2019 was TikTok’s year, and its owner, Bytedance, is leaving no stone unturned to capitalize on the short-form video app’s soaring popularity across the globe. After announcing a smartphone earlier this month, the Chinese internet startup is now reportedly gearing up to launch a music streaming service in a string of emerging markets.
A new report The Financial Times suggests Bytedance will announce a new music streaming app next month in a bunch of countries including India, Brazil, and Indonesia. The subscription will likely be paid, however, it will be priced competitively and may undercut incumbents such as Spotify and Amazon Music.
Sources tell FT that Bytedance is still in the process of negotiating terms with music labels such as Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music to secure licensing deals. Spotify, during its recent India launch, especially had a hard time with Warner Music and the dispute has yet to settle leaving a giant catalog hole in the streaming app’s Indian version.
As one would expect, Bytedance’s streaming service will offer features that promote and plug directly with TikTok. FT says users will have the ability to look up viral videos right on the music app and sync the audio with whatever music they’re listening to.
The launch was first rumored way back in April and it’s clear Bytedance is aiming to unveil the service before the year ends. Today, TikTok has over 1.5 billion downloads and as of January, the app was hosting a billion monthly active users.
Bytedance could take advantage of TikTok’s success to push its new service in the crowded music streaming market. In 2019, nearly every music streaming app has made its way to India. However, new entrants like YouTube Music and Spotify are still struggling with Gaana and Apple Music both accounting for about half of the market.
In addition to an in-house music streaming service, Bytedance is also looking to enter the search engine and instant messaging markets. It remains to be seen, though, whether these arms will be able to go viral on the back of TikTok’s exponential growth.
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