TikTok parent ByteDance may be planning to take on Spotify and Apple by developing a music streaming/podcast/digital radio platform capable of integrating video capabilities.
The latest indication is an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark “TikTok Music,” filed in May.
It turns out that the China-based company also filed for a “TikTok Music” trademark in Australia last November.
Discovering new music on TikTok has become a major draw for the app’s users. At the end of 2021, 75% of TikTok users said they were using the platform to find new artists, and 63% said they were hearing music that they’d never heard before on the app.
Insider, which uncovered the U.S. trademark application, has called TikTok an “essential promotional tool for music artists and record labels.” Marketers can hire TikTok influencers to boost visibility, and old and new songs can go viral by rising organically through the app’s algorithm.
TikTok also has a team that works with artists and record labels around the world, dealing with licensing and artists’ rights.
The platform, the reach and the team could provide the backbone for a highly competitive force in the music streaming/podcast industry.
The new filing states that “TikTok Music” would let users purchase, play, share and download music. Users would also be able to create, share and recommend playlists, comment on music, and livestream audio and video.
In theory, ByteDance could provide a one-stop shop for all music entertainment, while giving artists a unified platform to market themselves, get paid and share their music.
And this isn’t ByteDance’s first move into music streaming.
The company launched a music streaming app called Resso in 2020 in India, Brazil and Indonesia. Resso had 40 million monthly active (MAUs) by year-end 2021, about evenly divided among the three companies, compared to 381 million across 178 countries for longtime industry leader Spotify, reports The Information.
Resso's users grew by 304% in India alone between January 2021 and January 2022 — compared to just 38% growth in India for Spotify during the same period, according to Insider, and ByteDance is reportedly considering launching it in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
The TikTok app in Brazil includes a button that redirects users to Resso, where they can listen to the full version of the song they’ve heard in a TikTok video.
Other social media apps are developing their own competitive music strategies. Snapchat, for example, just announced a new monthly grant of up to $100,000 to help pay independent artists who are distributing music on the platform.
But a creator fund doesn’t begin to approach the scope of the possibilities if TikTok were to add an entirely new music streaming platform.
While this is all still projection, ByteDance could provide a one-stop shop for all music entertainment, while giving artists a unified video/audio platform to share their music, market themselves and get paid.