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TikTok Enters First-Of-Its-Kind Distribution Partnership With UnitedMasters

Amid the threat of a U.S. ban, TikTok is still making deals. On Monday (Aug. 17), the video sharing app announced a new partnership with distribution company UnitedMasters to help independent artists capitalize on the TikTok’s ability to catapult songs to viral fame.

Through the partnership, artists can distribute their music directly to the short-form video app, and to other streaming services from there. The deal makes UnitedMasters the first distributor to be integrated into TikTok. The idea is to “make it even easier for artists and creators on TikTok to translate trending activity into career success,” TikTok’s announcement reads, noting that music by UnitedMasters artists like NLE Choppa, BMW Kenny and Tobe Nwigwe has already flourished on the platform.

“TikTok artists who are creating music in their bedrooms today will be featured in the Billboard charts tomorrow,” TikTok global head of music Ole Obermann said. “Our mission is to help those artists achieve their creative potential and success. This partnership with UnitedMasters gives us a turn-key solution to help artists who are born on TikTok to reach their fans on every music service.”

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All UnitedMasters artists who are also signed up as TikTok creators will now be able to add their music to TikTok’s Commercial Music Library, which offers businesses royalty-free sounds to use in their content. TikTok will also partner with UnitedMasters to promote “key artists” on the platform.

UnitedMasters was founded in 2017 by former record executive Steve Stoute as an artist-first alternative to the major-label system in which all artists own their master recordings. The company has since amassed a roster of more than 400,000 artists and distributed more than half a million tracks, accumulating more than 5 billion cumulative streams.

“If you are a musical artist, TikTok is the best place for your music to go viral and UnitedMasters is the best place to sustain it while retaining full ownership of your work,” Stoute said. “By combining the two, we create the platform for tomorrow’s stars who will be famous, fiercely independent and wealthy.”

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The news is the latest in a flurry of announcements from the Chinese-owned TikTok, which is facing a potential ban in the U.S. over national security concerns. Despite the threat, TikTok also recently announced a $1 billion Creator Fund to help creators on the platform turn their followings into careers, and earlier this month, The Weeknd performed an augmented-reality concert inside the platform.

“Creators are the beating heart of the TikTok community, often inspired by the artists who bring their music to the platform, and providing a haven for them to thrive is key to our mission,” said TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer, who joined the company in May. “The new partnership with United Masters makes it even easier for musicians and creators to reach new fans and earn a living doing what they love, directly from the platform.”