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Will TikTok Owner ByteDance’s Music Streaming App Drive India’s Online Music Market?

Will TikTok Owner ByteDance’s Music Streaming App Drive India’s Online Music Market?

ByteDance is reportedly in talks with music labels to launch online music streaming

The service will be launched next month, first in India, Indonesia and Brazil followed by the US

New players who can offer streaming apps with differentiated features will help expand the market in India, says expert

TikTok is reportedly in talks with big music labels to enter the online music streaming space. The move is expected to drive the market for music streaming in India, say experts.

According to media reports, the short video app TikTok is in talks with Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music for global licensing deals to include their songs to its new music subscription service.

ByteDance Technology Co Ltd, the parent company of TikTok, is reportedly launching the music streaming service in December 2019. The idea is to launch it in emerging markets including India, Indonesia and Brazil initially, before entering the United States.

The app will have on-demand music along with a library of short video clips for listeners to search through and sync to songs as they listen.

In India, TikTok will be competing with the likes of Spotify, JioSaavn and Gaana. Jehil Thakkar, head of media and entertainment partner at Deloitte India, told Livemint that online music market in India is quite nascent with immense potential and a lot of headroom. “I think new players that can offer streaming apps with differentiated features will eventually help expand the market. Any expansion works well for the copyright holders which are the music labels,” he said.

Elaborating further, he said that India is in a phase where there’s still habit formation going on with people moving away from the traditional way of consuming music and choosing streaming. He also added that India promises a big scope for TikTok as while metros have adapted well small-town India still has to move in that direction.

How TikTok Repositioned Itself In India

The ByteDance-owned short video platform had previously gained media attention globally for its ban issued by the Madras High Court. Though the ban was lifted 20 days later, it got attention from various corners questioning the need for censorship. The ban was issued on the grounds that the app encouraged the sharing of pornography and obscenity.

Immediately after this ban, the company started reworking on its brand image in India. It went into a damage control mode by popularising bite-sized e-learning content across India. More than 10 Mn pieces of content were created and shared using the #EduTok hashtag. The company said that since its launch this summer the videos grabbed around 48.7 Bn views and was shared 1.8 Bn times on TikTok

The topics being covered range from subjective educational lessons through edtech platforms to videos that offer tips on health and mental awareness, and motivational talks.

Interestingly, the social video app TikTok touched 1.5 Bn downloads worldwide on the App Store and Google Play recently and saw India leading the chart with 466.8 Mn installs, which is about 31 percent of all installs.

According to a report released by analytics company SensorTower, TikTok was downloaded 614 Mn times this year making it the third-most downloaded non-gaming app of the year, behind WhatsApp at the top with 707.4 Mn downloads and Facebook Messenger at second with 636.2 Mn.

Though TikTok is available in around 150 markets, maximum downloads come from India. The format, videos built around music, seems to have clicked well with Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities and rural population in urban India as well. Since the format is also not time-bound, the content stays relevant.