UnitedMasters is worth $550m. Should it IPO?

Welcome to the latest episode of Talking Trends, the weekly podcast from Music Business Worldwide supported by Voly Music – where we go deep behind the headlines of two major news stories affecting the entertainment industry.

This week, host Louise Porter and MBW founder Tim Ingham discuss the music industry’s “quiet giant” – the DIY distribution and tools sector.

One leading player, UnitedMasters, recently secured a valuation of $550 million, via a new $50 million fundraise. That news came shortly after another key DIY company, DistroKid, secured a $1.3 billion valuation.

According to Midia Research, self-releasing artists using these and other platforms generated $1.2 billion in royalties last year – making up over 5% of the total global recorded music industry.

On the Talking Trends podcast, Ingham suggests that UnitedMasters founder, Steve Stoute, could now be considering a potential sale of some or all of the company – or an IPO on the stock market.

Says Ingham: “The [IPO] narrative for UnitedMasters is an easy and obvious one: we are a major player in this DIY space [which is] statistically growing faster as a sector than the major record companies.

“The other part of it is that the DIY industry is actually an active threat to Warner and Universal. So if you wanted to sell the sort of ‘alternative investment’ argument – ‘bring your money over here, rather than putting it into Universal or Warner’ – that would be a good line.”

You can listen to the MBW Podcast above, or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart etc. via this link.

Porter and Ingham also discuss Universal Music Group‘s latest quarterly results, as Ingham analyzes a Q3 earnings call presentation given by Sir Lucian Grainge, UMG’s Chairman and CEO.

Ingham suggests that, by committing to long-term investment in artists while also projecting bulky profits for its investors, Universal is navigating “the age-old business dilemma of what to save and what to spend”.

MBW’s podcasts are supported by Voly Music. Voly’s platform enables music industry professionals from all sectors to manage a tour’s budgets, forecasts, track expenses, approve invoices and make payments 24/7, 365 days a year. For more information and to sign up to a free trial of the platform, visit VolyMusic.com

Companies mentioned in this week’s episode of Talking Trends include: Andreessen Horowitz, Billboard, Blackstone, CD Baby, DistroKid, SoundCloud, Sony Music Group, Spotify, TuneCore, UnitedMasters, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group.

People mentioned in this week’s episode of Talking Trends include: Bruce Springsteen, Sir Lucian Grainge, Steve Stoute,