Chinese media giant and parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, is looking to expand its operations in India with an entry into the music streaming industry. A Bloomberg report citing people familiar with the matter said that ByteDance is developing a paid music service, with a launch planned as early as fall in a few of its territories.
The first report of this music streaming plans came in April when South China Morning Post said ByteDance had plans of launching the music app soon and has 100 people working on it.
The company has reportedly initiated talks with Indian music label giants, T-Series and Times Music for licenses. However, it has yet to secure rights from the world’s three largest music groups: Universal, Warner, and Sony.
One of the hurdles for ByteDance in securing music rights from global labels is that they credit their songs with boosting TikTok’s popularity, and have demanded hundreds of millions of dollars to renew their current contracts. Since it is a new agreement for the proposed music streaming app, these music companies might not grant the rights for the paid music service without sorting out the rights for TikTok.
The new music streaming app is expected to include on-demand songs and videos. The company has reportedly given demonstrations to many music industry executives. Further, it is also looking to convert users of its popular video making app TikTok into paying customers.
The Indian music industry has been ripe with disruption as the potential of the market has expanded horizons. While Gaana and JioSaavn have the first mover advantage, the latest entrants in the music streaming market such as global giants — YouTube Music and Spotify have deep pockets.
Both the foreign and domestic music streaming services are stepping up their game as a KPMG report from 2015 suggests that India’s recorded music business is set to nearly double to INR 18.9 billion ($300 Mn) by the end of this year.