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TikTok owner plans music streaming service after passing 1.5 billion downloads

Anthony Cuthbertson
The logo of TikTok, a short-form video-sharing app that has proved wildly popular in 2018 and 2019: AFP/Getty

The Chinese firm behind the viral app TikTok plans to launch a music streaming service to rival Spotify and Apple Music, according to reports.

ByteDance could unveil the new platform before the end of the year, the Financial Times reported, with music executives keen to monetise the free-to-use video-sharing app.

The firm is already discussing global licensing deals with major labels, including Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music, the paper reported.

It is expected to launch in emerging markets like Brazil, India and Indonesia, but could eventually be rolled out in the US and Europe.

News that the social media phenomenon is considering its own streaming service prompted shares of Spotify and Tencent Music to drop on Monday.

No name has been given to the new streaming service, though it is believed to support video and will integrate with the existing TikTok app.

TikTok has experienced huge growth since launching in 2016, with recent figures from app analytics site Sensor Tower revealing that it has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times through Apple's App Store and Google Play.

Its popularity, especially among younger users, is seen as an existential threat to existing social media firms like Facebook.

In a staff meeting earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined his "plan of attack" for dealing with its Chinese rival, involving new features within its suite of apps.

Last week, Facebook-owned Instagram unveiled a new tool called Reels that mimics some of TikTok's most popular features.

ByteDance has attempted to capitalise on TikTok's success in recent months through the launch of new products and services.

Earlier this month, ByteDance unveiled its first ever smartphone called the Smartisan Nut Pro 3, which features high-end specs to rival devices from established giants Apple and Samsung.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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