E127: Ian Rogers CEO and Founder of TopSpin Media on This Week in Startups



about this episode

TopSpin Media CEO and founder Ian Rogers discusses the death and rebirth of the music industry, how he began working with the Beastie Boys after illegally pirating one of their LIVE concerts, and why he has a tattoo of the logo of Steve Jobs first computer company on his leg.

2:00-4:00           Mail Chimp Ad
4:00-6:00           Ian Rogers explains the fall of the Record Industry
6:00-8:00           How do Musicians gets signed these days?
8:00-9:00           How the Internet has impacted the Music Industry
9:00-10:00          How did Ian start in the Music Biz?
10:00-11:00        Ian explains the Technology of Music in 1991
11:00-12:00         Ian has a NEXT Tattoo from Steve Jobs first computer co.
12:00-14:00        What was so cool about the NEXT system?
14:00-15:00        The introduction of the world wide web and the Mosaic system
15:00-16:00        What is the Card Catalog System
16:00-17:00         Ian really created the first Napster :)
17:00-18:00        Ian becomes the Beastie Boys web guy
18:00-19:00        How did you play MP3’s back then?
19:00-20:00        Winamp, Shoutcast, Gnutella, Audio Galaxy
20:00-21:00        Gnutella was the first pier to pier, but faulty
21:00-23:00        The mtg where it all happened for Gnutella
23:00-24:00        “We build the site to share recipes”
24:00-27:00        Winamp tries to sell music in 1999
27:00-28:00        The record companies encouraged people to steal!
28:00-30:00        Ian was working in the cloud in 2003
30:00-31:00        Ians experience at Yahoo Music
32:00-34:00        Ad for Go to Webinar
34:00-36:00        360 deals and LIve Nation
36:00-37:00        How music deals are done now
37:00-38:00        The angel investment movement in Music
38:00-40:00        Kickstarter, PledeMusic, Indygogo, the new platforms for artiists
40:00-44:00        Sales for Music Tickets and Merch
44:00-45:00        How does Topspin help bands get started?
45:00-46:00        TWIST promo code for 3 months free of Topspin
46:00-1:06:00     NEWS: Color.com / ShopSquad.com / and more

Background on Ian and Topspin

Ian Rogers, CEO of Topspin

  • Ian’s Current Work
    • Since April 2008, CEO of Topspin
    • Topspin is a technology platform for musicians, filmmakers and authors to grow & monetize their fan base
    • Topspin was founded in June 2007 by Peter Gotcher (Digidesign founder) and Shamal Ranasinghe (RealNetworks, Musicmatch, Yahoo!)
    • Funded by Redpoint (Tim Haley) for series A and Foundry (Ryan McIntyre) for series B; both rounds undisclosed
    • Artist roster is 4000+ strong and includes Paul McCartney, Arcade Fire and Eminem (goal for 2010 was 900 artists)
    • Topspin went from invite-only to publicly available as of last Wednesday at SXSW
    • Topspin promoted first feature film in 2008 and plans to grow film arm
  • Ian’s Previous Work
    • Work-study job at Indiana University was in the Music Library — got to develop search-and-stream system, the “2nd ever music-related website”
    • Ian’s work was noticed by Beastie Boys manager John Silva (now Topspin advisor) and Ian went on tour with the band in 1995
    • First employee of Nullsoft (Winamp and SHOUTcast) in 1998; company sold to AOL in May 1999
    • After brief AOL stint, re-teamed with Nullsoft founder Rob Lord and started Mediacode (web app Muse.net); sold to Yahoo! in 2003
    • Built Yahoo! Music’s subscription service from 2004-05 and stayed with Yahoo Music until 2008
  • Personal
    • Became a father at 17 to daughter Zoe, now age 20 and a junior at MIT
    • Also has a 4 yr old daughter Lucinda
    • Says fatherhood has greatly impacted both his personal and business path
    • Teaching a 12-week UCLA extension course, “The Music Business Now”
    • Music fan and record collector from age 5
    • Skateboarding enthusiast


Jason: @jason
Tyler: @steepdecline
Ian   @iancr
Topspin:  @topspinmedia

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