ByteDance makes its Resso music streaming service premium only

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Three years after the initial launch of music streaming app Resso in India, ByteDance is turning it into a paid service.

The company informed users on its app and website that “Starting May 11, 2023, Resso will be upgrading to a Premium-only service to enhance your social music streaming experience.” The service is currently active in India, Brazil and Indonesia.

ByteDance’s global head of music, Ole Obermann, said the move is to make the service better for users while increasing benefits for artists.

“Resso’s move to a premium-only service will enable the development of a better user experience for music fans, while increasing opportunities for rights holders and artists,” he said in a statement.

“We are committed to building the world’s leading social music streaming platform and ensuring that artists and music makers can rightly capitalize on its growing success.”

The company said the subscription level offers ad-free listening, the ability to download songs for offline listening, generate lyrics for sharing, and social features like duo playlists.

Resso offers subscriptions for R$16.90 ($3.38) per month in Brazil, Rp49,000 ($3.34) per month in Indonesia and ₹119 ($1.46) per month in India.

In comparison, a premium subscription to Spotify costs R$19.90 ($3.99) per month in Brazil, Rp49,000 ($3.75) in Indonesia and ₹119 ($1.46) per month in India.

Resso has been downloaded more than 250 million times to date, according to analytics company Sensor Tower. Senior insights analysts Abe Yousef said 2021 was the service’s biggest year, with nearly 100 million downloads.

This year, ByteDance’s app was downloaded just 13.5 million times in Q12023 — a 47% year-over-year decline. Resso also faced challenges in maintaining the portfolio of songs on its service when Sony Music pulled its catalog last year.

Yousef noted that India is the largest market for Resso in terms of active users. However, Brazil accounted for 73% of paid users for the music streaming app.

Last year, new trademarks in different regions and code in the Resso app suggested that ByteDance was preparing to launch TikTok Music in multiple markets. Since then, the company had removed many references to TikTok Music in the Resso app.

ByteDance is coming under scrutiny in the US for TikTok’s data sharing practices. On the other hand, the Lemon8 social app is gaining popularity in the country. It’s unclear what the China-based company thinks about expanding its music streaming services.

Current economic conditions could also be responsible for ByteDance’s move to make Resso a premium service. In India, Tencent-backed Gaana closed its free level in a similar move last year. In addition, major players in the industry such as Spotify are struggling globally to make a profit.

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