Just announcing its promotional partnership with the NBA, marketing innovator and music executive Steve Stoute’s UnitedMasters looks to be taking its next big step towards becoming the next iteration of record labels in modern America. Established in November of 2017, UnitedMasters is billed as an industry alternative for independent artists, providing distribution services and partnerships between some of the biggest brands the world has to offer. The artists would maintain ownership of their material while UnitedMasters would receive 10% of the revenue from royalties and distribution.
“When I look at the highlights, the NBA footage, I look at what people comment on, what people are paying attention to … they’re looking at the players coming through that hallway with their clothes on; what they’re listening to, what they’re wearing,” Stoute told The Root. “That’s what I used to do when MTV was rolling; you’d watch to see what was the right clothes, obviously what was the right music and you would talk about it. And that’s exactly what people do with the NBA today. It’s the same characteristics and why wouldn’t we put music behind that? Why wouldn’t we want to take these artists and make them the soundtrack to those visuals?”
In the coming months this collaboration between these two entities will have a select group of Stoute’s artists featured within the NBA’s digital devices such as their social media accounts, NBA.com and the NBA app while tagging the artist’s digital profile and providing a link back. The artists will also be receiving analytics and marketing resources from Stoute’s agency Translation to determine which tracks are the best fit for the NBA.
Over the years the NBA has seemed open-minded with regard to their outlook on publishing and new media and this partnership more or less formalizes that. There has always been a connection between sports and music that the NBA believed would have been foolish to ignore.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Steve Stoute and saw a unique opportunity with UnitedMasters to enhance the experience for NBA fans on our social and digital media, while providing a global digital stage for up-and-coming artists.” said Senior Vice President of New Media for the NBA Jeff Marsillo in a statement from the league. “This partnership will create a direct line between new artists and the NBA.”
“The NBA has always been interested in partnering with artists,” Stoute said to Rolling Stone. “And artists today are going to brand partnerships because that is where the money is. If you’re not going to make money from music, you can get an audience and utilize other ways. We want artists to be able to get money. Our goal is to manage young artists who want to control their destiny.”
The NBA has a social community of 1.5 billion fans, so if there were ever a market to initiate what Stout calls “operational independence” it would be this one.