China blast for TikTok deal as ‘dirty and underhanded trick’

President Trump may have tentatively approved TikTok’s deal to avoid a ban in the US, but what will the Chinese government make of it? Judging by state-media outlet China Daily’s blistering editorial column this morning – title: ‘No disguising proposed TikTok deal is a dirty and underhanded trick’ – the omens aren’t good. “What the United States has done […]

TikTok US ban postponed as Trump approves Oracle/Walmart deal

It’s been another topsy-turvy weekend in the US for TikTok. On Friday, the Department of Commerce announced that as of 20 September (Sunday) US app stores would be banned from making the app available to download, or for it to be updated for existing users. Yet on Saturday, the department announced that “in the light of recent positive developments” […]

The latest TikTok twist: plans for a standalone company?

The deadline is approaching for TikTok to be sold, shut down, or find an alternative solution that satisfies President Trump’s administration. After tech firm Oracle said it was part of a proposal submitted to the administration as a “trusted technology provider”, more details have emerged of the plan. “ByteDance will place TikTok’s global business in […]

TikTok gets five-day premiere of David Guetta and Sia’s Let’s Love

A moment of relief for TikTok executives: a music story making headlines, rather than the latest revelation about the company’s potential sale or ban in the US. TikTok is getting a “five-day premiere” of the new single from David Guetta and Sia, and it’s a useful pointer to how the app is developing as a […]

Trump sets new deadline of 12 November for TikTok US sale

Earlier this month, President Trump set a 45-day deadline after which transactions by US companies with ByteDance or Tencent’s WeChat would be banned. That was seen as a deadline for a sale of TikTok’s US operations, but now a new executive order from the president has set a longer deadline for that. ByteDance has been ordered do divest all […]

Separating TikTok from ByteDance won’t be done in 45 days

Who’d have thought it: untangling a company from its parent corporation takes time. Reuters is reporting that if Microsoft wants to buy TikTok within President Trump’s 45-day deadline, it will surely have to negotiate more time to actually separate the social app from ByteDance. “A technically complex endeavor that could test the patience of President Donald Trump’s […]

Executive order bans US transactions with ByteDance… and Tencent

As promised, President Trump has signed an executive order banning all transactions by US companies with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. However, a separate order extends the ban to messaging app WeChat AND its parent company Tencent – including “any subsidiary of that entity”. Strap yourselves in. Given Tencent’s web of investments in and from music industry […]

Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok in US and other countries

Events have moved fast since Friday for TikTok’s business in the US, it’s fair to say. We’ll start with the latest news: confirmation from Microsoft that it’s in talks about an acquisition of TikTok in the US and certain other countries, with a mid-September deadline to reach an agreement with the app’s parent company ByteDance […]

After India ban, TikTok could face further sanctions in US

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have been hit by a ban in India as part of a wider crackdown on apps of Chinese origin. But there may be trouble brewing for the companies in the US, too, due both to the political jockeying around hardball trade negotiations between the US and China, and specific […]

ByteDance warns of $6bn lost revenue from India apps ban

There’s a big, startling figure in the latest story about the Indian government’s decision to ban 59 Chinese-origin apps, including TikTok. “An insider at TikTok parent ByteDance is telling Caixin the ban could come with a heavy price tag, costing the company more than $6 billion in lost revenue — a sum greater than all […]

ByteDance and TikTok revenues under the microscope again

The rise of TikTok, and the assorted controversies around it, have meant there’s a lot more scrutiny of the economics of the app and its parent company ByteDance. Which is welcome for the music industry, as rightsholders go into licensing negotiations keen to strike as advantageous deals as possible. There are two new bouts of […]

Bytedance appoints Disney+ boss Kevin Mayer as TikTok CEO

TikTok has a new boss, and he’s a media-industry heavyweight. Kevin Mayer is joining TikTok’s parent company Bytedance from Disney, where he was most recently chairman of direct-to-consumer and international – a key role overseeing the launch of the Disney+ video streaming service. Mayer will be chief operating officer of Bytedance, leading “music, gaming, Helo, […]

Bytedance’s Resso launches in India but can it drive subscriptions?

A much-hyped freemium music service has launched in India, but without one of the world’s major music companies. Déjà vu, anyone? Almost exactly a year on from Spotify’s debut in India amid a dispute with publisher Warner Chappell, Bytedance has officially launched its widely-anticipated Resso streaming service in India. There’s no legal battle this time, but Universal […]

Report suggests Bytedance set for big push into mobile games

Fresh from test-launching its Resso music-streaming service, Bytedance is set to expand into another sector that will bring it into direct competition with fellow Chinese firm Tencent. That sector is mobile gaming, which drives huge revenues for Tencent already. Bloomberg reports that Bytedance has “rapidly built a full-fledged gaming division to spearhead its maiden foray into hardcore […]

Bytedance hires former Tencent Music exec for Douyin role

Bytedance’s latest music hire will be focusing on its Douyin short-video app in China – the Chinese version of TikTok. The company has recruited Deng Linhai to lead Douyin’s music business, according to news site Technode. The former operations director at Tencent Music Entertainment is taking over from Douyin’s former music boss Zhu Jie, who left the […]

We’ve tested Bytedance’s Resso app: here are our first impressions

Earlier this month, we reported on Resso, the new music-streaming app that TikTok’s parent company Bytedance is testing in India and Indonesia. We asked journalist Amit Gurbaxani, who has written regularly for Music Ally about the music industry in India, to try the app and offer his first impressions. “The most distinct thing about Resso, […]

Bytedance tests music-streaming app Resso in India and Indonesia

Bytedance has begun testing its new music-streaming service Resso in India and Indonesia. Music Ally received a tip-off yesterday about the app’s availability, and began researching it, but since then Bloomberg has published a report claiming that the new app has been downloaded 27k times since its stealthy launch, but also suggesting that Resso has […]

Former WMG exec Ole Obermann confirms new role at TikTok

Ole Obermann was Warner Music Group’s chief digital officer until June 2019, when he left the company after reportedly declining to renew his contract. Recent gossip had suggested that Obermann was joining TikTok and/or its parent company Bytedance in a key music role. And lo: Obermann has now confirmed that he has joined the companies as global […]

Bytedance streaming service could launch ‘as soon as next month’

Could the music industry be in for an early Christmas present of a new streaming service this year? The Financial Times has reported that Bytedance’s long-rumoured music-streaming service “aims to launch as soon as next month, initially in emerging markets such as India, Indonesia and Brazil, before a future opening in the US”. There have been regular […]

Amid TikTok dispute, Bytedance hired ICE’s head of rights & repertoire

TikTok has referred licensing hub ICE and its three founders – PRS for Music, GEMA and STIM – to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over licensing terms. The social app will have some expert help in its corner, it turns out. “Exciting times ahead in a truly inspiring company! Thank you TikTok / […]

TikTok issues statement on its UK Copyright Tribunal music-licensing referral

Yesterday, Music Ally broke the news that social app TikTok has referred three collecting societies – PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA – and their joint-venture licensing hub ICE to the UK’s Copyright Tribunal, in a dispute over music-licensing terms. ICE issued a statement yesterday on the case, but this morning TikTok has also sent […]

AI-music startup Jukedeck’s CEO now runs the AI Lab of TikTok owner Bytedance

Ed Newton-Rex was the founder and CEO of Jukedeck, one of the first startups to develop a product for AI-generated music. We say ‘was’ because since April 2019, he has been working for TikTok’s parent company Bytedance as director of its AI Lab, according to his recently-updated LinkedIn profile. That would explain recent rumours that […]

Key execs exit Bytedance’s China music-business team

There appear to be changes afoot in the music team at Chinese technology firm Bytedance, with reports in China that one of its key executives, Zhu Jie, has quietly left the company. She was responsible for the music activities of Bytedance’s Douyin and Volcanic Video properties, although not for TikTok globally. Music Ally understands that Song Yubin, […]

Report: Bytedance has Indian label deals for new music service

New details have emerged on TikTok’s parent company Bytedance’s plans to launch its own music-streaming service. Bloomberg reports that the new service will launch this autumn “in a handful of territories, mostly poorer countries where paid services have yet to garner large audiences”. The countries aren’t named, but one clue comes from the news that Bytedance has […]

TikTok parent Bytedance launches Feiliao messaging app

TikTok may be taking over the western world (in terms of downloads at least, as we reported last week) but its parent company Bytedance has just launched a new app in China. It’s called Feiliao, although TechCrunch reports the English-language version of the name is ‘Flipchat’. “Here are your familiar chat, audio and video calls. In […]

Report: TikTok’s parent company lost $1.2bn in 2018

The recent $5.7m settlement between TikTok and the US Federal Trade Commission was the biggest ever fine in a child-privacy case. But the amount pales next to the amount TikTok’s parent company Bytedance lost in 2018, according to a report by tech site The Information. It claims that Bytedance’s losses were $1.2bn last year, after making […]

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