Bytedance to Introduce Spotify-like Music App for Overseas Markets
COVID-19 and China
Bytedance Headquarter in Beijing. PHOTO: Caixing

Bytedance, the owner of the world-famous video app “TikTok” is planning to introduce Spotify-like music streaming app for the overseas markets. It has been reported by South China Morning Post that a team consisting of more than 100 people is working to make the app operational as soon as possible. 

The Chinese Unicorn, world’s most valued company with a valuation of almost CNY 314 billion (USD 76 billion), 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, people familiar with the matter told South China Morning Post.

As EqualOcean reported earlier in April, the contract between ByteDance and the record companies such as Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music, etc., will be expiring by the end of this month, Bytedance will have to pay more to renew these deals. TikTok allows users to customize videos with a variety of background sounds including short music sound bites.

With a valuation of USD 29.5 billion and 200 million monthly active users worldwide, has performed rather poorly to turn a profit. The company reported its first-ever operating profit for the quarter ended in December 2018 after 12 years of operation.

The announcement of the music app by Bytedance makes it clear that whatever plans Bytedance has, At least, for now, they are more focused on the international market than the domestic market. This seems like a good move, given that the sheer scale of rivals like Tencent Music services, as well as NetEase Cloud Music. It’ll be easier to win the market in countries where TikTok has already a huge share of the market such as India, Japan, South Korea and so on. 

Bytedance’s most popular apps in its domestic market include Jinri Toutiao, directly translated to “today’s news”, short video app Douyin, and selfie app Faceu. Douyin recorded 250 million daily active users as of January 2019, according to the company, reported South China Morning Post. 

China is stepping up controls over the country’s popular short-video apps as it seeks to cap the number of time children spend on their phones/computers/tablets. From June 2019, all such apps will have to install a “youth mode” feature for parents that can limit what children watch and for how long, according to a note published on the website of the Cyberspace Administration of China. While the regulator didn’t specify a time limit, Bytedance’s Douyin, which is known as TikTok internationally, and Kuaishou both said screen time could be as little as 40 minutes a day.

In the U.S., Bytedance agreed in February to pay a record USD 5.7 million fine to settle claims that one of its apps illegally collected personal information from children. As a result, it said TikTok would direct children under 13 to a similar “youth mode” that restricts content and user interaction.

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