Independent music distribution platform and tool factory UnitedMasters has raised US$50 million in Series B financing led by Apple. A16z and Alphabet once again participated in this raise. In addition to this investment, United Masters will also establish a strategic partnership with Apple.
If you are not familiar with UnitedMasters, then it is a distribution company founded in 2017 by Steve Stoute, a former executive of Interscope and Sony Music.
The focus of UnitedMasters is to provide artists with direct data channels around the way fans interact with their content and community, enabling them to connect more directly to provide tickets, merchandise, and other commercial activities. UnitedMasters usually also allows artists to retain control of their masters.
These conditions are not typical in the music industry at all. In a typical artist transaction, the record company retains all audience and orientation data and mastering. This limits the agility of artists to use new technologies to build communities.
Although Apple does invest in multiple companies, it usually invests from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to promote U.S. manufacturing, or strategically cooperates with partners who manufacture key components of its hardware, such as Silicon foundry or glass manufacturing plant.
Apple makes much more purchases than investments, usually buying a company every few weeks or so to complement one or more product efforts. Well, UnitedMasters will be a relatively unique partner, especially in the field of music.
Stott believes that Apple executive Eddy Cue’s philosophy is consistent with UnitedMasters’ vision to complete the deal.
“We want all artists to have the same opportunities,” Stott said. “At present, independent artists have fewer chances of success, and we are working hard to eliminate this stigma.”
Stoute said this injection will be used to hire task-oriented talent to promote UnitedMasters globally. They are looking for local technical talents and artist talents to build the platform on a global scale.
“Every artist needs to obtain CTO permissions,” Stoute said. “Today’s managers, for artists, some value needs to be transferred to that role.”
At present, UnitedMasters has dealt with companies such as NBA, ESPN, TikTok, Twitch, etc. These agreements allow artists to take advantage of big brand deals that are usually brokered by record companies and managers.
It also has a direct distribution application that can be used to publish to all major streaming services. Most importantly, they can view traffic, fans, and revenue data at a glance.
Apple’s Eddy Cue said in a statement: “Steve Stoute and UnitedMasters provide creators with more opportunities to promote their professional development and make them Music is promoted to the world.” “The contributions of independent artists play an important role in promoting the continued development and success of the music industry, and UnitedMasters, like Apple, is committed to empowering creators.”
Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, said: “UnitedMasters has completely changed the way artists create, retaining the ownership of their works and the way they connect with fans. “We are very happy to work with Steve and the team to build a better, bigger, and more profitable world for music artists. ”
At present, the connection between artists and fans is at a turning point. Although the ways artists use social media and other platforms to express information or talk to fans seem endless, the actual business of distributing works to communities and making money from it has completely ceased from the beginning. Recording industry.
The latest developments such as NFT, DAO, and social tokens, as well as the explosive growth of the DTC framework, have begun to rewrite the protocol. However, the main participants have not yet made real aggressive steps to embrace this “artist-centered” new world.
Apple and some other major vendors (such as Spotify) are at the center of this vortex. In my opinion, one of Apple Music’s major mistakes in recent years is Apple’s failure to turn Apple Music Connect into an industry-standard portal site that allows artists to communicate with fans extensively, directly distribute and sell tickets and merchandise, but-most The important thing is-nurture and own your own community.