Artist Independence (with Steve Stoute)

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Today’s Trapital episode is with Steve Stoute. It’s his third time on the podcast and this is the best one we’ve done. We talked about how UnitedMasters and Translation work alongside each other, Brent Faiyaz’ new deal with UM, record labels, streaming, and more. Here are a few highlights from our chat.

competitive advantages in music

UnitedMasters’ edge in music distribution is the value-add opportunities it offers artists. It’s not just about getting their music onto streaming services and playlists. It’s the sync placements in NBA 2K, brand partnerships with various companies, and more. This aligns with Steve Stoute’s marketing background and his ad agency, Translation.

Music distribution is crowded. And since the sole act of putting on song onto a digital streaming provider is commoditized, each service needs its lane.

Steve didn’t quite call UnitedMasters’ edge a “moat,” but our discussion got me thinking:

does any company in the music industry have a real economic moat?

There’s a case to make for both Apple and YouTube. Their music streaming platforms sit under large corporations, which offer cost advantages. Music (and content more broadly) help them acquire customers for their core products.

Their music streaming businesses still have P+Ls to manage, but the stakes aren’t the same as a standalone streamer. It’s one of the reasons why streaming services under large corporations have been quicker to raise monthly prices. They are relatively less sensitive about how the additional revenue gets split.

But despite their advantages, Spotify is the dominant player in the space, with over 500 million monthly active users. It’s where most industry leaders check to monitor the performance of a song. The service is synonymous with our current generation of music.

Ticketmaster does have a moat in ticketing, but venues, even the larger ones, still have a choice in which company to partner with. The Washington Commanders’ FedEx Field recently signed with SeatGeek as its ticketing partner. There’s more competition in ticketing (and live entertainment overall) than the general public may believe.

Record labels’ market share is shrinking with the rise of independent artists. We’ve yet to see an independent artist become a megastar, headlining-the-Super-Bowl level artist, but deals like R&B artist Brent Faiyaz’s new UnitedMasters deal are a step in that direction.

You can listen to my full episode with Steve or read below for more highlights.

competing for deals

Last week, R&B artist Brent Faiyaz teamed up with UnitedMasters to continue his independent journey. I heard from a source that the deal is likely in the $30 – $35 million range. That same source said that Faiyaz was offered a contract from Interscope that included masters reversion, but he turned that down.

Masters reversion has been more common for the “de-risked” stars that labels want to continue working with. Drake, Taylor Swift, and Olivia Rodrigo signed similar deals with the majors. It helps record labels participate on the upside, maintain market share, and give artists back ownership of their assets at a certain point. But the revenue that labels collect during the initial period is still quite valuable.

Brent currently has over 20 million Spotify monthly listeners, which puts him at ~260th overall. That’s higher than most independent artists and higher than a lot of signed artists. It’s been nearly ten years since Brent released his debut Black Child EP, and he is today. He has that OutKast Edge in him.

But since UnitedMasters won’t own Brent’s assets, the economics must work on both sides. Let’s run some rough numbers.

Spotify’s 2023 Loud and Clear report says that 470 artists’ catalogs generate at least $2 million annually on the platform, and 130 artists’ catalogs generate over $5 million. Since Brent is the 260th most listened to on the service, let’s assume he’s at $2.5 million annually. Since Spotify accounts for roughly 25% of all recorded music and publishing revenue, that would mean his music will generate $10 million this year.

Brent Faiyaz is at UM’s Partner level, a white-glove service for top talent. Let’s also assume he has an 80 – 20 royalty split with UnitedMasters (80% to Brent, 20% to UnitedMasters). UM would get $2 million annually from his music revenue alone, plus any revenue from future brand deals or other opportunities.

If Brent’s career continues to grow at the same rate it has the past 3-5 years, then he can recoup his advance soon. There’s risk in any deal, but Faiyaz’ sustained and consistent growth is a great sign. He’s more reliable than the flash-in-the-pan, viral TikTok stars who dominate the discussion around new artist discovery.

what’s hype, and what’s real?

Let’s be honest. As fascinating as new technology is, following the latest trend can be exhausting. From blockchain to the creator economy to web3 to AI, separating the real from the fake can be a full-time job.

It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, play to the results, and laugh at the billions lost on trends that didn’t pan out, but these guesses are more complicated in the moment.

FOMO is one hell of an economic driver.

Steve and I talked a lot about this at length. The challenge today is that companies make the mistake of building technology in search of a solution. Technology is most successful if it has use cases beyond its enthusiast echo chambers.

If you enjoyed these highlights, you’ll enjoy the rest of the episode with Steve. We also talked about:

–  how NIL deals are like the independent music business

–  building both Translation and UnitedMasters at once

–  brand dollars shifting from institutions to creators

Listen here:

1:40 The ups and downs of entrepreneurship 

6:11 Building two companies at once

11:22 Positioning UnitedMasters in the music distribution space 

14:15 Does anyone in music have a moat?

17:25 Why Brent Faiyaz chose to sign with UnitedMasters

26:00 Should the DSPs  raise prices?

32:00 Artists and creators becoming mini-media channels 

41:03 How NIL (name, image, likeness) is like the independent music business

47:35 Is Steve going to strike more NIL deals?

51:10 Why every artists needs a Chief Technology Officer

55:00 Separating real from hype: blockchain, to web3, to AI


[00:00:00] Steve Stoute: They used to have a moat, but no longer do they have a moat. And I don’t think anybody independent music has a moat. I think Distro kid has a lane and TuneCore has a lane, and United masses have a lane. And, you know, others have, certain strengths about them. but, I think the only moat you have is the moat that is a true result of the success that you have. If people choose you and you build a strong business, and you’re growing, that’s the quote unquote moat. 

[00:00:27] Dan Runcie Intro: Hey, welcome to the Trapital Podcast. I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from executives in music, media, entertainment, and more who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. 

[00:00:55] Dan Runcie: All right. We’re back with the Trapital podcast. Yeah. We got the one and only Steve Stoute here. I think this is your third time on the pod. 

[00:01:02] Steve Stoute: Really? I thought. I guess I thought it was twice. Thought This was my second time. 

[00:01:05] Dan Runcie: We did one time. We was at Empire Studio there. Yeah. We did it virtual during the pandemic, and then we got this one.

[00:01:13] Steve Stoute: Oh, well, I’m fan of it. very early. You were? Yeah, I was on it very, very early. I think you’re a good job. 

[00:01:19] Dan Runcie: Appreciate that. 

[00:01:20] Steve Stoute: Thanks for having me back. 

[00:01:21] Dan Runcie: Thank you. Yeah. These conversations are always good. And I wanna start this one and a place we haven’t started others. I feel like we normally dive into the business, but take it a step back.

You’ve been building businesses as an entrepreneur for decades now. How do you stay even keeled? How do you stay consistent with it, just knowing the ups and downs that naturally happen with building businesses? 

[00:01:43] Steve Stoute: Well, the fact that I appear to be even keeled is a compliment because, I certainly am emotionally attached to the businesses I build.

I know there’s, you know, the saying, don’t be emotional about business, but when I’m building something from an original idea that I have, it’s, you birthed the idea. I’m emotionally attached to the success of it, and the organization around it and the perception of it. So, you’ve been through those tumultuous cycles, so you tend to not chase the highs or chase the lows.

and that sounds good. but it is definitely harder to do that when you’re emotionally attached than, you know, understanding the theory that you should do that. And I think experience helps a bit, takes the edge off. But yeah, I would say to you, you just, like, for me, I’ve been able to sustain the energy and

sustain through the ups and downs, through, sort of expecting them and not, chasing the highs like that’s where the big mistake is when something great happens or a series of great things happen, you know, respecting it, but not chasing it because I believe that that’s still not, gonna prevent the tumultuous time from coming. Because 

[00:02:58] Dan Runcie: I think the tough part with that, and this is something I know I struggle with too, it’s tying your own satisfaction, your own esteem at particular points with those highs when things are going well. Yeah. And it’s great to say those things, but I know even myself, it’s tough to be able to stay even keeled when things are going well. The phone starts ringing more, you start getting more opportunities, more looks for things. Yeah, yeah, 

[00:03:21] Steve Stoute: Yeah. And it becomes more hectic. And then you have to hire more people. And then that creates another set of problems and responsibilities. And look, building a business isn’t easy. I said it, the shop, know that the biggest mistake that I see is the glorification of entrepreneurs like, almond entrepreneurs. So therefore, like, you know, the sacrifice that it requires, to be able to know that failure is imminent or success is imminent that you may have an idea and you can go years without realizing the opportunity and it may go to somebody else. people ask me, how do I do it? And, you know, I’m here in San Francisco, I was, You know, in LA the day before that I was in Miami, the day before that, the day before that I was in LA again, it’s like, it just keeps going. And like, you know, not seeing your family an d sacrificing some of the comforts of home or the comforts that you have of a routine, it’s also part of the sacrifice. So it’s not easy, and you have to really be committed to it. It almost has to be your A plan, your B plan. Your C plan is that plan, like you won’t find joy or fulfillment. in doing anything else. At least that’s how I feel. 

[00:04:41] Dan Runcie: Yeah. I think a lot of it’s accepting those trade-offs and knowing that you can’t do it all. I think I’ve heard you talk about this on the shop as well, whether it’s so-and-so as the birthday party, so-and-so as the this, and yeah, it’s great if you can line up and do those things, but you’ve chosen this life to be able to be in LA, be in Miami, be in New York, and back to back days and Yeah, doing that requires this type of commitment to it and you can’t do everything. 

[00:05:05] Steve Stoute: Yeah. and hiring great people, is part of it. but putting your own personal comfort is certainly not a priority. 

[00:05:13] Dan Runcie: Yeah, definitely. Interesting you brought up the hiring piece because I think you’ve definitely built up a reputation as someone that’s always operating on 10. So you naturally wanna surround yourself with people that are at that level. What are some of the things that you look for to see, okay, does this person have the edge? Cuz you know you’re gonna be running all the time. Can they run with you? 

[00:05:37] Steve Stoute: it’s very hard to, you know, resumes or LinkedIn pages, whatever you use can tell you a lot, but they don’t measure resourcefulness or effort, right? So those things do not appear in any aspect of looking at, a person’s profile. So I’ve learned through failure, you know, I may have not, I may have, I have high, I have hired and fired. you know, 3000 plus people, you know, so you learn what are the qualities or what are the questions to ask, to try to help, mitigate that the kind of person you need for your company. It doesn’t mean that person’s bad. You could have made a bad hire, not because the person’s not good, they just don’t fit your team. I mean, you see it in the NBA all the time. Players on somebody that was on the Lakers or somewhere else goes to another team and then all of a sudden they do well cuz it’s the system, it’s the culture, it’s the coach. And that’s the same thing with employment. Like, you just may be good just not for this company. So understanding what you specifically need versus, oh, this person worked at, so tech high, or they worked at Google, they worked at Airbnb, we want that right? Pulling them into a startup or pulling them into that culture or pulling them into that product not made completely, is completely different, specifically in our case, than what they were doing over there. And not every single job transfers one to one, whether it’s the music business, the tech industry, the marketing business. We hire people at translation all the time. They came from Ogilvy. It’s like, well, that has nothing to do with us, right? Or they come from Goodbee and you’re like, well, that ain’t gonna work here, right? Why? Just because the way we are, set up, what they may be used to, the programming that they run versus what we run, they, you know, may not be a great culture fit. And so, knowing that helps mitigate that risk. So knowing who you are, knowing what kind of people respond well to your culture is an important aspect. Not only just the mission statement stuff. Yeah, great, But like really innately knowing it and feeling what works.

What are the common attributes of the people that are successful at your company that are more nuanced based and knowing how to identify that in others and what other companies share those values so that people that come from those companies tend to do well at your company.

[00:08:06] Dan Runcie: You mentioned how this is a tension point in music in this industry. I think we’ve seen it from time and time, whether it’s the record label side and folks on the creative versus streaming and tech coming in and some of the pushback there. I think you’ve been able to have a good vantage point with both of these because you have a ad agency and you also have a music distribution service.

The talents, the skills needed for one, may not make sense for the other, but they also have a bit of a unique identity there. How is it with that perspective?

[00:08:39] Steve Stoute: Difficult, hard. at the onset of starting United Masses, I put translation in united masses under. United Masters, Inc. And understanding that in order to do that, to build a marketplace that has creative or brands on one side and creative and culture and cultural impact and creators on the other side, and building that marketplace takes hiring unique people because we sit at the convergence of culture, technology, and, storytelling. Mm-hmm. So you need people who are prolific at least two of those three things, every single person. And that’s the only way you have a shot of getting that convergence to work as one and hiring for that and building organization structures around that probably is the most important thing. That I do every day is understanding where could we be more efficient in that model? What kind of people do we need in order to accelerate that model? How do we scale that model as a result of the talent we have and the talent we need? That is very difficult, and it is probably, it’s definitely a top five priority, from the CEO. 

[00:09:58] Dan Runcie: And I assume as well, part of this is required with the nature of how you’ve positioned United Masters, right?

If you don’t have these differentiating factors, if you don’t have this tie in to culture or trying to present sync opportunities or things like that, then it could easily be seen as another music distribution service. And that’s not what Well,

[00:10:18] Steve Stoute: Dan, you’ve been following the company very closely before you could be, just another distribution company before that became popular, I had this idea with that differentiating factor seven years ago, right?

So I knew from the onset that distribution was table stakes. and the building of United Masters with translation and power powering the brand sync opportunities, the influence and type of opportunities, was something that I had the early vision on. So yeah, it’s important, but it’s not important in response to, oh, all of these, you know, distributors in the market now, so you need to X, Y, Z. I was doing the X, Y, Z before they even had the idea to be in music distribution, to be honest with you. And a lot of these music distribution companies that you see are coming out, are looking at United masses and honestly copying it. Some of it they can’t copy. That’s fine. some of it they can’t copy. It’s 20 years of experience in, you know, running record companies and building an advertising business to be able to do this. So you think you can replicate the outcome without replicating the process, which I’ve never seen actually happen, the theory is right? But to replicate it, to hire the people, to have the credibility in the marketplace to speak to brands and hire the type of people needed to pull us off. Good luck, I do believe, and I am supportive just to add to all of that, great distribution companies that support independent music, that have something to contribute to the independent music movement are welcome and everybody, you know, rises as a result of it. So I’m not necessarily, I don’t look at. at these other, distributors as competitors, I look at us as contributing to an industry that’s, changing the music business dramatically and if you have something to bring to the table, it’s beneficial to all. 

[00:12:18] Dan Runcie: That makes sense. And I think for United Masters as well, you’ve been able to have your moat essentially as you’ve described it. You have the years of experience, you have the ability to connect dots in ways that others don’t, and that’s led you to land some of the artists you have.

You have a recent deal that’s been announced with Brent Faz and a long-term partnership there. Can you talk a bit about that deal and how things came together? 

[00:12:44] Steve Stoute: Well, a moat is a bit of a stretch. I don’t know if we have a moat. We have a great business model that certain artists, labels can find use of.

[00:12:58] Dan Runcie: Do you think anyone has a moat in this space?

[00:13:01] Steve Stoute: No. No. The record companies, the traditional record companies had a moat, when physical distribution was a barrier of entry, right? It’s very hard to press up 500,000 CDs or vinyls or whatever it is. and distribute it to 7,000 points of distribution. That’s not easy to do for a small, a single individual or a very small business. So that was their mode. They also had a monopoly on radio and, MTV, you know, MTV doesn’t matter at all and, for music per se. And, radio matters much less than it used to. for discovery, right? So they used to have a moat but no longer do they have a moat And I don’t think anybody independent music has a moat. I think Distro kid has a lane and TuneCore has a lane, and United masses have a lane. And, you know, others have, certain strengths about them. but, I think the only moat you have is the moat that is a true result of the success that you have. If people choose you and you build a strong business, and you’re growing, that’s the quote unquote moat. but other than that, I don’t think anyone has, a clear defining advantage that no one else can replicate, right? And just because we have the brand stuff doesn’t mean that that’s the, you know, I wanna believe that’s very important to the artists. But somebody else may have another thing that is if marketed well and that’s what they think their advantages. I don’t have the ultimate advantage cuz you know, brands and brand partnerships in sync may not necessarily be what you find most valuable. It could be a distribution company that creates and manufacturer’s merch and you’re like, oh shit, that’s the one I want. Mm-hmm. Right. So I don’t, wanna say that specifically. We have that. 

[00:14:58] Dan Runcie: That’s fair. I do think that that mentality is part of the differentiating that I think is lost in music overall to some extent, because I think that you have few record labels that truly have unique brands. I think you have few music streaming services that have unique brands, and when you have something, it’s clearer to be able to say, who is this for? Who is this not for, right? And clearly, I assume you were able to do some of that with Brent Faz and that partnership. He saw something with how you all do business and said, okay, this is for me.

[00:15:33] Steve Stoute: Yeah, Well, Brent is a very, very unique talent. I obviously he wants to be with something that. A company, distributor, or partner that represents values that are there to him. So creativity is extremely important to him. The fact that we do have translation really matters in that instance cuz brand partnerships is something that he holds near and dear to him. He also was very respectful of, my, you know, reputation and what I’ve accomplished and chose that over others who, you know, was offering more money but didn’t have the, same values that he had or shared values he didn’t share their values. He was very particular about that everyone who knows him knows that, he’s high taste. So he wanted to be with, you know, a brand, a distributor, a partner that was, had a sense of premiumness to it. That was important to him. So I think the combination of those three things and, you know, just our chemistry, his manager Ty, is also a fantastic, really intelligent, guy who I’ve developed a great relationship and a lot of respect for, also played a very significant role in this partnership. And we’re gonna do great things together. I knew this day would come, I knew where so much respect for guys, like maybe maybe for Toby, right? Toby Nii, who, I keep screwing up his name and he keeps making fun of me screwing up. His name is actually part of his name now. When I say it. But, I have so much respect for him and fat because we’ve done so well together and, they’ve committed to us and we’ve committed to them. And it was a proof point that an independent artist can be successful, can be, you know, a global brand. And I directly tie the work that we’ve done with Toby and, and others. And others. He just comes to mind. I spent a lot of time with him for why Brent chose us. Brent chose us. and now you got Brent who sold out his tour in three days around the world and shit. That kind of star deciding to stay independent, not go with a major label. And they offered him everything, all the money in the world. And I knew that trend is gonna happen. That’s gonna happen, man. You’re gonna start seeing this happen all the time, like, you know, the one moat, again, back to the legacy labels that they have, is that because they own your masters, when your contract is up, what they do, their, their thing is start to give you back the shit they took from you, right? So now you leave, you finish your 8, 5, 7 album commitment, whatever it is, right? And it’s no longer can they give you any more money to stay. So they go, we’ll give you back album one. And you’re like, I’ll stay on Sony because now Album one reverts I’ll stay on Universal cause album one reverts. So they stay stuck in the system because all they do is now give you back what you shouldn’t have never given actually, or they never should have taken. So they hold you cuz you’re tethered to that, right? And no matter what, an independent distributor can’t give you your first album that you wrote, because you never had in the first place. You never, you know, so you never had it in the first place, however. So that’s the moat that they have with legacy acts that will stay. So it’ll be hard for legacy acts to leave when they can give you back that kind of stuff. But the new artists who are building their careers are considering independent distributors such as myself or others, at the same consideration set as they’re considering a label. If you can give ’em money and you can provide them services, look man, you know, people talk about like, oh, these labels have a service. We picked up our systems. We distributed a song, from a great, great young artist, good man, superstar Pride outta Mississippi has a song called painting Pictures. The song was released in October. The The song moves like this, my building, just, I don’t know, 3000 streams a day or something like that. and then all of a sudden, on February 6th, it goes from 3000 to 9,000 or something like that. Our systems catch it, right? We’re looking for the second derivative.

We’re measuring acceleration. Boom. We find it, Two or three days later, other labels. It goes from 9,000 to 27,000, and then five days later it’s compounded to fucking 400,000 streams, something in a day. It’s crazy. But we already have identified it. all the labels are offering the money, three and a half million, 4 million, this, that, and the third.

He chose to stay with United Masters. Everybody said, well, they can’t get you this. They can’t do that. Songs gonna be number one at radio. It’s not like they have an advantage anymore, you know what I’m saying? It’s like, it’s not even like a problem. It’s Mm-hmm. nothmm. if it was like a heavy lift, the artist made a great song. We gotta work it at radio. There’s a formula to that money is part of that formula, right? And we can do it. it. Somebody can’t do it better than us. Universal can’t do it better than us. They don’t like for artists to think that, right? They would like the perception of that to be true, but it’s not the real marketing is coming out of, you know, the artists themselves and your relationships with Apple and Spotify and other distributors and YouTube, and we have the same relationships they have. So the new artists know that. They don’t see, the only thing the record company can really give them that they believe they can get, that they can’t get an independent is money. And I hope the Brent Fires deal just shows that we have money too. It’s like, 

[00:21:19] Dan Runcie: How big is that money difference? Because I think that’s the one thing that people do. 

[00:21:23] Steve Stoute: It’s getting smaller and smaller as the record companies are losing. They’re letting people go. their margins are getting smaller and smaller. They’re firing a lot of people. don’t know if no one talks about this. this, but they’re not running around writing those big ass checks like they used to anymore. They Hell no. no. No, no, no, no, no, no. 

[00:21:42] Dan Runcie: Because I think people will look at a deal like the one that Drake did last year. Yeah. For instance. And they’re, say the Ruter mal is somewhere 300, 400 

[00:21:51] Steve Stoute: It was more than that. Much more than that. But that’s different. They have Drake’s, remember what I told you, they got Drake’s masters, right? That’s different than an artist starting from Drake releasing the first. song with Trey songs. All right, whatever. When he started his career, like if Drake released a song today that Drake considers an independent music company, at the same rate that he, looks at a major label cuz the major label can’t say anything to him today that will make him believe outside of money that they have an advantage. 

[00:22:27] Dan Runcie: This topic too, reminds me of something similar because we’re talking about the record labels and the streaming service as well, who’s bringing in money, and there’s all this debate right now around pricing for these services. The record labels want those prices higher. The streaming for songs? Oh no, for the monthly subscription that customers pay.

[00:22:47] Steve Stoute: Oh, oh, okay. 

[00:22:47] Dan Runcie: Yeah, yeah. So they want the hire, the streaming services, well, a few of them still want to keep them as low as possible, but we’re seeing things trending in that direction. You owning a music distribution service, relying on that streaming revenue as well, where do you take, what’s your take right now on pricing on the consumer side and Yeah, 

[00:23:09] Steve Stoute: A few things there. Number one, the record companies had the opportunity when they held all of the leverage. To control pricing, to control pricing for the customer, as well as the price per stream. All these things were set up at a time when the record companies, you know, got big advances from Apple, you know, got ownership in Spotify, so they were cool with whatever was going on. As they’re starting to lose market share now they need to go find growth, and the only way to find growth is go to the streaming services and say, charge more money so we can make more money. But the problem is that if the artist got the lion share the money, rather than the label getting the lion share the money, the current pricing model will work really well. The artists, if they were independent and they were receiving 80% of the money that came from streaming, and it went to each individual artist, they’d be fine with it. They’d be making a lot more money than they’re making right now. The independent artists are making a fortune of money. Go ask russ. Go ask Toby. Go ask Brent what he’s done for so many years. Why he stays independent, because they’ve really received the lion share the money. The record companies have bloated overhead, whether it be office space, employees and salaries of their CEOs and shit like that, and whether they’re public or or not. In the case of universal, it’s public. They need to show growth, and they’re losing margin on how much money they’re making per album or release, And the only way to find growth, real growth is the diversify of their business, which they haven’t been so good at. There’s not that many entrepreneurs insider, a record companies. Jimmy Iovine was one. Dr., Jay-Z was another, but there’s not that many. You don’t see that many. I’m not making this up. So you’re talking about CEOs who were fat and happy, now all of a sudden have to innovate and they don’t have a person that can make beats by Drake. They don’t have a person who’s gonna create the next thing.

So now they gotta go to apple and Spotify and squeeze more. The problem is their leverage with Apple and Spotify have sort of, gone in the other direction. They don’t have as much leverage as they had seven years ago, eight years ago, 10 years ago. ago. So that’s the landscape. I the artists should get paid more money. That’s we built our model to do, make sure the artists get paid more money and have great partnerships with, the platforms. And that’s how I see it right now. yeah. So to answer your question on pricing, whether or not Spotify or Apple should charge more, I mean yeah. If they’re gonna continue to grow so that you don’t wanna price it so that people start canceling subscriptions, right? You gotta price it right so that it keeps growing. Cuz the more they grow, the more the pot of money grows. But before I get to even worrying about what they’re charging, I need to worry about the artists are getting the lion share of revenue, and that’s what we, stand for United Masses, and that’s what we’ve been able to accomplish today. 


[00:26:35] Dan Runcie: And at least for the artists that are part of United Masters, they don’t have the rights holder relationships that the signed artists do on the record label. So that side doesn’t necessarily affect them as much. I think you definitely addressed that piece of it. I think the other side of it is looking at streaming prices on all the video services and how Netflix and all these other services have definitely expanded beyond their 9 99 price point.

And then for you all as a business, knowing that a company like Spotify, which does have lower churn than a lot of those other companies as well, if prices were to increase 10%, that’s 10% more revenue, at least for the streaming revenue side of the business. For a company like United Masters given the cut you have 

[00:27:18] Steve Stoute: Again, yes. and at some point you can raise the price to the point where somebody says, you know what? I’d rather not do that. I’d rather have an not that service. I’d rather listen to it free on YouTube, or I’d rather deal with ads. It costs too much. I don’t know what that price is, but there’s absolutely a point of diminishing return and setting any price. You gotta just know what that price is. So rather than me sit here and go, yeah, they should raise prices, which I could easily say, cuz it’s beneficial to me. I want them to raise prices and continue to grow. Cuz as that pot grows, there’s more money to be distributed. If they price it wrong, it hurts us. That’s my only point. 

[00:28:01] Dan Runcie: That’s fair. I get that. This topic as well, reminds me of another thing that I wanted to chat with you about. 

[00:28:08] Steve Stoute: We’re talking about, reminds you of something else. That’s great. That’s how you write, you write like that, you find all these, comparisons, to different business models. in fact, you know, that’s why I’m a fan of what you guys do of what you do. but it’s funny when you say it, actually, reminds me of

[00:28:23] Dan Runcie: That’s funny. That’s funny. I was actually gonna say, this isn’t a random reminding, this is actually something you had said in that episode of the shop. I think it was the last one you did. You were, I think Drusky was on there. A fewer folks were on there. Yeah. You were talking about dollars that were moving from traditional tv Yeah. And going towards creators. Yeah. And how much of an opportunity that is. And I know you, with the business you have with translation, a lot of your work has been focused on doing these traditional TV partnerships, whether it’s with a State Farm or some of the other clients you have.

I’m curious to hear how this type of transition impacts your work and what opportunities you see and how you may have be thinking about the future on that side. 

[00:29:08] Steve Stoute: So the media buying companies, people who buy media for brands are seeing and advising that television ratings outside of sports are going in the wronging direction and advising to put that money more into digital channels that are primarily driven by creators. The creators have deep connections with their fans. The creators can create a network effect. So you can hire, you know, 50 creators who who have deep impact in different regions, communities, and you can buy against it. and sort of create marketplace momentum around a movement, a brand, a product, whatever it may be. My question toski is, this thing is shifting in your direction or what are you doing to prepare for it? I said something so long ago on, on my man Swae. I said that that artists are going to become mini media channels. I said this six years ago, mini media channels. If you look at the artists and you look at them like what cable channels were, you watch ESPN, they have an audience, you watch Turner, they have an audience, you watch Discovery, they have an audience. The artists, the influencers are gonna be exactly like those with obviously much smaller audiences, but the relationship between the artists and the audience or the influence in the audience is where the media money is going. ESP N, Turner and Discovery are prepared for that. that. Their organizations are set up for it. They stay on brand so that when the money comes their way, the brand knows, whoever’s spending money against it knows exactly what they’re getting and the kind of audience that they have. What What are the creators doing to be prepared for that movement of revenue coming to them? How are they set up for that? Because in the beginning it starts to look like, oh shit, this is all found money. But I’m saying, this is not just found money. This is the new industry. 

[00:31:25] Dan Runcie: Is there anyone that you see that’s doing a good job of this right now? Or any creators that are ready for this moment 

[00:31:31] Steve Stoute: there’s so There’s so many of them. A lot of YouTube creators are doing it. You know, mr. Beast disguise, I mean, you know, the names. They all, you know, have created, you know, products that create lines around the block. I mean, you know, you don’t look at it this way anymore because, she’s transcended what you first seen her as. But Kim Kardashian is that she’s the ultimate influencer. She’s the influencer’s influencer, right? Right. And she’s built billions of dollars of business as a result of using her culture, her influence. that started with Instagram and social media. So like yeah, we’ve seen a lot of people do it, right? The musicians are now starting to do it right, because they’re starting to realize Rihanna and Fenty. And others are copying or copying or seeing that, look, the streaming business is great and touring is great, but my impact, my movement, because of my digital footprint can allow me the opportunity to sell other higher margin items, like beauty products like lingerie, like footwear. So understanding your influence, whether you’re a musician or personality and who your audience is creating opportunities for a lot of money to be made. 

[00:32:52] Dan Runcie: And how does that shape the type of work that translation will continue to do in the future working with creators? 

[00:33:00] Steve Stoute: Well, our number one responsibility at translation is to be lockstep with culture and lockstep in real lockstep. So as we help provide solutions for brands, creative, strategic solutions, We understand that what I just said about where this business is going and the influences and their impact that they have, we’re very fluent at that. So it doesn’t impact us in a way that says, oh, now we have to change our business as a result of this. We just create in these new landscapes, right? Like, it doesn’t impact us at all. In fact, it hinders. The more bigger traditional agencies who have not even wrapped their brain around diversity culture, they’re still running an old playbook. This new thing, they hope goes away, but we’ve seen this over and over again, right? It’s the dilemma that happens, the innovation dilemma that takes place and whether you do it yourself or you get disrupted by somebody else. if you hold on to what you’ve done, you’ll be disrupted. When we built translation, we built it under the manifesto of translating culture for Fortune 500 companies. And translating always needs to happen. It’s why I came up with the name, everything needs to be translated, right? So the fact that tr culture needs to be translated and because it’s translated and it changes, you have to be clear and understanding of it. I talk about that all of a sudden, the speed of culture, the speed in which, you know, someone can become an overnight success. Like there’s a tape, a footage. You should run it, in this spot and I’ll send it to you. Where Lil Nas X, goes on, he eats a piece of pizza January, 2019. He’s eating a piece of pizza on Instagram. And He’s like, yo, this is Nas X I got 1000 plus followers on spotify. I got 3000 on Instagram, you know, a couple, you know, thousand views on YouTube, but I think Old town Road is gonna be a hit. and I’ll see you guys a year from now, literally a year to the day he has on a white fucking mink eating pizza. And he is like, you know, it’s little Nas x 30 million on spotify, da da, da. And that’s no different than skims disrupting spanks in a year. Like that’s no different than other. Everybody is ready for the, that’s the speed of culture and it’s fast. It’ll never be this slow again. Like that’s a fact. So being a brand of an agency, a creative company, a influencer or whatever you are, if you are not aware, prepared, built for that speed, you will get left.

[00:36:00] Dan Runcie: The other area that’s move in just as fast, probably even faster is NIL and everything happening there with 

[00:36:08] Steve Stoute: This you of NIL? You were gonna say that, that reminds me of NIL deals. Oh shit. How the fuck did he do that? That reminds me of a great piece of pizza. I just had Steve again, NIL deals. Go ahead. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:36:21] Dan Runcie: And I think we’ve seen a lot of fast movement there. Yes, we have. You’ve definitely probably see plenty of opportunities cuz I think the space is very unregulated. There’s random things happening. 

[00:36:33] Steve Stoute: Yeah. And yeah, you should go look at, just so that you properly, as you definitely, know my work and have been, very much appreciative of my contribution. I did a documentary at LeBron James called student athlete that came out five years ago. You should look at that. You should play clips of it. We followed four athletes over a year that were high school, that were college athletes. One of ’em got injured and fucking, like, had to sleep in his car because you know, you are a D one athlete, you get injured, you don’t make it to the pros. You don’t get any fucking health insurance anymore. They fucking cut you. That’s the end of it. Right. So you’re playing for this lottery ticket and you don’t get shit. And the fact that these student athletes don’t get a chance to actually get a great education because they have fucking practice every day or games on Friday or traveling to get to a game all over the place. But the school benefits from all of the advertising dollars. And all of the conference dollars was something that we put a highlight on and it was really, making it and seeing these stories. You felt like this is of modern day slavery. Mm-hmm. So NIL deals the Wild, wild west, the transfer portal as well. So you had NIL deals and the transfer portal happening at the same time. What is this doing? This reminds me of the independent music business, because now these student athletes really now are independent business people. They can change schools with less friction than they could have five years ago, 10 years ago. Forget it. you change schools, you had to sit outta here. You couldn’t do this, you couldn’t do that. By the time you could play, you know, you lost a step or you weren’t the same, or you were too far removed from the game, whatever it may be. So the hindrance of that made you stay at the school and not go through that problem. That was the way they kept you. Well, it’s certainly not fair that the football in which you have to stay three years, right? And basketball pay for 90% of all of the other scholarships That the fucking sports program had. And yet these guys don’t get any money. It is not right, you know, think about players getting thrown out of bowl games because they got tattoos, free. It’s crazy. So I’m all for NIL deals and I’m happy, it’s the wild, wild west. And I like the fact that there’s a guy or girl on campus make making $2 million a year balling in a fucking Porsche Bentley or investing his or her money, whatever they’re doing, helping their family. I’m happy for the fact that they are getting a chance to monetize their impact beyond a scholarship, that is fantastic, but definitely a education that is not the same because they’re practicing the amount of time they’re practicing and traveling. The way they’re traveling, this is the least that they can do is get paid for their services. And the NCAA got away with a lot for a very very long time. You should look at that. Look, when the student athlete, it’s a bylaw, right? that actually became a thing and why it was set up that way and what it means and the implications of it. It was a way to hog, tie or build a moat so that these kids would never leave. As college sports grew and the money grew, all of a sudden it became, these assets, right? Became really lucrative. These conferences became very lucrative, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars in TV deals. I’m happy for it. In fact, we represent the Big 12 and, shout out to my man, Brent, who now runs the Big 12. He came from running the Brooklyn Nets. He, I worked with him when he moved the Nets from New Jersey to Brooklyn. Then he went over to run a aspect of Roc Nation and now he runs the Big 12. He’s the future of collegiate sports cuz he understands the music industry and the brand building industry. He understands the business of running sports team, the nets, the arena, the Barclays, bringing in talent to fill that arena pricing, dynamic pricing, media deals. He did it all. And now he’s taken that combination of skills to Big 12 and he’s once NIL deals. In fact, that’s his competitive advantage because none of those guys who run all those other conferences, they’re all like, shit, we gotta give these NIL deals. The students are gonna do X, Y, Z in this transfer portal. What are we gonna do? Brent’s? Like, this is what I’ve been doing my whole career. I can’t wait to set up NIL programs, bring brands in, you know, treat these students athletes like the same way we treated artists in my previous career. it’s dope and, it’s way, way, overdue. This reminds you of, 

[00:41:48] Dan Runcie: Didn’t remind me of something, but I was gonna ask you, is this an area that you would work more directly in through translation, through the agency, working with the 

[00:41:56] Steve Stoute: Yeah. I mean, yes. Look, it’s not like, again, we represent the Big 12, so our contribution to that, is adjacent to a lot of that kind of stuff, you know, there is an opportunity to set up a. a division that works specifically on NIL deals. I think it’s much more, urgent that the CAAs do and the UTAs and the WMEs have that because their brokers of that kind of stuff. Where they have talent and they brands and they put ’em together, we do that for our clients. We don’t do that as a industry trade. We don’t just like connect random brands with, you know, artists unless we are, or athletes, unless we are doing much more immersive experiences and creative for those brands. But, you know, I’m happy we represent Beats. We did the, Beats deal with Bronny, then we did the commercial with Bronny and his dad with LeBron and like I love that. I love it. Not only for that story, but the fact that again, this 17 year old kid signed a deal with Beats. And we can actually market that and advertise that as, without him losing eligibility or whatever the fuck these guys were coming up with is dope.

[00:43:09] Dan Runcie: Right. Especially given that everyone was gonna make money off of his name. So I’m glad he can do it himself. 

[00:43:14] Steve Stoute: Of course, like, you speak to Jalen Rose about this like when they’re at Michigan man, the Fab 5 and these guys, 

[00:43:19] Dan Runcie: Oh, that was bad. 

[00:43:20] Steve Stoute: That’s terrible man. Selling jerseys with their name on it and these guys. like, everybody’s looking at investigating the, what they did and what did Webber do and what he did to try to feed his family. You can’t even afford to get your family to come see you play. Mm-hmm mm-hmm. Well of course corruption’s gonna be in it. You mean, I can’t eat? I have a scholarship though. And my parents can’t even come see me play cuz we can’t afford it. You don’t think that’s gonna lead to corruption? What are you crazy?

[00:43:48] Dan Runcie: It’s this weird juxtaposition where I think either, Webber or Rose talked about this in that documentary 

[00:43:54] Steve Stoute: It’s the coach by the way, Yeah. Gets paid $10 million, in most, towns or cities in America, the highest paid employee of that city, or town is the coach of the football team. Yep. Or the basketball team. They’re the highest earning person in the entire city. 

[00:44:10] Dan Runcie: Yeah. They save at the state level too for the Colleges 

[00:44:13] Steve Stoute: Then they get deals with Nike and the coach makes the player wear Nikes or Reebok or whatever it is, the coach makes that decision. Everyone’s making money except the student themselves, but they’re getting a scholarship. 

[00:44:28] Dan Runcie: Right, it’s crazy 

[00:44:30] Steve Stoute: And definitely an education with an asterisk next to it.

Isn’t that fair? Are you fucking outta your mind? 

[00:44:37] Dan Runcie: It’s crazy. It’s crazy. I’m glad this is happening and I’m glad we’re seeing this shift. 

[00:44:42] Steve Stoute: Yo, pull up student athlete. When you do this, I’m you the edit right now. I’m gonna send you the Lil NAS thing and the student athlete thing. Oh yeah. We’ll throw it in there. Put it in. That’s why we’re doing video. video. 

[00:44:53] Dan Runcie: Yeah, no. That’s why we, no, this will be good. And then we have the clips and everything. Yeah. Shifting gears, last time you were on, you talked about chief technology officers and why artists need to have tech side folks on their platform. Yeah, 

[00:45:08] Steve Stoute: Yeah, brother. 

[00:45:08] Dan Runcie: Yeah, How have you seen this develop the past couple years since? 

[00:45:11] Steve Stoute: I haven’t, the artists that obviously have the foundational truth is as technology is becoming much more important in content and video services, every artist needs a chief technology officer. That’s the foundational truth. The practical reality is that that’s not gonna be the case, which is the opportunity for platforms like ours to be extremely useful in providing tools, intelligence, information that is allows the artist, the influencer to take action in a very user-friendly way to help grow their career. So essentially, we wanna be the Chief Technology Officer as a platform for all of these artists. I believe that to be true. In fact, in building our platform, the remit to my engineers is that, that we have to anticipate what the artist’s needs are. And build that for them. We’re it for a community of artists. We’re not building it to best interface with Apple or Spotify or YouTube. That’s one part of it. 80% of it is what do you, I say all the time, man, I’m about to put my name in the system. I’m about to upload my first song. That experience. If I nail this, I’m gonna change the life for me and my mama. I’m gonna become my dreams. I’m gonna be able to quit this bullshit job and really live out what my talents are when I hit this button and upload this song. That’s how they feel. to build a technology that’s empathetic to that, and then as they continue to grow, make sure that they have the tools and they need information in order to do their thing. That’s what I tell each and every engineer that comes into my company. 

[00:47:18] Dan Runcie: That trajectory makes sense because if you’re starting out, you’re a dependent, you’re not gonna have the resources to hire someone to pay them 1 50, 200 a year, whatever it is to be a CTO on staff. Yeah. How could you leverage the partnerships you have? Maybe if you get to a certain point, you could have someone internally. 

[00:47:37] Steve Stoute: Of course. Of course, you know drake and, you know Beyonce and Pharrell and they have a version of a chief technology officer, somebody who, their interaction with technology is seamless and smooth and they understand it and they have relationships and, you know, they could speak with the tech leaders and be able to find the value and where the integration and partnerships can best take form. Up until you get to that point, we should be the platform to provide that for you at scale

[00:48:10] Dan Runcie: Artists as well. This is also valuable because there’s so many new things that are always coming. Obviously I talk about them often in capital. You’re evaluating themself for your own business, whether it’s a couple years ago, whether or not we should be building something on the blockchain.

A couple years after that, should we be involved with Web 3? Should we have NFTs and 2023? AI is the big thing. 

[00:48:34] Steve Stoute: Can I talk to you about that? 

[00:48:36] Dan Runcie: Yeah, 

[00:48:36] Steve Stoute: But go ahead, ask the question. I’ll get into it.

[00:48:39] Dan Runcie: Yeah, so I was gonna ask twofold how you look at it for yourself with the businesses and then also the value add and advice you give to artists that are considering this.

[00:48:47] Steve Stoute: Yeah, So let’s take a step back for a second. Whether 20 years ago as technology, you know, sort of more consumer facing technology 30 years ago has been, is taking shape into, is taking shape. The popularity of code or the popularity of, you know, technology outside of just the internet itself. It wasn’t immediate frenzy around it. It didn’t, like, it was just happening. It wasn’t like front and set of the media. And I think part of it is like there weren’t that many day traders like Uber drivers are traders and school teachers trade everybody’s trading stocks. So now that you’ve built applications that allow people to day trade and everybody could be a stock analyst themselves, the technology has gotten a lot of media attention and a lot of that media attention I do believe has escalated the fact that it becomes top of mind. But yet the application of that technology may be premature. Agreed. So every with the metaverse, oh my God, everybody are you doing in the Metaverse? We’re in the Metaverse. We’re in the Metaverse. You in the Metaverse. What is the Metaverse? Is Fortnite the Metaverse? That’s not the Metaverse, the Oculus is the Metaverse. No, that’s not the Metaverse is gaming in general. The Metaverse. Well, whatever. But before we could even get to that, NFTs come, well fuck the Metaverse. It’s the NFTs. Well, the NFT, you got a NFT. You got a What’s your character? What’s your character? Who you got a character? What’s your character? What’s your vetas? don’t have a character. Let me see your crypto wallet. What’s in your crypto wallet? What’s in your crypto wallet? What’s in your crypto? Okay, now we just went to the Oh shit. Fucking AI. you use chatGPT. How we gonna, it’s like, yo, bro, could we just chill out? Stop. and the media writes it and then everybody just runs around. Thinking that they need to be prolific and like force themselves to find the application. cuz they don’t wanna be left out like, let these things find, use cases that stick and therefore the products and the applications that come out of it will then take hold. But like for you to just run to crypto wallets and metaverses and ai and the, it’s like, it is so overblown. And what I was telling my team about is what happens is like take crypto, like the media is incentivized to write it all the way up, right? write it all way. You gotta get this, you gotta get this, you gotta get this. They write it all the way up and then as soon as the shit melts, they fucking write it all the way down. So they still win because they fucking made everybody feel like it was important. And then, They start shitting on it and everybody has to read that because they wanna know why they’re shitting on it. And then while they’re shitting on it, they fix the next thing. Metaverse da da da it’s like, it’s funny to me cuz I could it’s obvious actually. It’s funny because it’s obvious, but yet people sort of work themselves up, like, you know, I deal with CMOs all the time. They’re like, you know, what are we gonna do in the metaverse 18 months ago? They don’t even fucking bring it up anymore. Right? Why were you bringing it up 18 months ago? Cause you read it in the New York Times because it was on some news channel and you don’t even bring it up anymore. 

[00:52:10] Dan Runcie: The dialogue around this heightened into the fomo. Everyone has the fear of missing out on all this.

[00:52:15] Steve Stoute: Not me. I think I don’t have any FOMO on shit that’s not real. And I’m not saying it’s not real, I’m saying until it has practical applications that affect my life or my business really.

[00:52:31] Dan Runcie: How do you determine what that is?

[00:52:33] Steve Stoute: I don’t know, Talent? testing, I don’t know, like that kind of thing. 

[00:52:40] Dan Runcie: It’s interesting, right? Because I feel like we could go back to two years ago, and I remember, I think that was around the time that NFTs were having their craze and artists could’ve been like, oh, well, what if we could release a N F T on United Masters or something like that?

Yeah. Or what if we could do this? And it’s one of those things, in hindsight, of course the right answer is, yeah, that I don’t think we need to do that. 

[00:53:02] Steve Stoute: Let’s stay the you ask anybody who worked with me, I never, ever bought that that bullshit. I’m like, look, until that young kid, that 17 year old kid, 16 year old kid in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, los Angeles, is me that they’re willing or want to buy an album as an NFT. I am not gonna allow Discord chatter to say that’s where my business is doing.

[00:53:31] Dan Runcie: I think that’s a good example here, because so much of the chatter around this stuff is hyped up by people that are in it. People that were buying NFTs or music related NFTs or things like that were people that were talking about this on the regular, on Discord and Twitter, but it’s not the 14 year old 

[00:53:49] Steve Stoute: guy, you know? And he’s my man. But, he owns, Royal. 

[00:53:53] Dan Runcie: Oh, Bla? 

[00:53:54] Steve Stoute: Bla, you know, right? You know he put out an album, right. right. You know? Mm-hmm. Oh 

[00:53:57] Dan Runcie: yeah, I remember that 

[00:53:58] Steve Stoute: Remember 11 Million in that, right? DJ 

[00:54:01] Dan Runcie: and then Naz had done something on Royal a couple months later. 

[00:54:03] Steve Stoute: Right. But you so very smart, very, very smart. Made $11 million on an album. Everybody was like, that’s the example. NFTs the whole thing. When you ask people, like regular fans who are fans of DJs that listen to EDM music and you say, you know that album blah da da da, they don’t even know what you’re talking about. That album that did that was purchased primarily by people that was in that business, the Discord community. It wasn’t the general music community that bought it or even was aware of it. It was the people in that community. That’s fine, that’s fine. That’s good for him. It’s good for that community. Perfect. But to try to say that that applies to every, the industry at large now, and now the 16 year old kid in Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, whatever, is gonna now want that. That’s not the right idea. And you know, it didn’t require testing and learning for that. You could just do the work on it, do the math on it. Now there’s aspects of the NFT, the blockchain technology, I think is very important, for payments. Yeah. So, I see that application, everything has an application. It’s like AI is gonna, is fantastic. NFTs and crypto, and all of its fan the metaverse Fantastic. I just think this accelerated frenzy and FOMO sometimes get you to lose focus on what about it is really important to your business. And what I learned in the frenzy of the NFT marketplace or Web 3 was. The value of blockchain to payments. Payments in the music industry are very difficult because you have many people contributing to a song and, the rights holders need to have something that bound them right on these digital forever. Right. Until they decide to change it. And the blockchain does really good with those agreements in being able to put, you know, 17 people writing one song, whether it be a sample or just original writers, whatever it may be, and allow them to have these digital contracts that make sure everybody gets paid fairly precisely automatically. That part of it I like, I mean, for my, business, I like all of it. Mm-hmm. But specifically, for our business, 

[00:56:24] Dan Runcie: Does anything about AI spark interest or application in the same way? 

[00:56:29] Steve Stoute: Well, with AI, I’m trying to figure out, I’d really like it for education. So, you know, if I’m giving you tools, look at Uber, right? And They tell a driver, you know, peak times 4:00 PM this area, the town, the driver know where to go. The driver could be of any education level, but the tools that are provided to that driver, apply to, you know, whether you speak perfect English, you know, your learning English, your education level varies. The simplicity of what they provide you to be a small business is absolutely brilliant. You should look at the backend of Uber. You should see what an Uber driver sees. it’ll amaze you. For our artists, I look at them like that. So, where I think AI can be really good is an understanding like when you post during this time, this is when the best time you get results.

This is the type of content that works best for you. the, you know, release of songs when you should release them. The timing of it. I think utilizing AI to provide education around building your business can be very helpful for us, because of the fact that it can pull all that information and then provide a very easy way of understanding the best way to move forward based off the intelligence that it gleams.

[00:57:48] Dan Runcie: There’s so many applications of it, I think both internally for companies like you mentioned, but also how you deal with your stakeholders, how they then deal with their fan bases. It’ll also be interesting to see just the bigger picture, what that next big thing is, how people are gonna react to it. A lot of it is accelerated by, How people live in bubbles themselves in a lot of ways.

If you’re only spending your time on Twitter, on Discord, you’re just seeing the frenzy. You think everyone is there with you. Yeah. I remember a year ago I was at a dinner and this was right at the height of web 3. It was a lot of industry professional folks in there, and I remember being the person saying, you’re all saying that we’re gonna be on web 6 a year from now.

There’s people, the average person really isn’t tapped into this. I don’t think we’re moving that fast. And a lot of ’em looked at me like I was crazy then. Yeah. And I’m like, it’s my job to follow this stuff. I’m not a Luddite here telling you this. This is just the reality. So, 

[00:58:43] Steve Stoute: Well people, a lot of times people fight, try to solve problems that don’t exist. Yeah. Right. Like it’s like, you are saying web 6 and all that, we haven’t even gotten to, you know, look, we still don’t even know what the fuck 5G does yet, right? It’s like, let’s be really analog about this topic, yeah, we’re fixing that, with AT & T but just in general, the regular con general consumer, you ask ’em about 5g, they see it on their thing. They’re like, my text didn’t go through any faster and my videos are still, you know, it’s, Yeah. It’s still like cycling. So I thought I had 5g. So sometimes things create more media momentum than the practical consumer experiences and a lot of times, spend a lot of time trying to solve problems that actually don’t exist.

[00:59:36] Dan Runcie: Agreed on that. Agreed on that. Well, Steve, before we close things out, the first interview we did, we talked about where United Masters was, where the future was, and I believe you told me, 

[00:59:46] Steve Stoute: but I did pretty good when I look, I haven’t seen the interview, since, but I don’t know if I did pretty good in my prediction. Do you remember? 

[00:59:54] Dan Runcie: You said we are in the first inning of this cause I think I asked you, what does the future look like with exits and future? You said we’re in the first inning, we’re early in this perspective. What inning do you feel like we’re at now and what do you see for the future of the business.

[01:00:08] Steve Stoute: I believe that we’re still in the the first third of the innings. I think we’re in inning to bottom of the second, you know, top of the third kind of thing. and the reason why is because now money is back into music. When I first sat with you, There was no vC money in music businesses anymore. They’d fucking ran. They lost all that money with all those other, you know, versions of this idea for reasons that make perfect sense, that the money had up, the money was going to social media and, you know, FinTech and a bunch of the other things like why me? Why music. And in the last five years, whether it be catalog sales or, independent music now being discovered by financial systems, Goldman Sachs and the others investors more, mainstream investors have realized that there’s growth there and there’s globalization of music and all of the things that bring energy back to the industry and that the record labels don’t have this. Choke hold on it like they used to have. And it’s not as difficult and to understand, which was another thing that people didn’t understand about the music was They made it so difficult. People thought it was like a business that was so hard to figure out and all that other kind of stuff. Cuz over the rights. But because it’s now become clear where I used to have to explain it to every single person. They’re like, so you’re competing with Spotify, like, no, you’d have to explain. it. They understand it now, which is cool. So now money’s in, which means more entrepreneurs are gonna come in and build services like ours and other alternative services tools. The fastest growing segment of the music business is independent music. The fastest growing aspect of the music business is global music. Global music, the record companies never dominated because English speaking music was the only thing that really mattered. I mean, you just about it, Bad Bunny headline Coachella, right? How many people don’t even know what the fuck he’s saying? I mean, if there’s 80,000 people there with maybe 65,000, don’t know what the fuck he’s saying. Yet they’re dancing, all this great music coming outta Africa. Mm-hmm. That people are just going crazy over. That never happened. At the rate this has happened. Now, all of that independence rising globalization and music rising and money coming in. Is now you’re about to see the acceleration of what can happen as a result of the momentum. It was always headwinds. And now I would say in the last year, it’s been tailwinds. It’s an exciting time. It’s a very exciting time. it’s an extremely exciting time. it’s no longer in the dark. It’s no longer something that, you know, big business. it wasn’t paying attention to. Everybody sees it now. and when everybody sees opportunity and money and. Value creation and the fact that you can disrupt this, you know, a hundred-billion-dollar business of the music business, it can be disrupted because the barriers of entry has completely been removed like every other industry where the barriers of entry has removed, money goes into it, entrepreneurs come into it and new value is created. and I think that’s being recognized as we speak here today. So we’re in the bottom of the second, top of the third. 

[01:03:48] Dan Runcie: Nice. Alright, bro, appreciate that. 

[01:03:50] Steve Stoute: Always, as always, This is good man. All right. Trapital. Let’s rock and roll. 

[01:03:55] Dan Runcie: Yes sir. man. Cool. 

[01:03:56] Dan Runcie Outro: If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share it with a friend. Copy the link, text it to a friend. Post it in your group chat. Post it in your Slack groups. Wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That’s how travel continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. While you’re at it, if you use Apple Podcast, Go ahead, rate the podcast, give it a high rating, and leave a review. Tell people why you like the podcast. That helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.


Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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Former CEO, SoundCloud
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Steve Stoute
CEO, UnitedMasters and Translation

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