“TikTok Music” app could take on Spotify and Apple: trademark filings

  • TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has filed a trademark application for a service called “TikTok Music.”
  • The service could feature an app that allows users to buy, play, share and download music.
  • ByteDance already runs a separate music streaming app called Resso in three markets.

TikTok is a go-to platform for discovering new music, regularly launching songs into the mainstream and often to the top of charts like the Billboard 100 and Spotify Viral 50. Now the company appears to be getting closer to launching a music service. Standalone music streaming of its own.

Its parent company ByteDance filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May for “TikTok Music,” applying the phrase to a variety of goods and services, including a mobile app that would let users “to buy, play, share, download music, songs, albums, lyrics.”

Other possible use cases for “TikTok Music” in ByteDance’s app include an app that would allow users to “live stream audio and video” as well as the ability to “edit and upload photos as cover of playlists” and “comment on music, songs and albums.”

ByteDance first filed its “TikTok Music” trademark application in Australia in November, then filed in the United States on May 9.

The idea that ByteDance would launch a standalone “TikTok Music” streaming service in the United States to compete with players like Spotify and Apple Music is not without merit. It already runs a streaming app called Resso in three markets – India, Brazil and Indonesia – which has taken market share from other streamers over the past year.

TikTok Music Could Follow ByteDance Resso’s Music Streaming App Plan

It’s easy to see a scenario where the company could try to convert its existing TikTok user base into paid music subscribers. ByteDance followed this exact strategy to expand Resso in Brazil, adding a button for TikTok users to click on the Resso app when they came across a song they wanted to hear in full, The Information reported. The company intended to use TikTok as a marketing tool for Resso in India before the app was banned in June 2020 amid a geopolitical dispute between India and China, two people told Insider. former Resso employees.

TikTok did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on its plans for the “TikTok Music” brand.

But by applying in the United States, he may have to demonstrate that he actually uses the mark for his specified services or that he has a real intention (in good faith) to use it in connection with the sale of a product, according to three trademark law experts.

“As a rule, a company the size of TikTok or ByteDance will only file trademark applications for items it is seriously considering,” trademark attorney Josh Gerben of the law firm Gerben told Insider. “If you look back into the trademark filings of any big company, you’ll see the ones they filed that never materialized. But often they do. And often it’s something on which they work seriously.”

ByteDance has listed a slew of potential use cases for the “TikTok Music” brand, including an app that allows users “to live stream audio and video interactive multimedia programming in entertainment, fashion, sport and news”, among its goods and services.

The move is typical for a tech company, Michelle Cooke, partner and co-head of the media and entertainment industry division at law firm Arent Fox Schiff, told Insider.

“As a tech company, your options are quite broad,” Cooke said. “If you look at some of the industry leaders and how they have expanded into a wide range of goods, products and services that involve digital assets and the form in which they can come, your ability to say as a business technology, ‘I intend in good faith to be expansive’ – the plan is there.”

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