Independent music distribution platform UnitedMasters has announced a $50 million Series B investment led by Apple along with follow-on investments from Google’s Alphabet and Andreessen Horowitz.
With the Apple investment in United Masters comes a strategic partnership which the pair say will create “dramatic new opportunities” for UnitedMasters artists.
The deal also marks the first time that Apple has made a major investment in an independent music distributor. Spotify owns a significant stake in competitor DistroKid.
“The power in the music industry has shifted back into the hands of the artist,” said Steve Stoute, founder of UnitedMasters, a former executive at Sony Music and Interscope. “We are taking that power and using it to place the industry’s intellectual property back into the hands of its rightful owners.”
UnitedMasters provides music distribution services and facilitates partnerships between artists and brands including partnerships with the NBA, ESPN, TikTok, Twitch, and others. Creators can release music from their iPhone or Android devices and track streams, fan analytics, and earnings.
“Steve Stoute and UnitedMasters provide creators with more opportunities to advance their careers and bring their music to the world,” said Apple’s Eddy Cue. “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.”
“We built UnitedMasters as a record company in your pocket to remove the barrier entries for any independent artist who wants to create and retain full equity in their work, connect directly with their fans, and earn far more money than the legacy model through new revenue streams such as advertising,” continued Stoute. “Technology, no doubt, has transformed music for consumers. Now it’s time for technology to change the economics for the artists.”