NBA Partners With Record Label UnitedMasters for Digital Music Rights

Startup record label UnitedMasters has partnered with the NBA to give the league permission to use music from UnitedMasters artists across the NBA’s digital properties and social media platforms. The deal was officially announced on Thursday.

Former president of Interscope Records Steve Stoute founded UnitedMasters in November 2017. He created the company as a music industry alternative meant to empower independent artists. UnitedMasters makes money via royalties and distribution while allowing artists to maintain full ownership of their material.

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“We’re excited to partner with UnitedMasters to give up-and-coming artists a massive digital stage to share their music,” said Jeff Marsilio, NBA Senior Vice President, New Media Distribution, in a press release . “With this partnership, fans will now have a new way to discover music while they enjoy NBA highlights across our social and digital media.”

Selected music from UnitedMasters’ collection of recordings will be posted across the NBA’s digital and social community of a combined 1.5 billion followers. This audience stretches across platforms such as and the NBA mobile app, as well as league and team social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, social music platform TikTok, Twitch, and Snapchat.

When posting a video highlight that uses a specific artist’s music to social media, the NBA will tag the artist’s digital profile, mention the name of the song, and provide a link back. UnitedMasters will also analyze data from an artist’s profile and fans’ listening history to determine which tracks are best to pair with the NBA’s content.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the NBA to empower independent artists and provide them the opportunity to reach a global audience, amplifying their music at scale,” Stoute said in the press release. “This unprecedented partnership speaks to the ecosystem we are building to directly connect brands and UnitedMasters artists so that their music can be heard around the world. We are proud to provide a platform that has the potential to significantly further their careers.”

SportTechie Takeaway

The NBA has traditionally been very liberal with its approach to social media and publishing rights usage, especially in contrast to the NFL. By collaborating with UnitedMasters to ensure independent artists maintain ownership of their creative work, this deal further aligns the NBA’s position of promoting the individuality of its athletes, entertainers, and fans.