Apple Invests $50 Million in Independent Music Artist Platform UnitedMasters

Independent music distributor UnitedMasters has announced a $50 million investment round led by Apple that aims to help independent artists gain a foothold and establish a career in the music business (via TechCrunch).

apple music logo
As part of a strategic partnership, Apple is joined by Google parent company Alphabet and A16z, which will provide follow-on "Series B" investments in UnitedMasters.

The mission of the distribution platform is to enable artists to "maintain full ownership over their work while expanding their economic opportunity and introducing them to millions of new fans." To that end, UnitedMasters aims to furnish musicians with data on how fans interact with their content and community, allowing them to connect more directly to offer tickets, merchandise and other commercial efforts.

"We want all artists to have the same opportunity," UnitedMasters CEO Steve Stoute told TechCrunch. "Currently, independent artists have less opportunity for success and we're trying to remove that stigma."

"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 has deals with the NBA, ESPN, TikTok, Twitch and others that gives artists access to big brand deals that would traditionally be negotiated by a label and manager. It also has a direct distribution app through which musicians can publish to all of the major streaming services, as well as check stream, fan and earnings data at a glance.

"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 in a release 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."

The strategic partnership is relatively unique for Apple, which typically likes to acquire companies rather than invest in them, and when it chooses to do the latter it usually does so through its Advanced Manufacturing Fund.

That said, the mission of the platform appears to have much in common with Apple Music Connect, the social network for artists that was originally part of Apple Music when it launched in 2015, but soon faded into obscurity before becoming officially defunct in December 2018.

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
iOS 18 Calendar Feature

iOS 18: Calendar App Design Changes and Reminders Integration

Tuesday June 18, 2024 6:16 am PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 has given the Calendar app a major update, adding some welcome interface design changes, not to mention long-awaited integration with Reminders. In the month-by-month calendar view, the month now appears in large bold font in the top left, while the Events list toggle has been replaced by a new button that lets you choose between Compact, Stacked, Details, and List views. ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...

Top Rated Comments

Mick-Mac Avatar
42 months ago
Every time I see that Music app icon I cringe. Why can't Apple invest some money into making the macOS and iOS Music apps less awful.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
imnotthewalrus Avatar
42 months ago

So.. this is where our money is going?
Music has always been a passion of Apple; particularly in the Jobs era.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Feyl Avatar
42 months ago

Every time I see that Music app icon I cringe. Why can't Apple invest some money into making the macOS and iOS Music apps less awful.
I'm a big critic of Apple's design but the current icon is in my opinion way better than just a white blob.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Amadeo Avatar
42 months ago
Having worked for one of Steve Stoute's companies, I'm honestly impressed at his repeated ability to identify niche opportunities that turn out to be very lucrative in the end. Most people can only ever do that once in a lifetime. Wasn't the greatest office culture (a bit dog eat dog), but the impact in culture (or ability to authentically reflect it) is undeniable. UnitedMasters is another example of that.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
qoop Avatar
42 months ago
More anonymous brands, more millions, more promises, more strategic partnerships, more paperwork, more middle men… we've heard it all before…
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pmau Avatar
42 months ago
Apple is spreading thin with all these services.
I cannot imagine that they can get that much revenue from all of these, but I ofcourse understand that this is just a drop in a bucket compared to iPhone sales and the updated Macs even.

It just rubs me the wrong way that I can watch multi-lingual Movies and TV Shows on all major platforms, except for Apple, where I have to pay separately.

The Music might be plentful for young people, but obviously all of the copyright holders want a little piece of the pie.

The whole App collection, Music, TV, Movies all looks like a forced store front. Search is still so underwhelming, it does not even work around simple misspellings. Everything directs you to immediately buy.

It is very hard to maintain Playlists or get real suggestions for new Albums or things I like.
Not whatt Apple is trying to push on me real hard.

I also think the fragmentation like HBO, Disney and all the rest makes it more and more unattractive.
Sometimes I do not even check where or if a Movie, TV Show or Album is available at all. It just gets so complicated.

Too unorganized, too many options, very poor content discovery.
Apple should really look hard at the competition instead of buying out smaller companies.
They simply stopped leading.

And yes ... I still remember early days if iPod / iTunes with Syncing and all.
Somehow it all felt better. I'm getting old ...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)