Social app TikTok may be at a point in its lifetime where big numbers around its growth are counter-productive – at least in one specific context: licensing negotiations with the music industry. The bigger TikTok gets, the keener rightsholders will be to point out how important music has been to its growth, and why any growth in revenues would be a business built on sand if suitable licensing deals aren’t struck to flow royalties back to the creators of that music.

Anyway, good (or bad) news for TikTok: it was the third most-downloaded app in the world in the first quarter of this year! That’s according to app-analytics firm SensorTower, which places the app behind only WhatsApp and Messenger, but ahead of Facebook and Instagram in its chart measuring downloads on Apple and Google’s app stores globally. A specific figure isn’t given for TikTok, but our reading of the bar-chart puts it not far short of 190m downloads in Q1.

SensorTower does give a figure for iOS downloads – 33m – since TikTok was the most-downloaded app on Apple devices in Q1 ahead of YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. That means a bit more than 150m downloads on Android, reflecting the app’s popularity in markets like India, as well as with younger smartphone owners who are more likely to have cheap Android handsets. Still, TikTok has actually been the most-downloaded iOS app globally for five consecutive quarters now. All useful stats for rightsholders to take to the negotiating table…

There’s also more music interest lower down SensorTower’s rankings. It claims that Spotify was the 11th most-downloaded app globally in Q1 across iOS and Android, with just over 50m downloads – remember, this is app installs not active users. YouTube Music, meanwhile, was 15th with (again, reading a bar-chart without a specific figure) a little over 40m downloads.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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