ByteDance may be preparing for a global launch of TikTok Music service, according to trademarks filed in several countries found by TechCrunch. The China-based conglomerate has filed TikTok Music trademark in countries like the UK, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, Malaysia, and Costa Rica.
All of these trademark filings include similar text about the application's functionality of listening to music, creating playlists, commenting on songs, and participating in karaoke.
The trademark application says it would allow “users to purchase, play, share, download music, songs, albums, lyrics, quotes, create, recommend, share his/her playlists, lyrics, quotes, take, edit and upload photographs as the cover of playlists, comment on music, songs, and albums.”
ByteDance already operates a music streaming service called Resso in India, Brazil, and Indonesia, and a former ByteDance employee told us it had previously considered bringing this service to more markets under a “TikTok Music” title. Specifically, it had been considering launches in mature markets like the U.K. and Australia, the source said.
Resso has identical features to the ones described above, with TikTok-like vertical scrolling to go through songs, the ability to change cover photos for playlists, lyrics displayed on the lock-screen, and comments on songs and albums.
Since its launch in 2020, Resso has seen solid progress in its existing markets, mobile data indicates. According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, the company saw 42.3 million downloads from the App Store and Google Play from January to May this year — growth of 19% year-over-year for the same period. The music streaming app has had 184 million overall lifetime downloads, as well.
TikTok, meanwhile, has had a major impact on the music industry with many hits being driven by different viral videos on the platform. A report released by the company last year suggested that 175 songs that trended on the short-video platform ended up on the Billboard 100 chart. In addition, a recent report published by a U.K.-based music investor noted that songs that are popular on TikTok drive additional views on YouTube and streams on other music streaming platforms, like Spotify. Record labels are also benefitting from TikTok's success in the music sector. Reports estimate that TikTok paid $179 million to recorded music right owners in 2021.
ByteDance would want to grab all that traffic and streaming money from its own music service, and its recently launched music marketing and distribution platform SoundOn. Last week the company launched a pre-release feature so the artists can “leak” their songs to the TikTok audience before the official release.
The launch of TikTok Music would mean an additional revenue stream for ByteDance and a complete music solution service that can offer artists solutions to publish their songs through SoundOn, market them on TikTok, and get people to listen to whole songs on TikTok Music/Resso. This service would directly compete with music streaming giants like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and Pandora.
We have reached out to ByteDance for a comment.