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TikTok Makers ByteDance Have Finally Launched Their Music Streaming App

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ByteDance, the Chinese tech firm behind global sensation TikTok, has finally unveiled its new music streaming service, Resso. Launched only in the Indian market, for now, the app is being billed as the “world’s first social music streaming app.” Here’s a quick run down of what you need to know about it.

The background

ByteDance have long been rumored to be getting into the music streaming game, a move that makes sense given TikTok’s history as Musical.ly and the app’s ability to send songs and artists viral (hello Lil Nas X).

Interestingly however, Resso seems keen to separate itself from the associations with its massively famous sister app — there’s no real mention of TikTok on its App Store or Google Play pages and no obviously preferential treatment for TikTok link-ups within the app itself.

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The features

“Music is more than simply pressing play,” says a blurb on Resso’s landing page, adding that the app “lets you express and connect through the tracks you love and the ones you’re about to discover.”

So what does that really mean? Well, the app aims to build shareability and social features into its music streaming service. Users can create videos and GIFs inspired by the music and share them with friends and followers, for example.

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The app also has an option for automatically scrolling song lyrics, something that’s common to a lot of Chinese music streaming services, and allows you to highlight your favorite lines to send to others. It also comes with many of the features you’d expect from something billing itself as a “social music app,” such as shareable playlists and the ability to comment on tracks.

It’s free to download, but users can get rid of the ads and up the streaming quality via a series of paid tiers — similar to the kind of plans Spotify users will be familiar with.

What’s missing?

But despite all the fanfare, there are some notable omissions in the app’s music library. Resso has deals with Sony, Warner, Merlin and Beggars as well as an array of key Indian record labels, but missing from the list is Universal — the same Universal that is now 10% owned by ByteDance’s rival Tencent, the makers of WeChat.

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Universal Music Group artists include Taylor Swift, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lady Gaga, and The Beatles. It’s not clear at present whether a deal between UMG and Resso will be forthcoming or if this will be a permanent gap in the app’s song catalogue.

What’s next?

Global domination? Maybe. But more likely at least in the short-term are launches for Resso in Indonesia (where it’s currently in test mode) and Brazil. The Indian market should also prove an interesting testing ground for the app, given its music catalogue isn’t significantly different to those offered by rival services — will the emphasis on Resso’s social features pay off?

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.