Why stop at music distribution and promotion? The parent of controversial video-sharing giant TikTok is once again working to enhance its presence in the music space, this time with “an innovative portable audio workstation” called Ripple.
Ripple’s partial launch – the invitation-only app is currently available to a select few testers in the States – came to light in a TechCrunch report today. The evidently AI-powered platform, like the many other features and offerings that TikTok and ByteDance have rolled out as of late, has arrived on the scene amid continued government scrutiny of (and calls to outlaw) the short-form service.
To be sure, TikTok has now admitted to storing American creators’ data in China, where the Chinese Communist Party (which possesses a piece of ByteDance) can unilaterally access any company’s information. Even so, and despite the many government-level bans of TikTok as well as the adjacent possibility of the platform’s outright prohibition, higher-ups haven’t hesitated to keep on plowing ahead with expansion initiatives.
Particularly on the music side – where licensing talks with the major labels have evidently been rocky – TikTok continues to push its SoundOn distribution service, spearhead exclusive deals and promotional campaigns, and tout its perceived status as a hitmaker.
Bearing in mind these and related points, Ripple, though seemingly equipped with creation and editing tools resembling those of DAWs like BandLab, also encompasses more troubling artificial intelligence capabilities, as mentioned.
According to TechCrunch, these AI functions have been “trained on music that is licensed to or owned by ByteDance” and specifically include a tool with which one can hum or sing a melody and then see artificial intelligence turn this input into an instrumental song.
It’s unclear if lyrics and vocals will be incorporated down the line, but the length of the AI tracks at hand is currently said to match the length of the audio that one provides. Similarly, while Ripple remains a standalone app at present, time will tell whether at least a portion of its components (and particularly those that enable anyone to generate music instantly) will expand into TikTok proper.
ByteDance has launched a webpage (ripple.club) through which prospective Ripple users can request beta invitations, according to Engadget. But at the time of this writing, the single-page site, having been briefly unavailable, didn’t appear to feature an option to request said invitations.
More broadly, Ripple could prove significant as TikTok plots its entry into the ever-competitive streaming arena. Last year, the Resso operator ByteDance moved to trademark “TikTok Music,” and the Beijing-headquartered entity’s plans for the latter are reportedly factoring heavily into the previously mentioned licensing discussions with the Big Three.