It was one of the most heavily-hyped, overblown startups of the last ten years. Now, Topspin could be crashing: according to sources now ‘outside’ the company, Topspin is executing massive layoffs amidst continued investor unhappiness and financial concerns. At this point, everyone’s talking except the company itself: we don’t have exact numbers or percentages, but it looks like Topspin is chopping half or more of its entire staff.
That includes head of operations Brad Barrish, the highest-ranking layoff confirmed (please fill in more names below).
Others have already jumped ship, including senior VP Bob Moczydlowsky, who exited the company last year for Twitter Music. But the most troubling defection came from CEO Ian Rogers, who effectively abandoned Topspin to head the sexier Beats Music (Rogers remains on the Board; while Jeremy Bellinghausen assumed the position of CEO).
The development follows two important deals for Topspin: one with Spotify, and the other with Beats itself. Now, both of those companies face the prospect of a dying partner.
The warning signs on Topspin have been percolating for years. Back in 2011, investors shared details of early unrest and broader competitive difficulties with Digital Music News. At that point, efforts to reduce and de-risk invested capital appeared underway, with investors reconsidering whether solid returns would ever materialize. At the time, Rogers blasted Digital Music News for splashing ‘haterade’ and inaccuracies, though it now seems we had the facts basically correct.
“I am disappointed you’ve gone for the sensationalist angle instead of at least making a call to try to get the truth,” Rogers criticized, while effectively ending his relationship with this publication. “Thankfully our business is great. Our investors are very happy and I’d like to keep it that way.”
Less than two years later, Rogers was off to head Beats.
Brian O’Neal, head of media relations for Topspin, has declined to offer any comment. More as it develops.
Image by Peter Woodman, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)