Mass Appeal, the urban culture-focused media and entertainment company, and Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the companies have entered into a multi-year global agreement.
The deal encompasses the exclusive distribution of physical and digital formats for recorded music and short-form video content and provides Mass Appeal with the ability to strategically leverage UMG’s marketing and promotion teams across more than 60 territories for select artists and projects.
UMG will also distribute Mass Appeal’s extensive catalog of releases from artists who include DJ Shadow, J Dilla and Run the Jewels, as well as all forward-looking projects including the highly-anticipated 11th solo record from Nas. Mass Appeal will spearhead Nas’ new album release in collaboration with Def Jam Recordings.
In announcing the partnership, Nas said, “I’ve been blessed to work with two of the best brands in music. 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.”
Following a year where UMG successfully led Mass Appeal’s $6 million Series A funding round, the distribution agreement with UMG will grant the company and its eponymous label the resources to expand its global reach and offerings.
Peter Bittenbender, CEO of Mass Appeal, said, “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. 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.”
Michele Anthony, Executive Vice President at UMG, said, “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.”
Mass Appeal has solidified itself as the go-to platform for entertainment and music storytelling, through its model that spans film, TV, digital media, music and commercial content. Most recently, Mass Appeal developed and produced Rapture on Netflix, an eight–part series that takes an ambitious, raw and compelling look at hip-hop and its influence on culture in 2018. Each episode explores the persona of a different modern-day rap star, including Nas, Dave East, T.I., Rapsody, Logic, G-Eazy, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, 2 Chainz and Just Blaze. On the branded content front, Mass Appeal created SoundCloud’s first advertising campaign, which put a spotlight on emerging artists who started their career journeys on SoundCloud. As the go-to agency for multi-cultural content, Mass Appeal helped launch Google’s first-ever hip hop Doodle, an interactive turntable to celebrate pivotal moments in hip-hop music and culture.