TikTok owner ByteDance's new music streaming app Resso just launched in India — and it's betting on 'vibes' to beat Spotify, Gaana and JioSaavn

TikTok owner ByteDance's new music streaming app Resso just launched in India — and it's betting on 'vibes' to beat Spotify, Gaana and JioSaavn
TikTok's parent company ByteDance just launched their "social music streaming app" Resso in IndiaBI India

  • TikTok’s parent company ByteDance launched its new music streaming app Resso in India today.
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Resso’s head of music content and partnerships at Resso Hari Nair called the app a “social music streaming experience.”
  • He said the aim of the app is to turn ‘passive’ music listening into ‘active’ listening.
TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, just launched in a new music streaming app Resso in India. The internet technology company based out of Beijing is entering an already competitive market. It will have to go up against local players like Gaana and Mukesh Ambani-owned JioSaavn as well as international giants like Spotify.

Resso is betting that its ‘vibes’ will stand out in the crowded market — a feature in the app that allows the user to post GIFs or short videos to individual songs.

The aim is to make the music listening experience more “active” rather than “passive” and create a “social music streaming experience”, according to Resso’s head of music content and partnerships Hari Nair.
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“There was a clear void between streaming services and social media. Resso connects both of them very nicely,” Nair told Business Insider India.

Vibes comes coupled with the comments feature so that listeners can interact with people listening to the same song.

The paradox of choice
Most popular music streaming apps are open to an explore page where users can browse through playlists and recent releases to choose what they want to listen to. Resso takes an approach that is exactly opposite.

Instead of letting you choose, it chooses for you. The app’s instant-play feature starts streaming songs as soon as you open the app. Listeners can still dig into other options by navigating to the explore tab but for others who are bogged down by the ‘paradox of choice’ — having to choose between too many options — it’s a welcome reprieve to let Resso take control.

“Many people came back to us and said that they didn’t need to skip over songs while using the instant-play feature so that means the recommendation is working. There were many motivating key points,” said Nair.

However, since the suggestions are based on the app’s own artificial intelligence-based algorithm, the song choices largely depend on the preferences you select while signing up for an account. Considering that Spotify’s niche is its own algorithm, Resso will have to prove its mettle in how well it knows its listeners.

Indie artists and exclusive songs
One of the biggest pain points of the music streaming industry is that platforms have now started releasing songs which are exclusive. For instance, a JioSaavn user would have to download Gaana in order to listen to Mithi Mithi by Amrit Maan featuring Jasmine Sandals since it’s a Gaana exclusive — even though JioSaavn features other songs by the same artist.

And, that’s something that even Resso can’t avoid. “I think that’s the nature of the industry, you can’t help it. All you can do is sign up more independent artists on your platform so that they don’t go anywhere,” said Nair.

Independent artists are going to be a big play for the ByteDance-owned music streaming app. They plan on being the most aggressive to sign up new talent in the industry going forward.

“Artists can come through a label or come directly to us, we will sign up all of them. We’ve already partnered with quite a few independent labels including Azaadi Records and BigBang. There are a couple of artists who have approached us directly. We will be most aggressive on independent music,” said Nair.

Unlike Spotify’s rough start in India, Resso has licensing deals with all international and local majors locked down, including Warner, T-Series, Saregama, TimesMusic and others. Most regional majors are on board as well with the exception of one or two, which Nair said will be finalised in the coming month or two.

The app is available for download on the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store. It’s free for use. The version has a limited music streaming to 128 kbps and users won’t be able to download songs. The paid version of the app costs ₹119 per month, much higher than its counterparts. Neither version features ads — for now.

See also:
Spotify will need to dig deeper into its arsenal to win over the competition in India, even after a year of going local

Apple Music is now cheaper than Spotify in India