Bytedance is in talks with the world’s largest record labels to use their songs on its new music subscription service, taking the TikTok and Douyin owner one step closer to a direct rivalry with paid music heavyweights such as Apple and Spotify, the Financial Times reported.

Why it matters: Bytedance has been actively developing its paid music service targeting emerging markets amid a stalemate with major global music labels that seek higher royalties than the flat fee in the “tens of millions of dollars” the company currently pays.

Details: Bytedance is negotiating with Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music.

  • Bytedance is looking to launch the unnamed product as early as next month in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, and Brazil, after which it could enter the US market, according to people briefed on the plans.
  • The music streaming app would also include a library of short video clips that users can synch to songs and then share with friends.
  • The music app is expected to be priced lower than the $10 per month charged by Spotify and Apple.
  • TikTok declined to comment when reached by TechNode on Monday.

Context: Bytedance has been building an online music platform named “Yinyuebang,” which currently has a library of 26 songs popular on Douyin. It is unclear, however, whether the platform is the same music streaming product for emerging markets or a separate product for the domestic market.

  • Artists in Douyin’s independent artist support program created the 26 songs, which are fully owned by the short video platform.
  • Prior to Yinyuebang, Bytedance also made moves to promote and sign more artists, such as the talent search in South Korea and Japan it kicked off in April to discover and support independent musicians. In July, it acquired UK artificial intelligence music startup Jukedeck.

Bytedance has reportedly acquired UK music AI startup, Jukedeck

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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