Beyond Homesteading: Direct-to-Fan, Americana, and the newest addition to the Topspin Family, ArtistLink
[The below is the text of my keynote from the Americana Music Conference, Nashville, TN, September 14th, 2012 - ian]
Hello. My name is Ian Rogers and I’m the CEO of a company called Topspin. We build software to help you grow your fan base and make money. I’ve been working with artists online since the early 90s both directly and via stints at Winamp, AOL, and Yahoo! Music.
I’m from Indiana and grew up listening to what we today call “Americana” — in my house it was just called “music” and was played by my parents alongside everything from Hendrix and Sam & Dave to Bob Seger and ZZ Top to Talking Heads and Husker Du. Thankfully my parents schooled me in the fundamentals, from Hank Williams and Jimmy Rodgers to Townes Van Zandt and John Prine, and my love for roots american music has grown on its own. I feel like the luckiest person on the planet to get to bring my two loves, music and technology, together professionally. Thanks so much for listening to what I have to say. I hope you find it interesting and useful.
Today I’d like to talk to you about:
- Why the Internet should, can, and with your help will grow Americana’s audience
- Why Direct to Fan is an important retail channel for Americana audiences
- A new wave of tools coming which will deliver you exposure and distribution, not just homesteads (aka “places on the web to stick your music”)
There’s no question the Internet has disrupted the music business over the past 15 years. Let’s be honest, there is much for the greater industry to lament as the CD has been unbundled and revenue has fallen. But there are two key innovations the Internet has brought to music and I’d argue Americana should benefit from these innovations disproportionately, in particular much more than the “mainstream commercial country” category.