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Is TikTok readying a serious rival for Apple Music and Spotify?

Could TikTok Music be a serious rival for Apple Music and Spotify?
(Image credit: TikTok)

Look out Spotify and Apple Music – Gen-Z video app TikTok is rumoured to be working on a music streaming service. 

A trademark application attributed to Byte Dance – TikTok's parent company – refers to a service called "TikTok Music". The trademark, which was spotted by Business Insider, was submitted in May and covers "a variety of goods and services" including "a mobile app that would allow users to purchase, play, share, download music, songs, albums, lyrics."

Major tech companies file patent applications all the time, and there's no official confirmation that Tik Tok is planning an assault on the best music streaming services. But when you consider that 75% of TikTok users say they discover new artists on the platform, it doesn't seem beyond the realms of possibility.

TikTok could provide serious competition to the likes of Spotify. The Chinese social media giant is said to be the only non-Facebook app to surpass 3 billion downloads globally, and some record companies are even scheduling releases around viral TikTok videos, which can drive sales through the roof.

In the patent, ByteDance apparently describes the app as offering "advertising services", which suggests that TikTok Music, if it ever launches, could offer a free, ad-supported tier – just like Spotify. Again, we'll have to wait and see. Any launch could be a while off and launching such an app won't necessarily be plain-sailing.

TikTok amassed nearly $4 billion in revenue in 2021, mostly from advertising, and is projected to hit $12 billion this year, surpassing rivals such as Twitter and Snapchat. But it's also attracted the attention of the US regulator the FCC, which recently called on Google and Facebook to ban TikTok. We're interested to see how things develop...

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Tom Bailey

Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.