ByteDance — the parent company of video social media hit TikTok — is experimenting with a new music app. Resso is available in India and Indonesia for now.
Resso launched six months ago in its two test markets. Since then, it has managed to garner 27,000 users across iOS and Google Play. ByteDance started its earnest promotion of the app in India and Indonesia at the end of November.
ByteDance hopes Resso will be a rival to Spotify and Apple Music in other countries. Right now, this looks like an all-out blitz for active users in the developing world, with the financial realities of depressed economies and cheap subscription prices ignored.
Resso is unique because it displays real-time lyrics and allows comments on songs. Users can also generate music-accompanying GIFs and videos, similar to TikTok. Resso offers a paid-monthly subscription service for 119 rupees ($1.70) in India.
That’s the same price Spotify charges for its premium subscription service in the country. Premium Resso users can also download music and listen to streams ad-free.
Resso currently lacks licensing deals with the Big Three — Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment. ByteDance would need to negotiate a deal with these three for Resso to catch on globally, though the Chinese juggernaut certainly has enough cash to make agreements.
TikTok has been crucial in music discovery in the last year. ByteDance hopes Resso will do the same in developing countries. The app is currently in a beta testing phase, and a ByteDance rep says they are “optimistic about its long-term prospects.”
ByteDance caught lightning in a bottle with the purchase of Musical.ly and the creation of TikTok. Despite the platform’s ongoing U.S. government investigations, it continues to grow globally. TikTok has been downloaded over 1.5 billion times since it launched in 2017. New U.S. users grew 38% in Q3 2019, according to app analytics firm Sensor Tower.