Connecting the Dots with Metrics for Artists

As this calendar year fades for Topspin, I look back at what our team has achieved. We have been heads down, working hard to make radical improvements in our products and throughout the company. We’ve significantly progressed, and the Topspin team deserves all the credit for being exceptionally productive and fun to work with.

Last week we released a simple metric in our Topspin Platform app that calculates the average value of an artist’s fan. This AVF metric is an early precursor to how we will eventually measure the Life-time Value (LTV) of an artist’s fan in Topspin. It’s just the beginning and will evolve into a more useful number to help artists figure out how much they can afford to spend in acquiring fans in different promotional channels. This Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) metric for a Fan can be weighed against how much revenue a potential fan brings to an artist.

These LTV – CPA > 0 types of calculations have existed in different industries and performed exceptionally well for many companies like Netflix.

Sometimes it’s easy to get rubbed the wrong way with terms like “advertising,” “profit,” “LTV,” when talking about art and artists. We need to be respectful that art and our human connection to it is highly personal and uniquely important beyond any monetary value we place on it. Topspin’s mission is to help artists make a living, and we tend to get excited and obsessed about introducing artists to proven marketing methods that could increase their bottom line. We will be championing the use of these standards and speaking in their terminology, but please keep in mind that it’s for a purpose: to help artists make more money.

Hannah Karp at the Wall Street Journal, wrote a story about the artist-fan data in Topspin and shared the different AVF metrics from several artists. For example, Arcade Fire’s is $6.26, Sigur Ros is $10.91, Umphrey’s McGee is $32.96, and the Pixies is $4.26. The AVF when looked at in comparison is not helpful because the metric is unique to different artists depending on the number of fans they have, their specific methods of direct marketing, and their product bundling and pricing strategy.

The AVF metric, however, can be actionable for an individual artist to keep a baseline and heartbeat of their direct-to-fan business. They can measure improvements in their baseline values and tie them back to their promotional activities. It should give a sense of what worked and what didn’t. Across Topspin over 5 years and millions of transactions, the general average AVF $3.78, so if you’re looking for a good arbitrary general average to compare to your own AVF, that’s a good a number as any. That value at least supports giving your media in return for a monetizable email would be a good exchange, since earning $3.78 on average is far higher than the price of a song download.

This AVF figure in the Topspin Platform will grow into a future LTV metric as we learn how to model fan value in a meaningful way for artists. This LTV will be eventually be measured against a CPA metric for a fan derived from Topspin’s ArtistLink product, which just released a free cross-marketing network called the Promo Exchange along with a paid advertising program.

The new ArtistLink release is a significant evolution of Topspin’s efforts in helping artists with a self-serve advertising product. It’s Peter Gotcher’s original vision of Topspin, and our recent feature releases represent Topspin going back to our roots as a data driven, artist-focused company aimed at solving the hardest problem in fan acquisition: turning the unaware into the aware at the top of the marketing funnel.

There’s so much more to come on both the Topspin Platform and ArtistLink, and I can’t wait to share all the exciting developments ahead.




Fink’s music and performances are amazing. I’ve seen Fink at the Koko in Camden and the Paradiso in Amsterdam. He’s a super talented songwriter and will take you on fun, deep, sweet journeys that will no doubt rock you out. Here’s a favorite song, Sort of Revolution:

If you’re interested in learning Fink’s music, he has teaching videos on his site.

Fink has just announced a recently launched  I guarantee that it will not disappoint so head over and pre-order it directly from Fink. In the meantime, here’s a free live track available from his website:

Tigers that Talked

I’ve fallen for another band. This time the sound of Tigers that Talked have moved me to write another post. I discovered them circuitously through Topspin.  Then I found out Richard Jones is managing them and got even more excited about their future.

Their tunes have taken me for some nice rides in all kind of settings. There’s a soft intensity about their grooves and a dramatic feel in their rises. They have a crisp and soothing blend of rock and folk with songs suited for an arena of 50,000 or a neighborhood coffeeshop.

I guess my vague descriptions of their sound aren’t really convincing you. No matter, check out their Artificial Clouds video for a small idea on what they’re about.

Here are the rest of the tracks from their debut album, The Merchant,

in full length streams.

They have a great deal on Merchant for £3 or $4.50 until November 29th. I’m looking forward to seeing them live soon. Check them out and let me know what you think. Here’s another video of 23 Fears. Fresh indeed.

Paul McCartney's Good Evening New York City

It’s a massive honor and thrill to be involved in the live release of Paul McCartney’s performance at Citi Field in New York City. Topspin played a role in the online marketing and distribution of his latest project titled Good Evening New York City. With 33 songs spanning over 2 and a half hours of live music, this release is a great collection of Beatles, Wings, and solo classics. There are two premium physical packages in addition to the digital audio and video options: a Standard Edition with a dual CD live album plus DVD of the performance and a Deluxe Edition with an additional Bonus DVD of McCartney’s performance on top of the Ed Sullivan Theater along with the documentary, “Good Evening People.”

Here’s a video of the show with Paul playing “Highway” off of his project with Youth in the .

Good Evening New York City shows McCartney in action, and it’s a real treat. We get to hear his stories about Hendrix, Lennon, and the making of “Blackbird”, a much revered guitar classic. It’s makes you smile to see Paul have so much fun on stage. It’s a special night as The Beatles played Shea Stadium in 1965 to the biggest rock show ever at the time, and when Citi Field opened up this summer on the site of the old Shea Stadium, they asked Paul to perform the stadium’s first show. The magic is clearly in the air reminiscent of the 1965 performance as the camera beautifully captures the sea of eager fans across the colossal new stadium. Download the free “Highway” video and get an MP3 of “Let Me Roll It” from the show. Just enter your email below, and a link to download the music will arrive in your inbox.

Much has been said of the impact and influence Paul and the Beatles have had on today’s music culture. I have looked up to them as innovators, activists, and songwriters since I was young enough to appreciate music. This release was one of the most exciting and rewarding projects I have had the privilege of working on at Topspin. The best part of the whole project, however, was the way my team rose to the occasion when Scott Rodger, Paul’s manager, asked us if we could configure a Topspin purchase flow that only accepted American Express. Amex approached Scott with a special offer for their card members where they would receive a bonus exclusive track from Paul McCartney if they used their Amex card. It all sounded like a great idea, except Topspin didn’t have an Amex only option in our purchasing system. When I went to the team to ask them if it was possible, I didn’t get an, “are you kidding me?” reaction, but rather an eager, genuine willingness to make it happen. In  seven days the Topspin engineering and QA team pulled if off. . Purchase with your Amex card exclusively and get the bonus track, “(I Want To) Come Home,” from Paul McCartney. Kudos to the Topspin team for over delivering and doing so ahead of time. It’s a true honor to be working with a legend like Paul McCartney and his awesome team (Scott, Lisa, Ruth, Nancy), and also with the team at Topspin who reacted to this Amex challenge with a keen passion to eagerly serve our artists. I feel blessed all around. Thank you.