Bytedance, owner of popular short-video platform TikTok, today launched its music streaming service called Resso. The app will take on homegrown competitors like Gaana and JioSaavn, alongside global giants in the space like Spotify and Apple Music.
While Resso is being first launched in India, Hari Nair, Head of Music Content and Partnership at Resso India said the idea is to be a global music streaming platform. The app wants to differentiate itself from others by taking elements from TikTok, which add a social aspect to music streaming.
Resso has a proprietary recommendation algorithm inside, which recommends playlists created by one user to others. The app’s user interface follows the same swipe up-down model as TikTok, and it has a feature called “vibes", which allows users to add their own GIFs, images and videos to the platform, which will then be seen by others.
So, unlike most platforms, album art isn’t the only artwork you will see while playing music. Since Resso allows users to generate content for the Vibes feature, it has a content moderation team that decides what can be uploaded. The company didn’t share how many people it has in this team.
While Resso calls itself the world’s first social streaming platform, others have tried adding social elements before. Pandora and Rdio, two of the earliest and failed music streaming platforms were known for trying to get users to interact on the platform.
The objective seems to be to keep a user on the app while listening to music. Nair said that Resso wants to turn music listening from a “passive to an active experience". Resso wants people to open the app, look at vibes and interact with the platform. What’s unclear is why it wants to do so.
According to Nair, the company doesn’t plan to add advertisements to the platform anytime soon. He said monetisation plans haven’t been discussed right now and the focus is solely on user acquisition. But Resso does have a paid tier (Rs. 99 per month for Android and Rs. 119 per month for iOS), which means there will be restrictions for free users in future.
Music streaming services, especially in India, primarily earn from in-stream advertisements at the moment. Gaana, for example, places banner ads on the platform other than the voice ads playing between songs. In an interaction with Mint, Prashan Agarwal, Gaana CEO, said that less than a minute of ads are played on streaming services per hour of listening, which is a very small number.
If Resso succeeds in having users stick to the platform and actually interact with the service, then it could open up new ad revenue streams. For instance, the vibes feature could be used to place ads on the platform, just like Instagram places ads between Stories. Resso also lets users comment on others Vibes, which potentially increases the overall time a user spends on the app.
Nair said it’ll be at least a year or two before Indian users start before paying for streaming services, and Resso has no plans to start putting ads on the platforms at least in the short run.