ByteDance, the Chinese firm behind the wildly popular TikTok is preparing to launch a competitor to Spotify and Apple Music in the streaming space, according to a new report.

The Financial Times reported that the company is currently talking to large record companies, among them Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music, about licensing their content on the new subscription service, sources familiar with the matter told the paper.

It adds to a story first surfaced by Bloomberg and TechCrunch in May, which reported that the company was working on a streaming service in a bid to grow in emerging markets. Now, the FT reports, the new service could debut as soon as next month, beginning in India, Brazil, and Indonesia, corroborating the earlier reports.

Since ByteDance bought the lip-syncing social media service in 2017, and then merged its user accounts with TikTok in 2018, music has been extremely important to the core experience of the more than one billion users of the app. The content most-commonly associated with TikTok is often user-generated, with creators lip-syncing, dancing, or performing to the tune of popular songs. As such, ByteDance hopes that UGC will be its differentiator from rival services.

On top of an on-demand music library, the new service is reported to have short videos capable of syncing with the current song, music executives who have seen demos of the service told the FT. Record companies are, apparently, quite interested in a new entrant in a market where giants – Amazon, Apple, and Spotify – pay to host similar collections of music.

Though it does not yet have a name, the service is expected to be priced more competitively than both Apple Music and Spotify, at less than $10 a month. In emerging markets, however, subscriptions have yet to take off, as many of the services (chief among them Tencent) subsist from ad-supported services that are free to the consumer. ByteDance has a fierce competitor in its national rival, but an extensive global footprint through which to begin.

The report follows news of Sensor Tower data that shows TikTok has been downloaded 1.5 billion times, with as many of 614 million of those downloads coming this year, a 6% year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, the app has also drawn political scrutiny in the US, where some legislators are concerned that American data is being sent back to China.

Sourced from the Financial Times, TechCrunch, CNET