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TikTok May Have a Music App in the Works

TikTok, known for viral music trends, applied for a music service trademark -- potentially taking on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music.

TikTok logo on a phone screen
Sarah Tew/CNET

A TikTok Music app may in development for the US market, according to a filing made by ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

As earlier reported by Business Insider, ByteDance filed a trademark application with the USPTO on May 9. The application lists a variety of potential goods and services, including "allowing users to purchase, play, share, download music, songs, albums, [and] lyrics," as well as "live stream audio and video interactive media programming in the field of entertainment, fashion, sports and current events."

The application also lists some potential social functions for the app, including the ability to "comment" on songs and albums, share lyrics and quotes, a karaoke function and sending messages and multimedia among users.

While the trademark filing is new to the US, the idea of a TikTok-adjacent streaming service isn't. ByteDance already has a music streaming app called Resso, which is available in India, Brazil and Indonesia. The streaming app incorporates many of the potential social elements that could be a part of TikTok Music, like sharing lyric images, commenting on tracks and sharing playlists.

According to the Patent and Trademark Office, an examining attorney will be assigned to the trademark application approximately six months after the filing date, meaning the application would likely be looked at in early November.

While exact development and release plans for the app are unclear, a TikTok Music service could complement the impact the main app is already having in the music industry. TikTok's short-form videos regularly spell out meteoric fame for songs and musicians, with tracks like Old Town Road by Lil Nas X, Stay by the Kid Laroi and Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo all becoming viral sensations on the app before charting on Billboard. TikTok could use the music interest of its existing users as an on-ramp to a new service. 

But TikTok's surging growth may not necessarily translate to a disruptively popular music service. YouTube, the world's biggest source for online video, is the go-to place to watch music videos, but after years of operating its own music-streaming service, YouTube Music's share of global streaming-music customers is still a fraction of Spotify's. YouTube, which dominates global music listening online because so many people go there to "listen" to music videos, has more than 2 billion monthly active users; TikTok has more than 1 billion. 

TikTok and ByteDance didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.