Alphabet and 20th Century Fox are among investors raising $70 million for music start-up UnitedMasters, an artist services company. Launched by Steve Stoute, a former president of Interscope Records, the new outfit is looking to do away with record labels as artists will sign up directly to UnitedMasters and pay to have it distribute tracks across platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music for a split of the royalties.
Like a lot of music tech start-ups, UnitedMasters is leaning heavily on big data and so will be able to provide metrics on audience demographics and behaviour, and help develop marketing strategies.
Ben Horowitz, whose Andreessen Horowitz VC outfit has also invested in the start-up, explains that the idea behind UnitedMasters has been to create a platform enabling artists to market themselves globally as effectively as leading tech companies do.
“To build such a platform, the company had to be world class in three distinctly different disciplines – music, advertising, and technology,” he writes on Medium. “[Steve Stoute] already had the expertise in music and advertising, but technology was the key and that’s when he called me. Together, we recruited a phenomenal technology team with members from distinguished companies such as Facebook, Dropbox, and Pandora.