In July, it came to light that ByteDance had filed a U.S. trademark application for “TikTok Music.” Now, the Beijing-headquartered company is reportedly in talks with the Big Three labels about a global expansion into music streaming.
This latest development in ByteDance’s apparent quest to leverage and build upon its presence in the music space just recently came to light in a report from the Wall Street Journal. Notwithstanding ByteDance’s shelved IPO, reportedly massive losses, and layoffs at TikTok, the controversial company has taken several high-profile steps in 2022 to branch out into music.
To be sure, aside from filing the aforementioned TikTok Music trademark application, ByteDance and TikTok debuted a distribution and marketing service called SoundOn in March. April brought the rollout of ByteDance’s Chinese streaming offering, Qishui Yinyue, and July then saw the entity equip SoundOn with a “pre-release” option that, as its name suggests, allows (and perhaps encourages) artists to make new tracks available on TikTok before other services.
Finally, in terms of the music-focused expansion from ByteDance, TikTok in August integrated Ticketmaster concert tickets in-app, and Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi streamed an O2 Arena performance on TikTok Live in September.
Plus, TikTok only recently formed a “Global Music Programs” team, which, per a description from an employee who was promoted to the division, is “focused on building out the strategies designed to elevate and amplify key music trends and campaigns across all regional territories and across the wider family of” products from ByteDance.
According to the initially noted report, “significant hurdles” remain in the licensing discussions between ByteDance and the major labels, including disagreements about the precise promotional value that TikTok offers.
Moreover, music execs have reportedly expressed reservations stemming from the present difficulties associated with monetizing streams via Resso, which the TikTok parent operates solely in India, Indonesia, and Brazil.
And while Sony Music Entertainment removed its catalog from Resso in September, ByteDance is reportedly looking to bring the service to north of a dozen additional nations (excluding the U.S.). Lastly, regarding the details of the involved parties’ streaming discussions, ByteDance has reportedly broached the subject of integrating Resso into the short-form video-sharing app itself.
Moving forward, it’ll be worth following the streaming-service ambitions of ByteDance, especially given the far-reaching role that TikTok has played in spurring commercial interest in certain tracks.
Although critics maintain that TikTok is a national-security concern and a threat to users’ personal data, the platform is reportedly continuing to generate a substantial amount of revenue. Additionally, higher-ups are pursuing expansion initiatives in areas besides music – including building stateside product-storage and fulfilment centers, according to reports.