TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, filed a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office in May for a service called “TikTok Music.” First spotted by Business Insider, the filing indicates that the trademark could be applied to a mobile app that would allow users to buy, stream, share and download music.
The short-form video app is already a popular tool for music discovery, and can often make songs rise in popularity after they’re used in viral videos and trends. A report released by the company last year suggested that 175 songs that trended on the short video platform ended up on the Billboard 100 chart. Additionally, a recent report released by a UK-based music investor suggesting that songs that are popular on TikTok generate additional views on YouTube and are streamed on other platforms, such as Spotify.
While TikTok makes these songs popular, it doesn’t have its own music streaming platform, at least in the US, to monetize them. Instead, users turn to popular services like Spotify or Apple Music to stream their favorite TikTok songs. However, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, operates a music streaming service called Resso in India, Brazil and Indonesia, and we understand that it has previously considered bringing the service to more markets.
A former ByteDance employee told TechCrunch that the company had considered launching Resso in several global markets under the “TikTok Music” moniker, in fact. Specifically, it had been considering launches in mature markets such as the UK and Australia, the source said.
Resso’s app could be a viable threat to existing US streamers given its close ties to TikTok and its social media aspects. Resso currently offers a TikTok-like user interface where users can skip through songs by scrolling up and down. It also has the option to comment on songs and albums and edit the cover of users’ playlists, similar to what TikTok Music’s trademark suggests.
Mobile data indicates that the app has seen solid growth in its existing markets. According to analytics firm SensorTower, the company saw 42.3 million downloads from the App Store and Google Play from January to May this year, a 19% year-over-year growth over the same period. The music streaming app has had 184 million downloads in its lifetime.
ByteDance’s filing lists numerous instances of use of the TikTok Music trademark. A use case listed in the “TikTok Music” presentation includes an app that would allow users to stream audio and video live, along with the option to “edit and upload photos as playlist covers.” The app would also allow users to leave comments about music, songs and albums, according to the filing. Another use case suggests that the service could be used to “broadcast live interactive audio and video media programming in the fields of entertainment, fashion, sports and current events.” The filing also suggests that the app could be used to “provide users with podcast and radio broadcast content.” Adding podcast content alongside music would make TikTok Music an even bigger competitor to Apple Music and Spotify.
News of TikTok’s potential music streaming service comes as the company launched its own music marketing and distribution platform, SoundOn, a few months ago to help more artists get their music heard. The platform allows artists to upload their music directly to TikTok and Resso, in addition to global streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer and Tencent’s Joox. By launching its own music streaming service alongside SoundOn, TikTok could offer a complete solution for both listeners and artists in the United States.
According to Sensor Tower, TikTok has dominated the short-form video market and was the first non-Meta app to reach three billion downloads worldwide. Its growth has caused the likes of Instagram and YouTube to rethink their platforms and business approaches due to the threat they face from the short-form video app. This makes their plans to enter the music streaming space a potential threat to the incumbents.
Still, it’s worth noting that TikTok hasn’t proven successful in translating all of its services to new markets. The company, for example, recently shut down its UK shopping service after a disastrous launch and layoffs. TikTok employees in the UK had alleged a toxic work culture and labor law violations. That could delay plans to bring other services, including Resso, a service run by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, to the United States or other regions.
ByteDance and TikTok did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.