Streaming music service Beats Music has acquired D2C firm Topspin. The company announced the deal in a blog post from its CEO Ian Rogers – formerly boss of Topspin – this afternoon.
“The acquisition brings a team of talented people who have spent years working on building and fine-tuning the artist-to-fan connection into the Beats Music experience,” Rogers wrote. “Topspin + Beats Music combines music discovery and direct relationships between artists and fans in a revolutionary way.”
Rumours of the deal have been bubbling within the music industry this week, and we’ve heard from multiple sources that Beats is paying a relatively low price for Topspin – one source suggested it may be as little as $1.5m.
Topspin has been one of the most prominent companies helping artists manage their direct relationships with fans, as well as selling their own music and merchandise, including deals with Beats Music and Spotify via its ArtistLink platform to show merch within their profiles on the streaming services.
A Beats-owned Topspin is likely to have ramifications for Spotify, although the volume of speculation in recent days will surely have had the latter company making alternative plans just in case.
“Topspin partners, please know we’ll be honoring the agreements made by Topspin and assigned to Beats Music,” wrote Rogers. “Since ecommerce isn’t our core business, we’ll be working with the Topspin team to find the best possible partner to handle Topspin’s ecommerce and fulfillment in the coming weeks.”
Topspin mirrored these promises in its own blog post: “or existing Topspin customers, there will be no immediate change. We will continue to operate both ArtistLink and the Topspin Platform without any interruption to either products’ service,” explained the company.
“You can continue to use ArtistLink to manage your presence on your MTV artist page or publish your merchandise offers into Spotify. Both of these integrations will continue to operate as-is after Beats Music acquires ArtistLink. There will also be no changes to ArtistLink’s Promo Exchange or advertising service.”
Topspin hasn’t had the best last 12 months, with senior executives departing – not just Rogers, but SVP of product and marketing Bob Moczydlowsky, who left for a role at Twitter – and a recent batch of layoffs described as a restructuring process.
The company is understood to have been looking for a buyer in recent months, and found it in Beats. The deal could be seen as a hail mary from Topspin, and a necessary move by Beats to avoid a key element of its service either going out of business or falling into the hands of a rival. However, Rogers suggested a more positive approach.
“We’re committed to establishing Beats Music as a conduit for the artist-fan relationship, a platform where artists have a voice, and a provider of useful data and analytics on how fans interact with artists and their music,” wrote Rogers. “This acquisition puts our money where our mouth is.”