The NBA is getting a new soundtrack, provided by distributor UnitedMasters in a new global partnership.
Under the deal, which was announced earlier this month, the league will license music exclusively from UnitedMasters-distributed artists who opt-in to terms — to have their music featured across the NBA’s suite of digital properties. That includes NBA.com, NBA TV and NBA App, as well as a social media community of 1.5 billion followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and Snapchat.
The licenses will be granted on gratis terms in exchange for promotion with the NBA tagging or mentioning the artists and songs in select highlight videos along with a link back to the song directly.
The partnership is the first of its kind between an independent distributor and a major sports league. UnitedMasters says it is representative of the ecosystem the company is building for its artists, driving for smarter opportunities with and companies to enhance their careers.
“We’re offering the artists unparalleled access to a worldwide audience and the unique ability to amplify their music at scale,” says UnitedMasters CEO and co-founder Steve Stoute. “We believe and I’ve always believed that there’s a natural synergy between basketball and music — I’ve seen it throughout my whole career. Look at this as the soundtrack to these highlights. So you can go from watching the game, to soundtracking its highlights.
He continues, “We’re basically removing the barrier of getting your music heard, so it’s another opportunity for these artists…. It’s only independent artists and we’re given them the unique opportunity to get their music heard. And this is a global opportunity.”
Stoute says the ultimate goal with this partnership is that UnitedMasters artists may build deeper relationships with the league and its teams, envisioning that these songs could wind up getting played in the arenas and artists could perform during half-time shows.
“This is basically the first step into a much bigger opportunity,” he adds. “But the first step is giving these artists the promotional vehicle to be heard and to get as much exposure and amplification as possible.”
The deal also allows the NBA to more easily license new independent music and better position itself as a tastemaker in the music space, where it already has been driving culture for decades.
“The breakthrough in this structure is that it’s a unique example of a brand or league providing a global distribution platform for artists — something UnitedMasters and the NBA are singularly positioned to do,” says Jeff Marsilio, NBA senior vice president, new media distribution, in a statement. “The artists will have the opportunity to have their music heard on a global digital stage, while our fans will now have a new way to discover music while they enjoy NBA highlights on our social and digital media. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”