Mass Appeal, the multipronged urban culture company that is home to Nas‘ record label, has entered into a global distribution agreement with Universal Music Group. Under the multi-year deal, Mass Appeal’s recorded music and video content will be exclusively distributed by UMG in both physical and digital formats.
The partnership’s first major project is Nas’ highly-anticipated 11th solo album, which will be released in collaboration with Def Jam Recordings. The Kanye West-produced album (see tracklist here) arrives this week, though its title has yet to be announced. UMG will also distribute Mass Appeal’s back catalog, which includes releases by Run the Jewels, J Dilla, DJ Shadow, Pimp C and Dave East.
A UMG-distributed Mass Appeal gives the company access to the label group’s expansive marketing and promotion teams across 60-plus territories.
“I’ve been blessed to work with two of the best brands in music,” Nas said. “Columbia Records was how I got my start and Def Jam was where I continued that journey. In my next chapter, I am proud to say that I am signing myself to myself. I look forward to releasing many projects in the very near future with Mass Appeal’s new global partnership with UMG.”
Founded as a graffiti/hip-hop print magazine in 1996, Mass Appeal has reinvented itself in recent years, particularly after CEO Peter Bittenbender partnered with Nas to launch Mass Appeal Records in 2014. In March 2017, Mass Appeal announced it had raised $6 million in Series A funding led by UMG.
“In the 15 months since joining forces with UMG, we have seen the Mass Appeal brand expand rapidly, experiencing our most successful year to date,” said Bittenbender, Mass Appeal’s CEO. “Much like fans across the world we are hyped that Nas is finally dropping his new album and couldn’t be more proud that it’s our first release through this new partnership.”
UMG executive vp Michele Anthony, who joined Mass Appeal’s board of directors last year, added, “Mass Appeal is a thriving multimedia platform that speaks to an audience that is increasingly influencing culture. I couldn’t be more thrilled to expand our relationship. UMG will now provide Mass Appeal’s label with our expertise and resources to maximize the global opportunities for their exceptional roster of artists.”