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HELP!
• If you have a charge on your credit card from Topspin Media and are wondering why, it is most likley due to you recently purchasing from an artist who is using Topspin. If you're still scratching your head, please take a moment to file a support ticket and one of our amazing support representatives will get back to you shortly.
• If you bought something from an artist and need help with an order, please refer to your original receipt, which you should have received via email. It contains instructions about who to contact for your particular order.
• If for some reason you don’t have a receipt or didn't receive one when you placed your order, please file a support ticket and one of our amazing support representatives will get back to you shortly.
• If you are a current Topspin client and need help with something please, let us know and someone will follow up
with you. If you are a Plus or Enterprise customer, feel free to use our live chat feature as well. Simply log into your account and you should see the live chat module in the lower left of your browser.

Now on with the show...

ABOUT US
What is Topspin?
Who uses Topspin?
What makes Topspin different from other direct-to-fan solutions?
Where can I see a demo of Topspin in action?

REQUIREMENTS
Can anyone use Topspin?
I’m already signed to a record label. Can I still use Topspin?
I run a label. Will Topspin work for me?

GETTING STARTED
How do I sign up for Topspin?
What do I need to get started in Topspin?
Do I need any highly-technical skills to use Topspin?
I need help with Topspin. Can I talk to a real person?
How much does Topspin cost?
Is there a free trial?
Do I need a credit card to sign up?
Can I switch to a different plan later?
Can I cancel my plan at any time?
How do I get paid for the sales I make?
Does Topspin make my financial accounting easy to understand?

TECHNICAL Q's
Can Topspin integrate with my existing website?
Does Topspin host my store?
Can Topspin store and ship my products?
Can I handle order fulfillment myself?
I already have a fulfillment partner. Can they work with Topspin?
Who owns the data in my Topspin account?
Can I add email addresses of fans from outside of Topspin?
If I use Topspin, can I still sell my stuff on iTunes/Amazon/other retailers?
Does Topspin control the rights to my music?
Does Topspin work with Facebook and Twitter?
Does Topspin work on mobile devices?
What are some buzzwords I can use in reference to Topspin?

TAXES
How does Topspin handle taxes in the U.S.?
How does Topspin handle VAT for customers outside of the U.S.?

MISCELLANEOUS Q's
How can my company become a Topspin Expert or Partner?
What is Topspin's overarching philosophy?
How can I get a job at Topspin?
My question was not answered above. How can I get an answer?


What is Topspin?
Topspin is a direct-to-fan marketing and retail software platform. You used professional software such as ProTools, Logic, or Final Cut Pro to create your art. Topspin’s software provides tools to help you increase awareness, build relationships with fans, and turn those fans into customers.

Specifically, Topspin empowers you to:
• Manage your music, videos, images, and other digital assets
• Manage your physical merchandise and ticket inventory
• Create exclusive offers such as fan clubs and VIP memberships
• Bundle and sell all of the above in any combination you’d like, worldwide, in many currencies, without needing to worry about taxes, privacy, etc
• Book your own shows and sell your own tickets
• Build awareness with web, iPhone, and iPad-compatible streaming video players and sharing tools
• Gather email addresses as well as fans’ geographic information, personal interests, and more
• Build a relationship with your fans, gain their trust and communicate directly via email, Facebook, and Twitter

We hope Topspin becomes your tool of choice for all your direct-to-fan business.

If you like moving pictures, check out this little vignette we made to give you an idea of what Topspin does.

Who Uses Topspin?
Hopefully, you! Thousands of musicians, filmmakers, and authors large and small are currently using Topspin. Musicians from Les Blanks to Arcade Fire to Paul McCartney, movies from One Too Many Mornings to Transcendent Man. To see a list of this week’s top downloads and sellers, visit our artist page.

What makes Topspin different from other direct-to-fan solutions?
Wait, there are others? Hey now, thems big words. :-) While Topspin is far from perfect, we’re very proud of the breadth of features Topspin offers. Before you say “Topspin is just a shopping cart”, ask, does your shopping cart have this?

• Integrated ecommerce, marketing, fan management, asset management, and ticketing tools in one software package
• Bundling of digital audio, video, images, and/or any other file with physical merchandise, tickets, and fan clubs/VIP access, with break-out accounting of bundle contents when sold
• iPhone/iPad-friendly streaming players, widgets to collect email addresses, Facebook, and Twitter connections, and more
• Social and distributed commerce, placing your offers anywhere including your web site, Facebook, blogs, music discovery sites, plus plugins for WordPress, Drupal, Expression Engine, and Ning and easy integration into Goodsie, Virb, Bandzoogle, and more
• A solution for physical fulfillment which scales, from your kitchen table to integrated Topspin Fulfillment to the largest logistics companies in the world
• Ability to target emails to fans by their geography, purchase history, social influence, or how they found you originally
• A self-serve ticketing platform which has sold tickets to Eminem in Yankee Stadium, movie theaters, 6,000 Pixies tickets in London, and your house party
• Ability to sell a membership, then sell any other product to members only. Fans login to your site with their Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, AOL, or other account
• Ability to pay multiple rights holders, from promoters to labels, merchandise, and fulfillment partners, with net accounting to the artist
• Fan payment via credit card, PayPal, and international debit cards such as Switch and Solo, plus support for many foreign currencies including USD, GBP, EUR, JPY, CAD, and AUD
• Payment of sales tax, removing the sales tax burden from you
• Reporting to Soundscan in the US and The Official Charts Company (OCC) in the UK
• Compliance with lots of things artists shouldn’t have to worry about such as COPPA, EU Safe Harbor, etc
• A knowledge base and community forum for self-help, plus dedicated customer support when you really need a personal touch
• No ceiling! Topspin is a professional-grade software tool for any level of artist, from the amateur punk band I rocked in high school to former Beatles!

Whoa. That’s rad. Where can I watch a demo?
If you like moving pictures, check out this little vignette we made to give you an idea of what Topspin does.

Can anyone use Topspin? 
Awwwwww yeah! Topspin is now available to all comers! Come on in, take your shoes off, and make yourself at home.

I’m already signed to a record label. Can I still use Topspin?
Yes, and chances are your label already works with Topspin. We are label-friendly and have successfully found ways to work with many great labels. If your label doesn’t work with Topspin yet, please have them contact us today!

I run a record label. Will Topspin work for me?
Yes. Topspin was built as an artist tool but you can manage multiple artists from a single login. There are two ways to use Topspin as a label and both have their pros and cons. Each store is an island, so if you set up an artist account for each artist they will be separate from one another. This works great if you’re a label using Topspin to power artist sites and many labels use Topspin in this way. You can also have a single label account and load all your media into it. Using Topspin with too many SKUs can be a little clunky at the moment, but it works and some labels use Topspin in this way, too. We’re improving this feature set. Please give it a go and let us know what you’d like to see next.

Can Topspin integrate with my existing website?
Yes! Our buy-buttons and widgets can be embedded anywhere and customized with any design you want. 

Does Topspin host my store?
We do! With our Spinshop, you can build a store in minutes and customize it to your heart’s content. Topspin also makes it simple for that store to live on your website, Facebook page, etc.

Will Topspin store or ship my CDs/LPs/t-shirts/gold plated keychains?
Yes! With Topspin Fulfillment you can ensure you won’t cut yourself on the packing tape dispenser and let Topspin handle the customer service on your digital and physical orders. Unlike many fulfillment solutions, Topspin Fulfillment does NOT charge you an extra percentage fee per transaction. The fan pays a reasonable shipping/handling charge and you pay a very small receiving and storage fee when you send us your product. We need to charge the receiving and storage fee to keep ourselves from going broke with people sending us lots of product that doesn’t sell, but so long as you send reasonable amounts of goods and sell them it’s very competitively-priced fulfillment and available to everyone! Download the Topspin Fulfillment Instructions (direct .zip download containing PDF and CSV) and see for yourself. The document includes pricing and other important information. Further information can be found in our Knowledge Base article on Topspin Fulfillment.

My kitchen table is a perfect mailroom. Can I ship this vinyl myself?
Sure thing. Just click the “Fulfill” tab in your Topspin account, choose Self Fulfillment, and make those fans happy. Be sure to throw some random trinkets from around your house in the box, too. You’re doing it yourself, may as well make it personal.

I already have a fulfillment partner. Can they work with Topspin?
Yes. Topspin has multiple methods of integrating with your fulfillment partner, from a modern API to automatic CSV delivery. Integration with 3rd party fulfillers is available for accounts with Topspin Plus and Topspin Enterprise plans.

I don’t want some jackass spamming my fans. Who owns the data in my Topspin account?
You own your data and we will not mail your fans, sell your list, or any of that evil stuff. Exporting data is quick and easy inside the app. Take good care of it -- after your art, it’s your most valuable asset. We hate spam as much (maybe more) than you.

My friend just gave me her band’s email list. Can I load that into my Topspin account and tell all those people they better buy my new record?
NO. Unwanted email is called SPAM and it’s worse than 24 hours of Who Let The Dogs Out. You may only use Topspin to email people who have explicitly granted you permission to receive from you. This can include fans who signed up at your show, or a pre-existing list of emails you've collected. Do not simply dump a bunch of emails you scraped from other sources into your account. If you spam, we’ll shut down your account. Real talk. So here’s a better idea: ask your friend to email all her band’s fans on your behalf and tell them how much she loves your art. You’ll have way better results that way, since her fans asked for messages from her and likely trust her opinion at least a little.

If I use Topspin, can I still sell my products on iTunes, Amazon, and that obscure ringtone site in Romania?
Sure! Topspin is non-exclusive and we only receive a portion of revenue when you sell through our platform. We encourage you to take your music and merchandise anywhere your fans might look for it, but we recommend you sell direct to your fans whenever possible.

Does Topspin control the rights to my music?
No. Topspin takes no ownership of the rights to any of the media you sell or stream through our platform. We are merely a vessel through which your genius flows.

Facebook is the new Internet and Wired magazine told me I have to care about “Social Commerce”. Does Topspin work on Facebook and Twitter?
You win today’s Buzzword Bingo Blackout! From the very beginning Topspin has been the most embed-able and shareable promotion and commerce platform. Getting your art in front of fans whereever they are, from their email inbox to their Facebook feed, is the name of the game and that’s exactly what we’ve built Topspin to do. With Topspin your store is easily embedded in your Facebook page and your free downloads and streaming players are easily shared with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and more. 

What about mobile? Do people even use computers anymore? Does Topspin work on mobile phones and iPads? 

Yep! Our widgets, streaming players, and shopping-cart checkout work on iPhones and Android.

 

GETTING STARTED WITH TOPSPIN

How do I sign up?
Simply go to this page and drop your email in the box. We’ll send you a link to a page where you can create an account, fill in your artist name and genre. Then you can kick the tires a bit and select the appropriate plan before launching your first account.

What do I need to get started with Topspin?
You need:
• Your art: high-resolution audio, video, images, or other files, and pictures and descriptions of anything physical you’d like to sell
• A bank account where we can direct-deposit your earnings
• A desire to grow awareness for your art and connect directly with fans
• If you have a list of existing email addresses, bring those along, too

Do I need any technical training or mad computer skillz to use Topspin?
Nope. As with any professional software tool (Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, ProTools) there is a learning curve, but if you can embed a YouTube player in a blog, you can get the hang of Topspin. Basic knowledge of HTML and Javascript will unlock a world of customization, and developers can build almost anything with our APIs. We’ve worked to make the software easier to use, and will continue to balance ease-of-use improvements with your feature requests in the months to come.
There are many resources you can leverage to get the most from Topspin:

• An extensive Knowledge Base including how-to videos

• Adedicated customer support when you really need a personal touch

• Many great and affordable Topspin-trained designers and marketers who can help you with your campaign

• Your label or distributor may also be able to help you with Topspin

I’m not exactly made of money. How much does Topspin cost?
Topspin wants you to keep as much of your loot as possible. We love writing checks to artists every month. Especially big checks with lots of commas. But our landlord has a mortgage and our engineers have rent to pay, so we charge a small fee to help us keep releasing new and improved version of our software weekly. Here’s the scoop:

• For $9.99/month (20% discount if you sign up for a year) you get access to the Topspin marketing platform & commerce tools. More advanced features are available in our Topspin Plus and Topspin Enterprise plans. Click here for details.
• Beyond the monthly payment, we only make money when you do. When you sell stuff, Topspin’s share of revenue an industry-standard 15%. Taxes and shipping are automatically calculated on top of the retail price, and we do NOT take a percentage of those charges.
• Just like with other services, there’s a small cost for processing the transaction (this is the credit-card processing fee or PayPal fee). This cost varies by transaction, but it is generally 2.2% + $0.30. Topspin is constantly trying to make this cost lower, and we pass the savings on to you as we decrease the cost. There is no additional processing fee for ticket transactions, we eat that cost inside of the 15%.
• We know giving away music is a proven way to build a fan list. We let you give away songs, albums, movies, WAV files, stems, anything you want, as much as you want, no credits, no bullshit. You pay for the bandwidth at OUR COST. We do not make any money here, we just pass our negotiated bandwidth rate on to you. The current rate is fifteen cents per gigabyte. We’re always working to bring this cost down, and when we do we’ll pass this savings directly to you. For example, if you gave away 10,000 downloads of a 5MB song and added 10,000 fans to your email list, your bandwidth cost would only be $7.30 (less than one-tenth a penny per download/fan). That’s mad cheap, yo.
• You are welcome to ship orders for physical products yourself, use a fulfillment partner to ship them (including one of our nearly 100 integrated partners worldwide), or have Topspin Fulfillment handle shipping for you. If you use Topspin Fulfillment, there is a small charge for receiving and storing your product. No offense, but we don’t want to go broke if you send us truckloads of stuff that doesn’t sell. Send us reasonable amounts of stuff and sell it and it’s a very good deal.
• When it comes to keeping your fans happy, our customer support team is the best in the biz. In order to maintain our industry-best standards, we add a $1.00 customer service fee to shipping/handling on all orders containing physical merchandise.

This sounds good, but I’d like to try before I buy. Is there a free trial?
Kind of. When you sign up you‘re welcome to look around and explore the features but when you’re ready to publish a widget or sell something, you’ll need to sign up for a paid account. 

Do I need a credit card to sign up?
The free trial account only needs your email address. You can pay for an account using a credit card or debit card. We will also happily trade you a year of Topspin for a 1991 Kid Rock trading card a mint-condition first vinyl pressing of "Pink Flag" by Wire.

I suffer from terminal indecision. Can I switch to a different plan later?
Absolutely! Switch whenever you want. To upgrade, simply click "Upgrade" at the very top of the Topspin admin screen and choose a plan. To downgrade, you must first cancel your account (see below). Then log in again, and purchase a different plan. If you downgrade to a lower-tier plan, the features exclusive to your previous plan will be unavailable, but your data will still be there.

Can I cancel my plan at any time?
::sigh:: If you must. We’re sad to see you go, though. In case you change your mind, we’ll keep all your data intact for 90 days after cancellation. You can reinstate your account anytime during that 90-day period and pick up right where you left off. Once 90 days have passed, all your data will be permanently deleted. If you want to cancel your account, check your receipt from Topspin. Click the link to "Disable Rebilling" to cancel your account.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me. How and when do I get paid?
Once you’ve set up direct-deposit into your bank account, Topspin will transmit your first payment 60 days after you start earning money from sales. After that, you’ll receive payments automatically every 30 to 45 days. We do our best to issue payments every 30 days, but there may be circumstances that delay payment such as not having a verified account or lack of other information. We pay for completed sales from the previous 30 days at the close of every month. Dolla dolla bill, y’all. To protect everyone involved from fraud, we only pay once your product has shipped. Please ship orders to fans as soon as they come in, and mark them “shipped” in Topspin so we know they’ve gone out the door! We know you want to keep your fans happy, and shipping their order as quickly as possible is the absolute best way. For bank accounts outside of the US and Canada, the balance on your account will be converted to the appropriate currency. The exchange rate you receive will be the current bank exchange rate at the time of transfer (this is market rate plus 0.5 - 1%).

Math is hard. Does Topspin make my financial accounting easy to understand?
We try! We show you a simple financial snapshot every time you login to Topspin. The sales reports inside the app show you sales to date, yesterday, last week, last month, etc by product and by package, so you can see which of your products are selling and in which configurations. Every month we send you a detailed account statement which is as easy to read as any bank statement and gives all the detail your accountant needs to balance your books.

TAXES

How does Topspin handle taxes in the U.S.?
Topspin is the retailer of record, which means that we take care of collecting taxes. Since we have a nexus in California, New York and Tennessee, those are the only states that we currently collect taxes. Customers purchasing in other states will not see taxes added to their order.

How does Topspin handle taxes for customers outside of the U.S.?
For your sales to customers located outside of the U.S., we are not the retailer of record, but are acting as your "disclosed agent". This means that you are selling the products directly to those customers. Value Added Taxes (VAT) may arise when you sell to customers in certain countries, and if so, you will be required to pay the VAT to that country's tax authority. Your obligation to pay VAT may differ depending on the products and countries involved. You should therefore seek VAT advice from your tax advisor on all sales to customers in the EU, including the UK.

MISCELLANEOUS Q'S

How can I become a Topspin Expert or Partner?
We are always looking to add labels, distributors, management companies, marketing services companies, web design firms, and technology platforms to our list of expert partners. Please contact us if you think we should form like Voltron.

What is Topspin’s overarching philosophy?
Summed up briefly through the words of others:

“There are only two people who matter in the music business, the artist and the fan. The rest of us in the middle need to either add value or get the hell out of the way.” - Al Teller

“Piracy is not the enemy, obscurity is.” - Tim O’Reilly

“CWF (connect with fans) + RTB (reason to buy) = $$” - Mike Masnick

Can I have a job at Topspin?
When we have openings at Topspin we post them to Twitter and Facebook. Please follow us there and if something looks up your alley, apply! No need to send us mail without a job posting, though. Thanks!

My question was not answered above. How can I get an answer?
Click here to contact our devoted Artist support team and they’ll be happy to help you out. You can also drop by our Artist Support Community and Knowledge Base to get person-to-person help or let us know what’s on your mind. We get some (ok maybe most) of our best idaes from those of you with your boots on the ground.

Have more questions? Submit a request and our team will be able to help get you sorted.
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