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Direct-to-Fan Services Take New Music Seminar By Storm

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By Katherine Peach/Special to LAist

Major ticketing services will see new players in the market with “direct-to-fan” platforms that allow event organizers and artists to turn to a smaller marketing middle man. Both Topspin and brand-new Gigswiz announced at the New Music Seminar this week marketing tools that artists can use to sell retail and direct ticket sales through their own websites.

CEO Ian Rogers announced on Wednesday that by the time SXSW rolls around Topspin will offer any artist, filmmaker and agency the ability to use a redesigned retail app for fans to buy their favorite merchandise on the go. Topspin’s services are used by Eminem, Cee Lo Green, Paul McCartney, the newly anointed Arcade Fire and the technology prophet Ray Kurzweil.

Topspin also challenged industry hopefuls to submit the best direct-to-fan business plan to the company by March 7 in order to win a $5,000 marketing grant. The winning plan will be announced Thursday at SXSW.

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The Finland-based Gigswiz.com announced Tuesday its mobile ticketing service that offers artist and event organizers the option to promote, market and sell tickets to live events through their individual websites and social media channels. The tech company emerged early last year thanks to co-founders Juuso Vermasheinä, Kai Lemmetty, and Joonas Pekkanen.

Event organizers can download the Gigswiz widget to sell tickets, which updates show details automatically to any website. Booking fees are 15 percent of the face value of the ticket and they cover transaction costs from credit cards— compare that to up to 40 percent of other ticket providers. The company will even shares one-third of ticket fees with artists, a glaring opposite to the Ticketmaster/Live Nation monopoly.

New Music Seminar launched this Valentine’s Day with a post-Grammy conference for emerging artists to learn how to navigate the music industry and make the leap into stardom. The three-day event offers presentations from industry leaders, workshops, summit meetings and caps each night off with a jamming music showcase. The seminar closed Wednesday night with an award ceremony and live performance at The Roxy.