Record labels provide artists with distribution and monetary opportunities, but new technology has aged them a bit. Streaming services, new advertising methods and the Internet at-large have diversified how artists release music. Record labels can still create a stable platform for artists, but their effectiveness conflicts with music’s new technological age.


Enter UnitedMasters, a startup promising to give artists an alternative to record labels. Founded by former Interscope Records president Steve Stoute, UnitedMasters sounds revolutionary. UnitedMasters’ business model goes like this: an artist pays the service to distribute their music. Then, the artist and UnitedMasters divvy up the royalties while the artist retains their rights to the master recordings. Finally, UnitedMasters uses analytics to target an artist’s listeners and provide the artist a CRM tool to explore their fanbase.

UnitedMasters may sound ambitious on paper, but the execution could give artists more freedom. UnitedMasters raised $70 million in funding from Google‘s parent company Alphabet and 20th Century Fox, among others. The service officially launched today and allows artists to connect their SoundCloud and YouTube accounts for career growth guidance.

“It’s very important that an artist’s jobs is to be a great artist,” Stoute told TechCrunch. “The infrastructure around them should be helping them get more money at efficient rates, not owning their masters and taking from them.” If UnitedMasters takes off, the service could very well change how artists release their music in the future.

Watch the UnitedMasters launch video below: