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Apple invests $50M to back indie musicians [Video]



  • Apple has invested in UnitedMasters, a four-year-old company that helps independent musicians sell their music while still allowing them to keep their copyright.
  • Apple aims to help artists focus on “creating the best music on the planet.”
  • UnitedMasters’ founder is positive that the partnership will help in boosting their marketing efforts.

Apple has started a $50 million fundraiser with UnitedMasters, a relatively new company that helps musicians sell their songs while allowing them to still own the copyright.

“We want artists to be focused on creating the best music on the planet,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of services told The Wall Street Journal. “That’s their art and skill and it’s hard to have to be the marketing person and the finance person and the salesperson and do all these things when you’re starting out.”

Unlike the traditional label system requiring artists to give up their music rights in exchange for marketing efforts, UnitedMasters gives musicians options — they can choose to pay a $5 monthly subscription fee or give a 10 percent take to UnitedMasters and retain ownership of their music. This procedure also goes to show that there are many ways to help artists market their creations.

Several investors, besides Apple, have seen how UnitedMasters’ model can help the music industry and its talents. Google parent Alphabet and Andreesen Horowitz also invested and joined in a Series B funding round, which values UnitedMasters at $350 million.

The funds raised, according to UnitedMasters, will be used for international expansion, hiring, and technology.

Although it was only launched four years ago, UnitedMasters has already worked with more than one million musicians, such as NLE Choppa, Lil Tecca, and Lil XXEL. It also released songs of new artists Tobe Nwigwe and Curtis Roach, whose “Bored in the House” went viral on TikTok.

Amid operating Apple Music, the world’s second-largest streaming subscription service, Apple ventures with UnitedMasters — branding itself as creator-friendly.

UnitedMasters founder Steve Stoute, a former executive at Sony Music and Interscope Geffen A&M Records, also started ad agency Translation, which is now part of UnitedMasters. This project helps high-profile clients including the NBA, ESPN, and State Farm connect with artists.

Photo Credit: Yahoo Finance/YouTube

“We’re at the beginning of a new way these models around artists are going to work going forward—everyone’s moving from employee to ownership,” Steve said.

While it could be hard to compete against a mainstream service like Spotify, Steve is expectant that the UnitedMasters-Apple partnership will boost the marketing support of his artists.

“You don’t want to feel that because you’re independent you’re lesser than,” said Steve. “Just because you chose to own your own rights and go your own route doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to get the same level of opportunity and promotion.”

Source: New York Post