The speculation about when TikTok will launch its own music-streaming service can end. It’s today! But TikTok Music is starting in just two countries: Brazil and Indonesia.
That’s not a surprise. They are two of the three countries where TikTok’s parent company ByteDance had launched its existing music service Resso.
Resso will now be shutting down in both countries from 5 September, with its subscribers able to transfer their accounts to TikTok Music in the meantime.
What is TikTok Music? At launch it’s mostly a rebranded version of Resso: a subscription-only service – there’s no free tier – with a big catalogue of music to stream, including downloading it for offline listening. It will be available in mobile-app and desktop versions.
In Brazil a TikTok Music subscription costs R$16.9 ($3.49) a month, while in Indonesia iOS users pay 49,000 rupiah ($3.25) a month, and Android users pay 44,900 a month for the first year, then 49,000.
That means TikTok Music will undercut Spotify in both countries: R$3 a month cheaper in Brazil, and 5,990 rupiah a month cheaper (at the 49,000 price) in Indonesia.
Features ported from Resso include a swipe-down music discovery feed; the ability for listeners to post comments and create collaborative playlists with friends; real-time lyrics (and the ability to search using lyrics); and a Shazam-style ‘Song Catch’ music identification tool.
As on Resso, TikTok Music users can import playlists from other streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.
What’s new? At launch, people can sync their TikTok Music and TikTok accounts “to enjoy your favourite songs”, while there’s also a discovery feature focused on the full versions of tracks that have gone viral on TikTok.
Another difference to Resso (at least in recent months) is the fact that Sony Music’s catalogue will be available to stream in TikTok Music.
Sony pulled its music from Resso last September, but is on board for the new app’s launch alongside fellow major labels Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, and indie licensing agency Merlin.
Sony’s catalogue will also return to Resso today (6 July). It’s a reflection of the work ByteDance has been putting in behind the scenes courting rightsholders for TikTok’s music-streaming expansion.
That work included shutting down Resso’s free tier in May, with low conversion rates – the percentage of free listeners who upgraded to paid subscriptions – reportedly one of the stumbling blocks for ByteDance’s ambitions to take Resso global.
TikTok Music’s tight integration with TikTok is one of its key selling points, although the links only go so far at launch. For example, the videos artists post to TikTok will not appear in TikTok Music.
That seems an obvious addition for the future: surfacing those posts in their TikTok Music profiles, or even in its music discovery feed.
For now, artists’ audiences will not automatically transfer across either: an artist’s followers on TikTok will not automatically follow them on TikTok Music. This also seems like a feature worth prioritising in the coming months.
“We are pleased to introduce TikTok Music, a new kind of service that combines the power of music discovery on TikTok with a best-in-class streaming service,” said TikTok’s global head of music business development Ole Obermann.
“We are excited about the opportunities TikTok Music presents for both music fans and artists, and the great potential it has for driving significant value to the music industry.”
Clearly, to drive significant value, TikTok Music will need to launch in many more countries. When will that happen? There’s no news on that for the moment.
“We are excited about the opportunities for TikTok Music, for music fans, artists and the industry, but we don’t have anything to share on future plans,” said the spokesperson.
That includes India, the third of Resso’s three launch markets alongside Brazil and Indonesia. TikTok Music is not launching there today, so Resso will remain ByteDance’s streaming brand in India for the time being.