TikTok’s owner has been quietly testing a Spotify competitor

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TikTok has seen a meteoric rise. Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images
  • ByteDance, the $US75 billion company that owns TikTok, has been trialling a new music app called “Resso.”
  • Resso has been rolled out in India and Indonesia, and a spokesperson said it’s still in its beta-testing phase.
  • TikTok has become a big threat to social media giants like Facebook, and has come under intense scrutiny in the US because of its Chinese roots.
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Spotify and Apple Music may have to brace themselves for a new rival.

Over the last six months TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has been testing a music app, Bloomberg reports.

The app is called “Resso,” and has been rolled out in India and Indonesia. India in particular has been a booming market for TikTok, with Indian users making up 31% of the app’s total downloads.

Unlike more mainstream music-streaming apps, Resso displays real-time lyrics alongside songs and allows users to leave comments on individual tracks. According to Bloomberg users can also make music-accompanied gifs and videos, reminiscent of the lip-syncing feature which made TikTok so popular amongst teens.

A spokesperson told Bloomberg the app is still in its beta-testing phase. “We are optimistic about its long-term prospects but we are still very early in the process and only in a limited number of developing markets,” the spokesperson added.

Short-form video app TikTok has become a major threat to dominant US social media companies, most notably Facebook. Now that ByteDance – which was valued at $US75 billion last year – has thrown its weight behind a new music app, dominant music-streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have good reason to worry.

The existential threat TikTok represents to American companies has been compounded by the fact ByteDance is a Chinese firm. US lawmakers have called for an investigation into alleged Chinese state censorship on the platform, and the US army is currently investigating how the app handles users’ data.