Apple leads a $50M Series B for independent music distribution company UnitedMasters

Music distribution company UnitedMasters has secured $50 million in a Series B funding round. Led by Apple. Other participants were A16z and Alphabet.

Alongside this huge investment, UnitedMasters is entering into a partnership with Apple, according to TechCrunch. The partnership will enable the music distribution company to offer its customers better services.

UnitedMedia was launched in 2017 by Steve Stoute, a former executive at Interscope and Sony Music. The goal of the music distribution company is to provide artists with direct access to data about how fans are interacting with their content and community. This allows them to connect directly with fans for ticket sales, merchandise, and other commercial services. The platform also allows maintaining control of their masters.

Typically, in the music industry, the recording company retains the audience, targeting data and masters. This prevents an artist from knowing the precise steps or technologies to use in building community.

“We want all artists to have the same opportunity. Currently, independent artists have less opportunity for success and we’re trying to remove that stigma,” Stoute said. “Every artist needs access to a CTO. Some of the value of what a manager is today for an artist needs to be transferred to that role.”

UnitedMasters seeks to provide artists with a technical edge at scale which allows them to build their fanbase via community.

The music distribution company has ongoing deals with big brands such as the NBA, ESPN, Tik Tok, Twitch, and several others. It allows artists to access deals with these brands that would normally require a label and manager to access. UnitedMasters also has a direct distribution app that allows publishing of content across major streaming services.

“Steve Stoute and UnitedMasters provide creators with more opportunities to advance their careers and bring their music to the world,” said Apple representative Eddy Cue in a statement. “The contributions of independent artists play a significant role in driving the continued growth and success of the music industry, and UnitedMasters, like Apple, is committed to empowering creators.

Co-founder and general partner of Andreessen, Ben Horowitz said UnitedMasters has created an opportunity for artists by transforming the way they “create, retain ownership in their work, and connect with their fans.” He added that the company is excited to work with the UnitedMasters’ team “to build a better, bigger, and far more profitable world for musical artists.”

Stoute said the new funding will be used to expand the company’s operations internationally, and invest more in tech research and development. It will also focus more on hiring talent to add to its team of 250 employees.

About a million artists are signed on the UnitedMasters’ platform, according to the company. At a fee of $5 a month, they can get access to all of their music royalties. Users can skip monthly payments and retain a 90% share of their royalties, while the platform holds the remaining 10%.

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