Last year, MBW broke the news that tech giant ByteDance and its short-form video app TikTok were hiring for a number of highly-skilled specialists in machine learning and AI music creation in both the US and China.
Now, a pair of new job ads have shed more light on these plans.
In one of the new ads, Beijing-headquartered ByteDance reveals it is looking for a Product Manager in Los Angeles to join a team that is “working on an AI-powered tool that provides intelligent music creation and audio editing capabilities”
The job ad explains further that the app’s “vision” is “to significantly lower the music creation barrier and inspire musical creativity and expression, further enriching the music content”.
“The app’s vision is to significantly lower the music creation barrier and inspire musical creativity and expression, further enriching the music content.”
ByteDance job ad
The successful candidate, says the ad, will need to have “knowledge of music creation tool products, or as a music enthusiast with musical instrument playing and music creation skills and passion for music”.
Experience or knowledge of intelligent creation and algorithms is listed as a “plus”.
The potential launch of such a tool would arrive in market occupied by the likes of Singapore-based BandLab, the music creation platform that offers creators a suite of tools to “make music, share their music with fans, earn a living, and even top the charts.”
Earlier this year, BandLab confirmed to MBW that it now boasts 60 million registered creators on its service. Those creators are generating 17 million new songs per month, or about 204 million tracks per year – or, put yet another way, about 567,000 tracks per day.
BandLab also has its own generative AI tool, called Songstarter. Click one button, and Songstarter will generate “three unique musical ideas just for you.”
With the arrival of this new ByteDance job ad, music industry observers will be wondering exactly what the TikTok parent is building.
MBW noted last summer that ByteDance had recently launched a machine-learning-driven music-making app called Mawf, which analyses incoming audio signals and then “re-renders” those signals using what it says is machine-learned models of musical instruments.
Additionally, according to a report last year from news site Tech Planet, ByteDance had also recently launched a music creation app in China called ‘Sponge Band’.
According to Tech Planet’s report, this recording and music editing app also features AI tools, and notes that it is particularly “helpful for users who want to further improve audio effects and background music for short videos”.
Could ByteDance’s latest job ad indicate an intention to roll out ‘Sponge Band’ or a derivative of Sponge Band into the US market?
Within the new job ad, ByteDance does mention that the successful candidate will need to “understand the requirements from the creator’s point of view, abstract music creation templates into short video scenarios, and complete the deconstruction and implementation requirements”.
“Join us to explore the potential of innovative music tools and cutting-edge AI-generated music.”
TikTok Job ad
If ByteDance were to launch an AI-powered app dedicated to music creation and audio editing, not only would it be competing with BandLab, but it would also be competing with the likes of US-based music creation platform Splice, which offers its own AI-powered music creation tool called CoSo.
All of which means that if and when ByteDance’s own AI-driven music creation platform arrives, it will be entering an already busy arena with tens of millions of creators.
However, it will have one advantage: TikTok’s 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, a cohort that is already heavily engaged in music
Separately, MBW has spotted that TikTok is currently hiring for a “Music Creator Operations Manager” based in Los Angeles.
The successful applicant, according to the ad, will join TikTok’s Music Creation Department.
This department, according to TikTok’s job description for the role, “develop[s] music production tools and AI-generated music compositions”.
Additionally, the ad explains that this “team consists of skilled music experts dedicated to pushing the boundaries of music creation”.
The post adds: “Join us to explore the potential of innovative music tools and cutting-edge AI-generated music.”
The requirements for this role will see the successful applicant:
- Work with the operations team, and be responsible for user activation and retention of our music creation app;
- Work closely with the product and algorithm teams to turn creator needs into product features and;
- [Be] responsible for community and creator engagement, and social media operation strategy and;
TikTok and parent company ByteDance’s recruitment drive for professionals to work on AI-powered music-making tools arrives amid the rise of AI-generated music on music platforms.
In November, MBW reported that Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) – the owner of China’s largest music streaming platforms – had created and released over 1,000 tracks containing vocals created by its own AI tech that mimics the human voice.
Plus, just last month, Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO of France-based Deezer revealed during the company’s Q1 2023 earnings call that Deezer has used AI to generate content (presumably, music content) on its recently-launched wellbeing app, Zen by Deezer.
“We do see the benefits of AI in terms of generating some kinds of content, especially at a very low cost,” Folgueira told analysts on April 25, adding: “Some of the content has been generated by AI at a very, very low cost. It’s a model where we own the content and don’t have to pay [outside content creators]”.
As MBW has previously asked: What’s stopping TikTok from flooding its own platform with AI-generated tracks?Music Business Worldwide