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Beats aligns with TopSpin, picks Daisy subscription service chief

January 10, 2013|By Todd Martens
  • Ian Rogers is the new CEO of Daisy, the planned subscription service from Beats, the company behind the popular headphones.
Ian Rogers is the new CEO of Daisy, the planned subscription service from… (Photo courtesy of Beats…)

Beats Electronics, the Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre company behind the popular Dre-branded headphones, unveiled details Thursday on its upcoming music subscription service Daisy, including the appointment of former Topspin Media executive Ian Rogers as Daisy chief executive. Daisy is targeted for a launch late this year and will serve as a standalone company under the Beats umbrella.

In a separate but related move, Beats made an undisclosed investment in Topspin, where Jeremy Bellinghausen will step into the chief executive role for the departing Rogers. Topspin has specialized in providing musicians and labels with the back-end digital tools to sell goods direct to fans. The software will be integrated with Beats' subscription service Daisy.

"The idea is this: If I'm listening to music on demand in a streaming service, which is the way we can all agree we will consume music going forward, I should be able to find out if the band I am listening to is playing in my town," said Bob Moczydlowsky, senior vice president of product/marketing at Topspin.

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"I should be able to connect to that artist on Twitter," he continued. "I should be able to see products and updates from that artist while I'm listening to the music. There shouldn't be a walled garden where the streaming service is just a utility that delivers the sound."

Daisy -- the new name for the reconfigured MOG, which Beats acquired in 2012 -- will enter a crowded yet rapidly growing subscription service market, competing with Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody and more. At the time of Beats' MOG acquisition, the service had about 500,000 registered users. Spotify, worldwide, has claimed about 5 million paid subscribers.

"There still yet isn't a music streaming service where, when I find something I love, I can go really as deep as I want to about it without leaving the service," Moczydlowsky said. "I also don't discover as much new music from the services as I should. The algorithmic functionality of the services is useful but not the best discovery experience.... I think we're a long ways away from helping deal with the fact that there's unlimited choice in the service."

Terms of Beats' acquisition of MOG were not disclosed, but The Times reported that Beats paid about $10 million for service.

Trent Reznor, the architect of the band Nine Inch Nails, will serve as the chief creative officer of Daisy, which will operate out of Beats' Santa Monica headquarters. Daisy will be available for desktops and mobile devices, working with iOS, Android and Windows 8 operating systems. 

"What's missing from the digital music landscape is a cultural context," said Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Iovine in a statement. "We need to bring an emotional connection back to the act of music discovery. With Trent and now Ian we have the right team in place to do it."

Founded in 2006, Beats reinvigorated a moribund market for high-fidelity headphones via savvy lifestyle marketing and its association with artists such as Dre. Beats expanded the category and as of mid-2012 was estimated to command nearly 30% of the $1-billion market for headphones in North America, according to estimates by NPD Group.

In addition to its work on Daisy, TopSpin in 2013 hopes to expand its reach into the independent film world. The company recently worked with Stacy Peralta on his skating documentary "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography." Topspin orchestrated a grass-roots release scheme that offered fans various goodies, including reissued skateboard decks and riders' personal mementos. 

"I need some developers," said Topspin's Moczydlowsky. "If you know people who want to make amazing software for musicians, tell them to call me. I am hiring. This is a very real opportunity for us to make this move quicker and faster."

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