Beijing-based Bytedance, operator of the TikTok short video platform, is working on a Spotify-like music streaming app for overseas markets, according to people familiar with the matter.
Bytedance plans to launch the music app “soon”, said one of the people, declining to be named because the information is private. Currently there are more than 100 people working on it, according to the person.
A Bytedance spokeswoman said the company had no comment.
The Chinese company, currently the world’s most valuable unicorn with a valuation of US$76bil (RM313.72bil), does not think the need for an IPO is as pressing as it was last year, sources previously told the South China Morning Post. A public listing would greatly increase scrutiny of the huge amounts of cash needed to fund its global expansion plans, they said.
Launching a music-streaming app would burn more cash to pay for digital rights to the music.
Major music labels Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music have asked Bytedance to pay more when their current music licensing deals for TikTok expire in a few weeks, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported last week. TikTok allows users to customise videos with a variety of effects, including adding short music sound bites.
Spotify, with 207 million monthly active users worldwide, has struggled to turn a profit. The Swedish music streaming service reported its first-ever operating profit for the quarter ended December after 12 years of operation.
Bytedance’s most popular apps in its domestic market include news aggregator Jinri Toutiao (meaning “today’s headlines”), short video app Douyin, and selfie app Faceu. Douyin amassed 250 million daily active users as of this January, according to the company.
Bytedance has also developed several apps for international markets, including short video platform TikTok, news aggregator Topbuzz, and office messaging and efficiency app Lark. – South China Morning Post