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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

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).


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.

Article Link: Apple Invests $50 Million in Independent Music Artist Platform UnitedMasters


macrumors 68020
Jan 11, 2016
Manchester, United Kingdom
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 think they’ve been doing quite a lot in the past few months. It’s far from perfect, yes, but they are definitely working on it constantly. Let’s hope iOS 15 and macOS 12 will bring more improvements in this area.


macrumors regular
Jul 11, 2008
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.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 8, 2021
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.
The Apple Music for Artists app icon looks great, it's an inverted version of the icon from iOS 13.

I wish dark mode would invert the horrid white base of most iOS apps... What's the point in dark mode on home screen when a majority of apps are white and blind you in the dark anyway? I was one of the iOS 7 design haters (but I didn't have an iDevice that supported it anyway so I was purely a hater) because they bleached everything. I had an iPad when iOS 8 came out and I loved how much it toned down the blinding.

I used to go in accessibility and lower the white point, but now it's like why have such a great screen if I'm adjusting accuracy. So I have the accessibility shortcut for when I want to use the feature.


macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2010
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 ...


macrumors 68040
Jun 2, 2008
If Apple make Apple music more useable, recommend the right artists and let us follow and favourite artists, maybe the artists would be paid more because we could find music we like and listen to.


macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2011
I'm a big critic of Apple's design but the current icon is in my opinion way better than just a white blob.
I wasn't complaining about the icon (which I don't have an issue with), I was complaining about the app itself.

CJ Dorschel

Dec 14, 2019
Anything to help new artists gain recognition and success in an extremely competitive industry especially with streaming services taking a bit piece of their earnings is a plus in my book. Gone are the days when consumers owned songs and albums, being replaced by artists earning pennies for their work. I recognize the irony as Apple is pushing hard into streaming services but at least they're trying to balance the system - I just hope it brings more opportunities for newcomers.


Aug 24, 2013
I wasn't complaining about the icon (which I don't have an issue with), I was complaining about the app itself.
With that I agree. The app feels outdated. But I think the library management is the best out of all streaming services.


macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2016
Sonoma County CA
What exactly is wrong with the iOS Music app?
It is terribly uninviting. It feels like a 3rd grader took the iPod which "just works" and made the iOs iTunes app (now Music app). It plays audio but is almost useless. I do not use streaming, that may be a different story. I use my own music library and playlists and the iOs experience is a watered down and annoying sad little thing.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 8, 2021
I wasn't complaining about the icon (which I don't have an issue with), I was complaining about the app itself.
Gotcha. I agree with the iOS app being bad, but that's because it's heavily geared toward subscribing, as opposed to handling your current library. It sucks because as a musician I believe in outright buying what I listen to for supporting who I enjoy. But I also don't like the icon as described in my other reply!


macrumors G3
May 17, 2008
Can someone explain to me how is this a sound business strategy for Apple to invest $50M in a company along with their competitor Google? I am pretty sure its not to make money
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