Artist of the Week: Sami Yusuf


Sami Yusuf, hailed as ‘Islam’s Biggest Rock Star,’ is a stellar example of how artists can use the Internet, Topspin, and other tools to connect directly with fans… even from vast distances.

The British singer-songwriter has been connecting with his fans throughout his career. Sami and his team are at the helm of a global enterprise, with fans existing on nearly every continent and products shipping worldwide. Yet even at this level, they know the value of the direct-to-fan connection. 

Because of this, Sami and his team are using the Topspin Platform for their needs, from getting fans, to emailing them, to selling all kinds of merch and music, all available from Here are some of the tools he’s used.

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Artist of the Day: The R5 Family

On February 19th R5 released their newest EP, titled LOUD, after coming off the heels of an extensive winter tour. This is definitely a young and rising band you want to keep your eye on. Listen to the single from the EP below.

From right to left: Ratliff, Ross, Rydel, Riker, Rocky

The band - 4 siblings and their best friend - has been on a tear ever since Ross Lynch landed the lead spot in the show “Austin & Ally.” And after all the work the band has put in to make their fans happy, it is well deserved. 

Happy may be an understatement. R5 fans LOVE the band and are very vocal about it too. During the winter tour R5 offered their fans special VIP experiences directly from VIP fans got in early, had an opportunity to meet the band personally, and were treated to an exclusive sound check party. Their fans loved this so much that even we at Topspin received some of the band’s fan mail.


Those who made it out to the show had an opportunity to pre-order the LOUD EP by purchasing a laminate. Each laminate had a unique code which fans would use to download the EP. Not only was this a great way to give fans something tangible for pre-ording the EP, these purchases were also reportable to Soundscan (via Topspin’s redemption codes).

This young band is demonstrating how modern acts will connect with their fans. From offering exclusive opportunities like R5 memberships and VIP experiences, to simply being in conversation on Twitter, R5 can truly call their fans part of the #r5family.

by @nic_hsc
Purchase the LOUD EP

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Artist of the Day: Dawes pre-sale begins for “Stories Don’t End”

Last Friday Dawes released the first single from their upcoming record. “From A Window Seat” is ever true to their folk-rock roots and tells a refreshing story with a familiar sound, authentically captured by the cover art. Listen to the track below.

The new record drops on April 9th and the best place to pick it up is right from their site at Aside from the standard vinyl, CD and T-shirt offer, the band is releasing a hardbound autographed book. It contains over 40 never-before-seen photos of the band’s recording process and has been hand-signed by the band. 


Stories Don’t End marks the band’s 3rd record (and the 2nd album that has been sold on Topspin). Their music continues invoke feeling of old storytelling traditions that one may associate with a modern day troubadour, and just as the old minstrels literally went directly to their audiences to play music, Dawes has gone direct-to-fan with their newest pre-order. For the initiated this record is a definite must-have. For the rest, this is a great time to sit down and hear what Dawes has to say. 

by @nic_hsc

Dawes Website
Dawes Twitter



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Artist of the Day: Local Natives Do Everything In “Hummingbird” Release

I had the opportunity to chat with Local Natives manager Phil Costello about Hummingbird. The band’s sophomore album release has a lot to live up to following Gorilla Manor’s ubiquitous rave reviews two years prior, but when I spoke with Costello he seemed as confident in the new release as Ryan Gosling probably felt picking up chicks after making The Notebook. It should go without saying that such strong managerial faith is a product of the band members’ capabilities. Local Natives members decided to take the lead on graphics and website operations, for instance, and their work ain’t half bad:



Guitarist/vocalist Taylor Rice “basically runs the website himself,” said Costello after I fired some more pointed questions at him concerning the choice to do a Hummingbird pre-order via Topspin. In the context of our conversation, I’d say Phil’s comment roughly translates to: “I don’t have to know all the details because those dudes know what they want, and we let them do stuff their way since it seems to be working out pretty damn well.” Beyond the Hummingbird pre-order, Taylor and crew also created some awesome merchandise bundles with the Topspin app available directly on their website:

The pre-order and merchandise bundles have consistently been high sellers on the Topspin platform, which means that traffic to the band’s site is yielding very real monetary results and fan-engagement benefits. Album sales begin in North America today, and if these guys’ devotion to directly reaching their fans isn’t reason enough to support them, their music surely will be. 



Artist of the Day Local Natives

Artist of the Day: Fans Overcome Barbed Wire, Walls, And Rough Terrain To See Sigur Rós

A happy New Years to you! We hope that the start of your 2013 has been well. For your enjoyment this new year, here is a fun story about a Sigur Rós fan.


Sigur Rós fan club ticket sales went live at 10 am on November 14th and in a few hours all of the tickets had sold out. The band continues to be hugely popular around the world and tickets are highly sought after. Sigur Rós used Topspin ticketing and fan memberships to give fans the special opportunity to purchase tickets ahead of public sales. Fans took full advantage of this and tickets sold out almost immediately.

When bands offer an incredibly compelling product, fans will go immense lengths to obtain it. For some, seeing the band live is even worth taking some legal and personal risks. 

Disclaimer: we do not condone trespassing and sneaking into shows. The following story is simply meant to illustrate the lengths that fans will go to for the sake of their favorite band. 

On the night August 12th Vanessa and her friend were walking around the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. In usual Sigur Rós fashion the show was sold out, so the two were there to watch a meteor shower and listen to the show from the outside. The concert had started and they were strolling along when Vanessa met a friend with some people she didn’t know. While she was (at the time) content with hearing the show from the outside these people were intent on getting in and were circling the venue, searching for a way to penetrate security. Deciding to tag along, the company veered into a small alley.


A tall red brick wall covered with vines was the only thing between them and Sigur Rós. That, and a spiraling coil of barbed wire resting atop the wall, whose vicious hooks dared to punish any delinquent who would chose to cross it. Clearing the wall would mean a once in a lifetime experience, but the consequences could be…painful.

“I kept second guessing myself,” Vanessa said. “Seeing Sigur Rós live was my number one thing to do. Then this heavyset guy was walking by and talking to himself and my friend was freaking out. I decided I was not going to let this weirdo stop me from going to the show.”

She scaled the wall with the help of a stranger and adrenaline. One of her arms got snagged in the hooks. Adrenaline was pumping through her veins while blood was pumping out of them, but she didn’t feel a thing. Freeing herself from the metal, she threw her left leg over the wall but subsequently entangled her right.

“I remember trying to get to the other side as fast as possible. I think I fell. I don’t know.”


On the other side of the wall they ran, through the trees and tombstones. Flashlights and guards were everywhere, invoking a chase scene similar to the one in the “Sound of Music.” Coincidently, it was the sound of music that had drawn them into the predicament. 

Vanessa described the concert as a hazy, almost ethereal experience, probably due to the effect of the music and substantial blood loss. But the music calmed her. It mesmerized her. It allowed her forget the pain she should have felt. Music of Sigur Rós and a dream finally coming true drowned out every other emotion. This experience was 100% worth the trouble she had endured to get there. Her dedication had paid off.

These days artists are depending on their super fans more and more as traditional consumer music sales decrease. The relationships between dedicated fans and the artists they support now play an increasingly important role in artists’ careers. Artists who can capitalize on the dedication and influence of fans like Vanessa will be incredibly successful. 

Click here for Sigur Rós Tickets


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Artist of the Day: André Rieu Comes Home for the Holidays


Christmas is coming, and what better way to celebrate the season than being home for the holidays with André Rieu! 

André has always been about bringing the beauty of classical music to the masses without sacrificing musical integrity or virtuosity. His concerts are visual and aural spectacles, full of life and color. He and his orchestra believe that when they play a waltz, people should dance, not just sit silently and receive the music. They believe that music is an event to take part in, not an object that is only consumed. Though this has been a point of contention with classical music purists, it brings new life to old music and tradition.

André brings traditional music into today’s era, not only with his lively performances, but also with his method of distribution. In the spirit of combining old and new, Rieu and management chose to go direct-to-fan, offering classical music enthusiasts a cozy experience in their own homes. This particular offer included a holiday gift package with a DVD / Blu-ray, chocolate candies, and hot chocolate. Topspin’s package feature allows artists to easily bundle and sell their products and media in any combination.

Today all artists can connect directly with their fan-base, from indie filmmaker to classical virtuoso. If you can’t be home for Christmas, have André as your guest! This offer only includes one packet of hot chocolate however, so André will have to bring his own.

Visit Andre’s page!


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