ByteDance is closing the free tier of its music streaming service Resso, the company announced on Wednesday (May 3). The move to premium-only streaming takes place on May 11, according to a statement from ByteDance, and current users on the ad-supported tier will be offered a 30-day free trial of the premium service.
“Resso premium is already a best-in-class music service with ad-free listening and a host of personalized and social features,” Ole Obermann, ByteDance’s global head of music, said in a statement. “Resso’s move to a premium-only service will allow the development of a better user experience for music fans, while increasing opportunities for rightsholders and artists. We are committed to building the world’s leading social music streaming platform and ensuring artists and music creators can rightly benefit from its growing success.”
ByteDance initially launched Resso in March 2020; it is currently available only in India, Indonesia, and Brazil. Last year, ByteDance entered into conversations with major music rights holders about moving its music streaming service into additional countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Those conversations are complicated by the fact that the music industry is hoping for better payouts from another ByteDance company, the massively successful app TikTok.
“No one right now wants to help ByteDance expand into significant material marketplaces without them fixing the TikTok situation,” an executive told Billboard last year. And Sony Music’s contract with Resso expired in September, meaning its catalog, including the music of stars like Beyoncé and Doja Cat, is not available on the service.
Streaming subscriptions are a key driver of music industry revenue. Paid subscription streaming revenue cracked $10 billion in the U.S. for the first time in 2022, according to the RIAA, accounting for 77% of all streaming revenue and nearly two thirds of total revenue. This means it’s likely that the music industry will be heartened by Resso’s focus on growing its premium subscriber numbers.
“Their plans in subscription are something we definitely want to encourage,” a major label executive told Billboard last year. “We love to see that huge funnel of a billion consumers connected to a value-creative experience.”