/ByteDance quietly racks up users for its music streaming app in global push as TikTok sale looms

ByteDance quietly racks up users for its music streaming app in global push as TikTok sale looms

ByteDance staff walk past the ByteDance headquarters building in Beijing on July 8, 2020.
Greg Baker | AFP | Getty Images

China’s ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, has quietly been racking up users for its music streaming service Resso, as it continues to expand its international presence despite ongoing U.S. pressure. 

The app, which was formally released in India and Indonesia in March, now has 15.2 million total installs on the App Store and Google Play, according to data from Sensor Tower.

From Aug. 1 to Aug. 30, the app reached about 3.6 million installs from first-time users around the world. This is up 64% from the 2.2 million installs the app saw from July 1 to July 30.

India is Resso’s largest market and accounts for 65% of the app’s total installs, while 34% are from Indonesia. The remainder of the downloads came from Brazil, where it launched earlier this month.

It’s unclear how many of those installs have resulted in paying and returning users. 

ByteDance was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC. 

U.S. pressure

ByteDance continues to push for growth in its international business, despite the pressure it has faced from the U.S. government which has threatened to ban TikTok if it doesn’t sell to an American company by Sept. 20

TikTok has picked a bidder with the duo of Microsoft and Walmart, and a separate contender Oracle, as the front runners, people familiar with the situation told CNBC

The deal has been complicated, however, by China updating its list of technologies subject to export restrictions —including a provision which could require ByteDance to obtain a license from Beijing before exporting TikTok-related technology. ByteDance said on Sunday that “the company will strictly abide” by the laws.

Washington has called TikTok a national security threat and claims the company could pass American user data on to China, an allegation that the social media app has repeatedly denied. 

The TikTok saga has seen Kevin Mayer, the former CEO who was charged to lead TikTok’s international expansion, step down after just a few months in the job

India-China tensions

Resso is ByteDance’s rival to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. ByteDance is going after fast-growing emerging markets. India was one of TikTok’s largest markets but the app was banned earlier this year due to alleged security issues. Tensions between India and China have also been rising after a fatal border clash between the two nations’ troops in June. 

ByteDance is hoping Resso can help the company regain momentum in India after the TikTok ban. 

The speed of Resso’s installs appear to be comparable with its rival Spotify. In the five months after Spotify launched in India in February 2019, it reached 10.5 million installs compared to 9.8 million for Resso, according to Sensor Tower. 

In Indonesia, where Spotify launched in March 2016, 1.2 million installs were generated in the first five months. Resso has surpassed that with 5 million installs in the five months after it became available there. 

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