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Apple Leads Investment in Independent Artist Startup

Apple Shows Support for Creators

Apple (AAPL) led a $50 million investment in UnitedMasters, the independent artist services startup. The company, which launched in 2017, helps artists distribute and market their songs without having to give up copyrights. This model is a departure from industry norms: music labels usually require artists to hand over their rights to songs in exchange for distribution and marketing services.

Apple runs the world’s second-largest music streaming service. By investing in UnitedMasters, the company is showcasing its commitment to fostering a creator-friendly industry. Apple’s decisions may attract more independent artists to its platform and could change some conventions across the industry.

UnitedMasters Provides an Alternative to Record Labels

UnitedMasters gives artists an option besides working with a major music label. The service charges artists either a $5 per month subscription fee or a 10% cut of their profits. Either way the artist keeps the copyrights to their music.

The startup has already released songs for over 1 million artists including TikTok superstar Curtis Roach whose hit, “Bored in the House” went viral early in the pandemic. As part of the investment, Apple inked a partnership with UnitedMasters through which it will provide a variety of new opportunities for UnitedMasters artists.

Independent Artists Gain Popularity and Influence

Creators are a vital part of Apple’s music streaming business. “We’ve always been about trying to help artists, and the best way to empower them is to make it easy for them to create and get their music out there,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s Head of Services, said about the investment.

The number of artists distributing music without a label grew by 34.1% in 2020, hitting the billion-dollar mark in sales for the first time. Independent artists are commanding a growing share of listeners’ attention, and large streaming services are taking note of this change.

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