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ByteDance’s planned streaming service close, says FT

By | Published on Monday 18 November 2019


TikTok owner ByteDance could launch its Spotify-style music service as soon as next month, according to sources who have spoken to the Financial Times.

It emerged earlier this year that not only was China-based ByteDance busy trying to secure licences for the music that swims around its video-sharing app, it was also seeking to license tracks for a more conventional streaming service that would see it compete head on with Spotify, Apple and its big Chinese competitor Tencent.

According to the FT, licensing talks with all three majors are ongoing but “the Beijing-based technology company aims to launch as soon as next month, initially in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, before a future opening in the US”.

ByteDance would obviously seek to use TikTok as a platform to promote its new music service, with sources saying that the plan is to closely integrate the standalone music set-up with the insanely popular video-sharing app. Most likely by making it easy to sync music you listen to on the former into videos you share on the latter.

Quite how it will all work – both in terms of functionality and pricing – remains to be seen. Although the music industry is keen to see more services enter a market that is currently dominated by a very small number of players, record labels and music publishers also still prefer paid-for platforms that generate much more income for music rights owners.

And while in emerging markets the music industry is still often more open to any experimentation that might generate revenues where previously there were none, it tends to be more conservative in more traditional markets. After all, no one wants new free or low-cost services that might take people away from the ten pound/dollar/euro Spotify or Apple subscriptions that have been behind much of the streaming boom to date.

So, we await more official information about ByteDance’s plans with interest.