Ever since it came out of stealth mode with $70m of funding from Alphabet, 21st Century Fox and VC firm Andreessen Horowitz in November 2017, UnitedMasters has been a topic of considerable debate. How would it use that cash to do more than simply be a new digital-music distributor with fancy analytics? Well, the company has been offering said analytics to artists for several months, and now it’s adding… distribution.
Billboard reports that UnitedMasters’ distribution service went live on Friday, initially offering artists a pathway to Spotify and Apple Music with Pandora, YouTube, Amazon Music and more promised as coming soon. The new ‘Releases’ feature will see UnitedMasters take a 5% commission on artists’ digital royalties, and will tie in to the rest of its platform, offering tips on timing and other aspects of release strategy.
In January this year, the company’s SVP of strategy and business development Donagh O’Malley gave our NY:LON Connect conference the company’s analytics pitch. “Artists need tools that help them understand who their fans are, where they are, what they’re interested in, and what the best way to communicate with them is,” he said. Distribution is a logical (and necessary) addition to bolster UnitedMasters’ pitch, but the key will be proving just how smart those insights and advice can be.