  out:

Keith Urban - selling his FUSE Deluxe CD geo-targeted to Australian, Canadian and US fans within Spotify

Kid Rock - offering a “Gold, Guns Motherf&*ker Like Me” t-shirt

Fatboy Slim - offering neon “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat” tees and his classic Big Beach Bootique 5 CD/DVD

Lady Antebellum - with a “Music City Suds a Lady” gift set made in Nashville

Chris Mann with an autographed Christmas CD

You’ll notice merch offers link to a range of direct artist stores, powered by Topspin, GrndCtrl, MyPlay Direct, Fanfire and more.  You do not need a Topspin Platform store to get your offers live on Spotify.  

To get your offers ready for Spotify placement, please make sure you’ve got a Topspin ArtistLink account (sign up is free!) and a profile on Spotify. If you’ve got both of these and you’d like to be included in the private beta rollout, please submit your interest below.  

Why You Shouldn’t Rely (Only) on Facebook to Communicate With Fans

What makes more sense to you—taking the effort to compile and own a fan database yourself, or relying on a social network to aggregate your fans for you which it can later devalue and exploit for its own benefit?

Seems pretty obvious, right? But many artists and filmmakers—and even corporations—seem content to simply lean on Facebook as their primary fan engagement and management tool. But as Facebook’s recently unveiled plan to emphasize paid advertising on the network over relying on the virality of organic posts shows, the social network doesn’t exactly have your best interests in mind.

According to a Facebook sales presentation obtained by AdAge, Facebook is pushing the concept to marketers that fan acquisition should be thought of as a tool to make advertising more effective. Quoting the article: “In other words, the main reason to acquire fans isn’t to build a free distribution channel for content; it’s to make future Facebook ads work better.”

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