Pakman invested in Rogers' company and its vision of letting people access the music collection stored on their home computers via any other computer with an Internet connection. It was a radical idea at the time and it caught the ear of Yahoo's then-chief executive, Terry Semel, who bought Mediacode from Rogers in 2003 for an undisclosed sum.
Rogers went to work for Semel, eventually becoming general manager of Yahoo's music business. He launched a service in 2005 that let people download as many songs as they wanted for $5 a month. But it failed to tempt enough customers, largely because its songs could not be played on Apple Inc.'s iPods, which did not support Yahoo's piracy prevention software. The service ceased in 2008.
That year, Rogers left Yahoo to become CEO of Topspin.
For record labels, Topspin straddles a delicate balance between disruptive and constructive.
Artists can use Topspin's tools to bypass record labels. Bands can build their own online fan base and sell music, merchandise and even concert tickets directly to consumers. In return, Topspin gets a cut of the sales. As musicians become more established, they can hire managers and, eventually, labels to take over those tasks. Whoever ends up with the job still would use the tools provided by Topspin.