ByteDance Files U.S. Trademark Application For ‘TikTok Music’ — Is Another Spotify Competitor On the Way?

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TikTok parent company ByteDance has filed a U.S. trademark application for “TikTok Music” – prompting speculation that the Beijing-headquartered business could debut a stateside music streaming platform to expand upon the regional results delivered by Resso.

ByteDance’s move to secure a “TikTok Music” trademark just recently entered the media spotlight following a report from Business Insider, and the corresponding application (number 97400772) was filed back on May 9th. According to the description in the USPTO database, the trademark covers social-driven mobile apps that enable users to access livestream audio, “radio broadcast content,” karaoke options, podcasts, “music, songs, albums, lyrics,” and more.

Despite the all-encompassing nature of the trademark application and the fact that ByteDance rolled out a streaming service called Qishui Yinyue in China just weeks before the filing date, it’s unclear whether the company intends to launch a global Spotify competitor.

Even with its dedicated TikTok userbase and its emphasis on the social side of listening, ByteDance would likely have a difficult time stealing fans away from well-entrenched players like Spotify and Apple Music. For reference, Access Industries-owned streaming service Deezer (shares of which finished today at €3.50 apiece) revealed ahead of its IPO that it boasts about 9.6 million paid accounts, compared to 188 million for Spotify.

Moreover, TikTok earlier this month started laying off team members on both sides of the Atlantic, in what some now-former employees have indicated will ultimately be a far-reaching reorganization. The staff reduction arrived shortly after the video-sharing app abandoned plans to bring livestream shopping to countries besides the UK.

On the other side of the coin, the ever-controversial TikTok has developed a reputation for helping songs to find fans and rack up streams, and big-name artists are working to establish a presence on the service as a result.

Beyoncé two weeks ago joined the platform ahead of her latest album’s release, for instance, and longstanding relationships with high-profile acts would undoubtedly factor into the operational style of the rumored TikTok Music.

Additionally, it bears highlighting that TikTok has quietly endeavored to broaden its presence and influence in the music world, including by debuting a distribution and marketing offering called SoundOn in March. Taking the distribution option a step further, TikTok today emailed DMN about a newly added feature called “Pre-Release.”

As its title suggests, Pre-Release encourages artists to “give TikTok listeners exclusive access to clips in advance of releasing their tracks,” presumably building fan interest in the works – and effectively making TikTok a hub for previews of songs before they become available elsewhere.