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Apple invests $50 million into UnitedMasters

Apple is investing into Steve Stoute’s UnitedMasters, a distribution platform created for independent artists.

Steve Stoute Jesse Grant/Getty Images for VH1

UnitedMasters, a distribution platform created in support of independent artists, has earned a major endorsement from Apple, who is investing $50 million into their business.

The investment also marks the beginning of the company’s new partnership with Apple.

UnitedMasters, founded by former music executive Steve Stoute in 2017, is a platform that currently allows independent artists to publish directly to all of the major streaming services, and helps them to secure brand partnerships that introduce their content to a whole new set of fans. It gives artists access to data regarding fans’ interaction with their content and also allows them to “maintain full ownership over their master recording rights” — conditions that are not typically afforded to artists in the music industry.

The collaboration with Apple will take things to another level and assist in eliminating the stigma that “independent artists have less opportunity for success.” According to Stoute, Apple will help to hire local technical talent and artists that will “take UnitedMasters global.”

“The power in the music industry has shifted back into the hands of the artist,” Stoute said in a statement. “We are taking that power and using it to place the industry’s intellectual property back into the hands of its rightful owners.”

“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,” he added. “Technology, no doubt, has transformed music for consumers. Now it’s time for technology to change the economics for the artists.”

The funding round led by Apple reportedly includes additional investments from A16z and Alphabet. It also marks another major milestone following the $70 million investment led by Google/Alphabet in 2017.

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