TikTok is branching out from short-form video with a new music streaming service poised to challenge Spotify and Apple Music. Called TikTok Music, the subscription-only platform has debuted in Brazil and Indonesia. Users can sync existing TikTok accounts to share songs, as well as listen and download tunes, including titles from the Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group catalogs. TikTok Music replaces ByteDance’s previously launched music platform Resso, which on September 5 will cease operations in Brazil and Indonesia. The new offering is priced the same: between $3 and $3.50 monthly for Android and iOS.
“TikTok Music lets you play full versions of viral TikTok songs, discover personalized music recommendations, access lyrics in real time, create collaborative playlists with friends, import your music library and find songs via lyrics search,” explains TechCrunch, noting that “the service also includes a Shazam-like feature that can identify music that you’re listening to.”
TikTok Music allows users to download songs for offline listening and in addition to sharing, other social features like comments are available. Multiple users will also be able to create playlists together. “The company will make it possible for users to import an external playlist and play it through TikTok Music,” writes Forbes.
Variety suggests the move is significant since TikTok has served as a “major source of music discovery for several years.”
Since its 2020 launch, Resso has amassed nearly 4 million global subscribers in only three territories, including India, but TikTok didn’t reveal plans to offer TikTok Music in India. Nor did the company share plans for the U.S., although TechCrunch reports that TikTok parent company ByteDance in May 2022 filed a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office application for something called “TikTok Music.”
The application suggests the service may eventually be used to “provide users with podcast and radio broadcast content,” notes TechCrunch, adding that “the addition of podcast content alongside music would make TikTok Music an even bigger competitor to Apple Music and Spotify.”
Because TikTok Music is only marginally less expensive than Spotify Premium in Brazil and Indonesia, it will have to entice subscribers with other value-added features. The social integration with the wildly popular short-form video platform may be enough. In May, TikTok rolled out the #NewMusic global search hub.