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Sony Music pulls catalogue from Bytedance’s Resso service

By | Published on Wednesday 21 September 2022


Sony Music has seemingly removed its catalogue from Resso, the music streaming service operated by TikTok owner Bytedance.

Billboard notes that social media posts from Resso users in Brazil suggest that Sony recordings might have started disappearing from the service at the start of the month. The Bytedance music platform originally launched in India and Indonesia before expanding into Brazil. Sources say that the Sony catalogue is no longer available on Resso in all three markets.

It presumably means that Bytedance has not been able to agree terms for a new licence with the major. In more recent years, the record companies have often been a little more flexible when negotiating initial deals with new digital services, keen as they are to ensure that the global digital market isn’t totally dominated by Spotify and the tech giants. And that’s particularly true where services are focused on emerging markets and if there’s a decent upfront advance on the table.

However, that can make subsequent deal-making tougher for the new services, as the music companies seek more clarity on each digital firm’s business model and revenues, and aim to maximise the value of any licensing relationships. And while Resso – like most music streaming services – probably isn’t very lucrative for Bytedance at the moment, the parent company’s deep pockets will be very much in mind on the label side of the negotiating table.

Then of course there is the music industry’s relationship with TikTok itself. While the main TikTok platform is licensed by the music industry, and therefore generates income as well providing an incredibly important marketing platform, many music companies are seeking to evolve their TikTok deals, which initially were based around lump sum payments. Plus there’s speculation about Bytedance’s wider ambitions in music streaming globally, possibly utilising the TikTok brand.

Any of that might have impacted on licensing negotiations between Sony and Resso resulting in the impasse which is now annoying Resso-using Harry Styles fans in Brazil. Good times.

If the music-company-tech-platform-dispute chart you maintain next to your desk has no space on it for adding the Sony/Resso fallout, worry not. According to Music Business Worldwide, Kobalt has made up with Meta, so there should be some space now available.

Kobalt announced in July that its song repertoire was no longer licensed for use on Meta platforms like Facebook and Instagram in the US because of “fundamental differences” regarding a new licence. However, in a new memo to its clients, Kobalt says: “We’re pleased to announce that Kobalt’s repertoire is once again licensed on Meta platforms in the US”. Super good times.