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ByteDance, TikTok’s Parent Firm, Seems to Have Bought an AI Music Startup
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TikTok’s parent firm ByteDance (字节跳动) may have acquired Jukedeck, an artificial intelligence music startup from the U.K., according to Music Ally.

Ed Newton-Rex, founder and CEO of the London-based music startup, positions himself as director of ByteDance’s AI Lab. Several other employees have also changed their profiles to be ByteDance employees.

According to Crunchbase, the “acquisition” took place on July 23, but both ByteDance and Jukedeck have not made any related statements as of press time.

Jukedeck’s self-developed automatic music generation tool can customize the length and tempo of the music generated. Once applied to TikTok, the tool is sure to boost both the quantity and quality of the platform’s short videos, given that all TikTok-style short videos need to sync up with music.

Another advantage of this so-called acquisition may be less licensing problems thereafter. In the very beginning, TikTok was criticized by abusing unlicensed music. Till now the copyright remains a headache for the short video giant, as well as its sister companies. Today Toutiao (头条) and another two short video platforms, all of which belong to ByteDance, were banned from live-streaming Tencent games.

Rumor has it that TikTok wants to compete with Tencent for licenses from major record labels like Universal Music Group this summer, pouring hundreds of millions of yuan into music copyright war. But Jukedeck offers TikTok a more economic solution.

Founded in 2012, Jukedeck was invested by Cambridge Innovation Capital in 2015, with an amount of UKP 2 million (around USD 2.49 million). The company’s core product is the self-developed AI composer which, as the founder has said, can “democratize” and “personalize” music writing.

At present, Jukedeck’s website is offline, but on its homepage there is a message saying “We can’t tell you more just yet, but we’re looking forward to continuing to fuel creativity using musical AI!”. Apparently, the startup is to fuel short video creativity this time.

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