Major record labels want more money for music played on ByteDance-owned app TikTok and its China-based equivalent Douyin.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music could pull their catalogs from the apps if no progress is made during negotiations currently taking place ahead of the expiration of their deals this Spring.
TikTok is a short-form mobile video and live video streaming platform based in Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta, Mumbai, and Moscow.
The app is owned by ByteDance, which was founded by software engineer Zhang Yiming in 2012.
Another ByteDance-owned app, Musical.ly (acquired in a deal reportedly worth between $800 million and $1 billion in 2017) was folded into TikTok in August last year.
TikTok (and Chinese counterpart Douyin) is growing at an extraordinary rate – as of February 2019, the app has had more than 1 billion downloads via the App Store and Google Play.
According to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the situation, record labels want to be paid “hundreds of millions of dollars in guaranteed money” by music-reliant ByteDance, which is currently valued at around $75 billion, and which, notes Bloomberg, makes it the ‘world’s most valuable startup’.
“TikTok is for short video creation and viewing, and is simply not a product for pure music consumption that requires a label’s entire collection.”
Todd Schefflin, ByteDance, speaking to Bloomberg
ByteDance has reportedly agreed to pay more, but argues that it’s not a pure-play music streaming service, so shouldn’t have to pay out what labels are allegedly asking.
“TikTok is for short video creation and viewing, and is simply not a product for pure music consumption that requires a label’s entire collection,” saidByteDance’s Todd Schefflin, speaking to Bloomberg.
“The platform provides an exciting way for content to trend and break through to wider audiences.”Music Business Worldwide