ByteDance plans free music streaming app in India

Carla Harmon
May 24, 2019

Bloomberg posted that ByteDance, a parent company of Chinese viral video platform TikTok, plans to develop a paid music streaming platform.

However, having secured right from two of Indias' biggest labels, T-Series (now Youtube's biggest channel) and Times Music, it looks like ByteDance is poised to make India the app's first market, and re-negotiations for licensing deals with the world's largest music groups (Sony, Universal, Warner) have commenced. ByteDance is aiming for a 2019 launch.

ByteDance has not planned to name the free streaming music app after TikTok, but it seems that it will try to attract some of TikTok's users to pay for its music streaming services. This means the pricing strategy would need to be on the lower end, in relation to something like Spotify, in order to attract sufficient numbers of users. The ByteDance's inspiration for launching a free music streaming app came from India, where over 150 million users listen to music but only a few are willing to pay. Should ByteDance go ahead with the new service, this will represent another stage in the company's growth.

The new app will include a catalogue of songs available on-demand, as well as video, and isn't a clone of Spotify or Apple Music, according to the people. TikTok and its Chinese version, Douyin, are some of the most popular App Store apps with more than 500 million downloads. With this new paid music app, ByteDance is looking to reduce its reliance on advertising and prove subscription music can work in emerging markets.

A representative for ByteDance declined to comment.

Another paid service will be music to the record labels' ears.

Furthermore, talk about ByteDance considering an initial public offering this year has simply given further reason for the company to have all of its music rights sorted out.

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