ATLANTA (CelebrityAccess) — In what seems prescient in the era of COVID-19 and social distancing, veteran talent manager Andy Levine has founded Topeka, a dedicated streaming platform to help artists connect with their fans.
Topeka allows artists to interact one-on-one with fans, with sessions that range from casual conversations or guitar lessons to intimate solo concerts for a fan and a few friends.
You may recognize Levine from his previous venture Sixthman, which produces unique musical experiences on cruise ships.
Since 2001, Sixthman produced more than 125 ocean-going music festivals, featuring artists KISS, Kid Rock, Kesha, Bon Jovi, Zac Brown, John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa, 311, Paramore, and attracting more than 250,000 fans.
Levine sold Sixthman to Norwegian Cruise Lines in 2012 and he remained at the helm of the company until 2016 when he left his position as CEO to pursue new projects, most notably, Topeka.
Topeka, which draws its name from a scene from the 2000 movie “Almost Famous” seems well-positioned in a moment in time where traditional concerts (and their revenue streams) have been canceled or postponed and social distancing is the order of the day.
“We were really trying to figure out a way for artists to make money without leaving home,” Levine told CelebrityAccess.
Sessions on Topeka are moderated by a Topeka team member who makes sure things go smoothly and will typically last for 15 minutes for a simple conversation, 30 minutes for a music lesson, or 45 minutes for a personal concert.
Prices, which are set by the artist with guidance from Topeka, typically start at $150 for a conversation while a full personal concert from your favorite artist on the service will set you back $1,500.
For personal concerts, the Zoom-powered streaming service can accommodate up to 100 fans, but the service is oriented towards one-on-one interactions.
Artists who have already signed up for the service include Rusted Root’s Michael Glabicki, Sister Hazel’s Drew Copeland, Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron, Seattle guitarist Ian Moore, and folk-rock singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins, among numerous others.
In addition, Topeka has launched a partnership with Circles, a non-profit that helps families find a path out of poverty by providing mentoring and training through weekly meetings called Circles. The meetings help families build friendships and relationships that are effective tools in overcoming barriers to success like the so-called ‘Cliff Effect’ where a wage increase triggers the loss of benefits worth more than the wage increase.
When fans sign up for a hangout session with their favorite artist, Topeka will fully fund the cost of one month of weekly empowerment coaching for a family through the Circles program.