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India is blocking TikTok's owner from offering music streaming as the company looks to build a Spotify competitor

TikTok logo in front of a orange background with music notes
TikTok currently operates a music-streaming app, TikTok Music, in five markets.TikTok, Tyler Le/Insider
  • TikTok's owner is shuttering its music app Resso in India in response to government orders.

  • The move comes as TikTok is rolling out a separate music app in five countries.

  • TikTok was banned in India in 2020 amid a political dispute with China.

TikTok's parent company ByteDance is shutting down its music-streaming app Resso in India at the end of this month, a company spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.

The move comes after the Indian government demanded in December that Apple and Google remove Resso from app stores.

"Unfortunately, owing to local market conditions, we can no longer continue to serve users of Resso in India," a ByteDance spokesperson told BI. "We have therefore taken the decision to shut down Resso and its associated operations on January 31st. Users will be offered a refund of their remaining subscription fees."

India was the last market where Resso operated after the company sunsetted the music-subscription service in Brazil and Indonesia to launch another streaming endeavor in those countries, called TikTok Music. The app blends some of the social features of TikTok with music streaming. TikTok Music, also available in Australia, Mexico, and Singapore, runs independently from Resso. The company hasn't announced plans to roll out TikTok Music in India.

TikTok has been banned in India since 2020, when the government boxed out dozens of China-affiliated apps amid a geopolitical scuffle with the country. Given that it has the same corporate owner as TikTok, how Resso managed to dodge the ban for several years remains a mystery.

TikTok's removal from India doesn't seem to have curtailed the app's growth globally, as the company announced in September 2021 that it had crossed 1 billion users.

While TikTok is now effectively shut out of one of the most populous markets for music streaming, the company still has plenty of room to expand its TikTok Music subscription service as it competes with incumbents like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. The company has not announced plans to roll out TikTok Music in the US, but ByteDance filed in May 2022 a trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the service, BI first reported.

The shuttering of Resso comes at an interesting moment for TikTok, which has been flexing its influence in the music industry outside the confines of its app. Beyond offering a streaming service in five markets, the company hosted in December a sold-out live music event in Mesa, Arizona, featuring artists including Cardi B and Peso Pluma. TikTok also offers artist services via its SoundOn division and works with SiriusXM on a "TikTok Radio" station.

An executive on TikTok's music team told BI in December that the company aims to build new features to make artists' lives easier.

"We want to maximize the amount of time artists have to do what artists do and make it as easy for them as possible," said Paul Hourican, TikTok's global head of music partnerships and programming.

Indian business publisher Moneycontrol first reported the news of Resso's planned shutdown.

Representatives for the Indian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

Read the original article on Business Insider