TikTok owner ByteDance makes another key music hire, bringing in Tracy Gardner to negotiate with labels

A few months ago, we told you for the first time that former Warner Music Group (WMG) executive Ole Obermann was headed to TikTok and parent company ByteDance to lead their global music team.

The move was confirmed earlier this month, with Obermann having officially joined as Vice President, Global Head of Music.

Today, we can confirm that the China-based company has poached another senior WMG executive.

It seems obvious that Obermann, who will ‘lead corporate development efforts for TikTok/Bytedance music initiatives’ has joined the company during a crucial licensing negotiation phase with the majors – and today, another former WMG exec joins the company in a senior position.

That exec, we can confirm, is Tracy Gardner, who has joined the company as Head of Label Licensing, ByteDance.

Gardner was previously Senior Vice President, Global Business Development and Strategy at Warner Music Group.

Last month, the Financial Times broke the news that ByteDance was planning to launch a Spotify rival this month and is currently negotiating global licenses with Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music to do so.

That news was followed by a Bloomberg report this week, which revealed that ByteDance has been testing a music app called Resso in India and Indonesia for the past six months, which has already seen 27,000 installs across iOS and Android so far.

In April, Bloomberg reported that the company had secured rights from the likes of T-Series and Times Music, but was yet to do the same with the three majors – and Bloomberg’s article this week stated that these deals have still not been signed.

Tracy Gardner joined WMG in 2011 as part of the Digital Legal Affairs team in New York.

Prior to joining WMG, she was an associate in the Intellectual Property group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

“Tracy brings an extensive knowledge of and experience in the digital music industry, and is an exceptional deal maker.”

Ole Obermann, ByteDance

Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music, ByteDance, told MBW: “Tracy brings an extensive knowledge of and experience in the digital music industry, and is an exceptional deal maker.

“I am delighted to welcome her to our team and we look forward to her leadership as we continue to build strong relationships with our label partners.”

ByteDance was founded by software engineer Zhang Yiming in 2012 and is valued at around $75 billion.Music Business Worldwide

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