ByteDance, the Chinese company behind the TikTok app, is reportedly developing a paid music streaming service.
According to Bloomberg, ByteDance’s service could launch this fall and focus on emerging markets, or “mostly poorer countries where paid music services have yet to garner large audiences". Rumours about ByteDance developing a music streaming app first emerged in April, with the South China Morning Post claiming it would launch “soon” and that over 100 people were working on it.
It will supposedly offer songs and videos on-demand, and it will have both free and paid tiers. This surely sounds like a Spotify or Apple Music clone, but Bloomberg's source said otherwise. Keep in mind ByteDance's TikTok is still not profitable even though it's hugely popular, according to Billboard. So, it's thought to be working many other apps, including clones of Slack and Snapchat.
It's unclear how ByteDance will make money from any of these services, let alone a music service, which might be difficult to get emerging markets to pay to use. Still, ByteDance sees opportunity, especially in places like India, where it has reportedly snagged rights from two of India’s largest labels (T-Series and Times Music). It's also re-negotiating licensing deals with Sony, Universal, and Warner.
The Verge noted that TikTok has been relying on existing licensing deals it acquired through purchasing Musical.ly.