TikTok to Reportedly Launch Music Streaming Service in India Next Month

Andrew Cummings
November 19, 2019

Music streaming apps like Spotify beware; there's competition coming in the form of TikTok launching a music app soon.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has started to review ByteDance's US$1 billion (RM4.1 billion) acquisition of the USA app Musical.ly, which was subsequently merged into TikTok, Reuters reported this month. They view a brand new ByteDance app as a welcome addition to the music streaming market, the place a lot of corporations, together with Apple, Spotify, and Amazon, provide an identical catalog of songs. The app is already having a huge collection of short videos and clips that you can easily share with your friends. The ByteDance was looking to go public as soon as the first quarter of next yr; the FT stated this month.

Why it matters: Bytedance has been actively developing its paid music service targeting emerging markets amid a stalemate with major global music labels that seek higher royalties than the flat fee in the "tens of millions of dollars" the company now pays. One reason is to gain a foothold in India, where more than 150 million users in India listen to music online, but only a tiny portion of users will pay for it. This would be to make the audio listening experience a bit more immersive for the listener.

If Chinese President Xi Jinping personally asked TikTok's chief to take down a video or hand over user data, what would he do?

TikTok has repeatedly defended itself over concerns about data privacy and security, saying that the company stores US user data locally with backup redundancy in Singapore. India temporary banned downloads of the app in April this year and Indonesia did the same last year, largely due to concerns about salacious content. Sensor Tower said that India is the main driver for TikTok's new downloads this year, and the app is also popular in markets including Britain, France and Japan, according to App Annie.

People familiar with the matter said that the China-based company's goal meeting with the three largest record companies in the world is for ByteDance's music catalog service to acquire global licensing. Apparently, that information is only stored in one of two locations: primarily in Virginia in the United States with a backup server in Singapore.

Fabian Barn, the founder of website development resource sharing company UpLabs, brought TikTok's new social commerce feature to notice in a tweet posted on Thursday. When asked what he would do if Xi Jinping demanded ByteDance to turn over user data, Zhu told the paper, "after barely a moment's thought". He notes "today we are lucky, because users perceive TikTok as a platform for memes, for lip-syncing, for dancing, for fashion, for animals - but not so much for political discussion".

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