TikTok Wants To Make You Famous Via UnitedMasters Music Deal

TikTok APp Logo AM AH 2

TikTok wants to expand its influence and help users make money through a new deal with music-industry-shunning distributor UnitedMasters. In fact, according to a recent report from The New York Times, the deal is set to be signed today. If the deal moves forward without a hitch, the “global partnership” could propel TikTok into a new industry. Summarily, it could help TikTok users push their musical creations well beyond the bounds of TikTok as it currently stands.

What exactly is UnitedMasters and how can this deal potentially help TikTok?

The UnitedMasters that TikTok is reportedly making a deal with is effectively a music distributor. It was founded in 2017 by former record label exec Steve Stoute and had big-name funders from Alphabet to Andreessen Horowitz. Its goal, from its very first launch, is to help musicians and artists cut out the middle man. Namely, it addresses the industry machine from eliminating the need for record labels to confronting the rights artists typically have to give up when they sign a contract.

Individuals who sign with UnitedMasters not only get to keep 90-percent of their royalties. They also own the master recordings, which have historically not been well-managed by industry giants. Those are, for clarity, the recordings other releases are typically taken from.


For instance, a fire at Universal Studios in 2008 resulted in the loss of between 120,000 to 175,000 master recordings. Record labels also routinely reuse masters that artists don’t have rights to, in a bid to make money from the music and bypass the artist themselves.

In this deal with TikTok, UnitedMasters would effectively act as a distributor to TikTok users who want to take advantage of it. In effect, UnitedMasters would do what it does best. That’s redistributing music directly from the application to the likes of Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube, and others. It would also potentially work to arrange music deals between artists and brands like ESPN, among others.

TikTok could really use this partnership

Now, financial details and other terms of the transaction have not been reported. And TikTok itself doesn’t appear ready to talk too much about how the deal would work in terms of practical application. Or in terms of how users would access the potentially-groundbreaking distribution benefits. But this deal could also not come at a better time for TikTok.


The short-form video platform is under a massive amount of scrutiny over its practices and potential ties to the Chinese Communist Party. It may ultimately be forced to shut down in the US if a deal can’t be brokered to sell off its US assets.

Breaking into the bleeding-edge of the music industry could not only lend the company some credibility. It may also provide a secondary source of income. At least in the event that TikTok is banned in the US entirely, losing a significant portion of its market.