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Topspin makes “significant” number of staff redundant

By | Published on Thursday 30 January 2014


LA-based direct-to-fan specialist Topspin made a number of employees redundant yesterday, with the cuts being described as “significant”.

The firm confirmed to Gigaom that staff cuts had occurred, but there has been no official word on quite how many employees were axed. Rumours of “major layoffs” stem from Twitter, where some axed staff indicated as many as half of the company’s workforce may have been for the chop.

Topspin was, perhaps, the highest profile start up in the direct-to-fan space, as artists and labels first began to appreciate, about five years ago, the potential of proprietary online retail set ups, selling content, tickets and especially merch and premium releases direct to core fanbase. And direct-to-fan arguably remains the domain of most opportunity for the music business.

Though, despite being a leading player in a booming strand of the industry, Topspin is also operating in an increasingly competitive marketplace, with numerous other start ups around the world gaining momentum, while some labels and distributors build their own in-house platforms, and the risk remains that Amazon could swoop in and take the top end of the market. And, in the early days at least, Topspin was often quite a bit more expensive than its competitors.

Which isn’t to say Topspin isn’t doing good business, and it continues to strike up high profile partnerships, such as the recent alliances on merch sell-through on the Spotify and Beats Music platforms. Though yesterday’s news suggests the company knows it needs to become ever more efficient to succeed in an increasingly competitive sector.