TikTok owner could launch Spotify rival next month – report

TikTok owner ByteDance could launch a paid music streaming service to rival the likes of Spotify and Apple Music next month (December).

The latest indication of time scale for the subscription service’s launch was reported by the Financial Times yesterday (November 17), which, citing people familiar with the matter, states that the Chinese company is currently negotiating global licenses with Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music.

Beijing-based ByteDance was founded by software engineer Zhang Yiming in 2012 and is valued at around $75 billion.

It was previously reported that the unnamed platform will be aimed at users in emerging markets where leading streaming services have not yet scaled, but today’s FT article adds that it will be launched in the likes of India and Indonesia initially, with a rollout in the the US planned further down the line.

ByteDance’s yet-to-be-launched service’s key differentiator will be a focus on the user generated content and virality that has made its video sharing app TikTok a global smash.

ByteDance’s short-form mobile video and live video streaming platform TikTok, which has crossed 1.5 billion downloads, is based in Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta, Mumbai, and Moscow.

According to the FT, citing ‘executives who received demos of the service’, the new app will feature a library of video clips that can be synced to the service’s on-demand  music.

The app is expected to cost less than $10 a month in the US.

Locking down global licensing deals with Universal, Warner and Sony was one of the last big hurdles ByteDance needed to clear in order to launch its on-demand music service.

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.

It was also reported in April that the major music groups wanted more money for music played on TikTok and its China-based equivalent Douyin, with a Bloomberg report in April stating that the three companies could potentially pull their catalogs from the apps if no progress is made before the expiration of their deals.

Last month, the National Music Publishers’ Association suggested that the video-sharing platform has “consistently violated US copyright law and the rights of songwriters and music publishers” and called for Government “scrutiny” of the firm.Music Business Worldwide

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