Label services company UnitedMasters has raised a $50 million Series B investment round led by Apple, with follow-on investments from Alphabet and Andreessen Horowitz, it was announced Wednesday (March 31). Along with the investment, the company has signed a new strategic partnership with Apple, which will provide “dramatic new opportunities” for UnitedMasters artists, according to a release.
“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,” said UnitedMasters founder Steve Stoute in a statement. “Technology, no doubt, has transformed music for consumers. Now it’s time for technology to change the economics for the artists.”
Launched in 2017 by Stoute — the founder of communications firm Translation and a former executive at Sony Music and Interscope — UnitedMasters was designed as a label alternative that allows artists to retain full ownership of their master recordings in exchange for 10% of their royalties. It also offers a suite of tools to help artists connect with their fans, track their earnings and score brand partnerships, among other services.
“Steve Stoute and UnitedMasters provide creators with more opportunities to advance their careers and bring their music to the world,” said Eddy Cue, senior vp internet software and services at Apple. “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.”
“UnitedMasters has completely transformed the way artists create, retain ownership in their work, and connect with their fans,” added Ben Horowitz, co-founder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “We are excited to work with Steve and team to build a better, bigger, and far more profitable world for musical artists.”