Frustrated tweets translated from Portuguese indicate that the music of acts like Harry Styles was not available on Resso in Brazil as early as September 2. A source close to the situation says Sony’s music is also no longer on Resso in the two other markets where the service is currently available, Indonesia and India.
A representative for Sony Music declined to comment. A representative for ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ByteDance is best known in the U.S. as the parent company of TikTok, the video app that has become wildly popular, topping one billion monthly active users in 2021. The company launched Resso in India and Indonesia in March 2020, and the service was made available in Brazil later that year.
Platforms like Resso have to negotiate with the major labels to obtain licenses so that users can hear songs from their recording artists. Sony Music recently sued Triller, accusing the platform of “fail[ing] to make any monthly payments required” by a catalog licensing agreement and continuing to “exploit the valuable Sony Music Content” after the company terminated that agreement. (A Triller representative told Billboard the suit “grossly mischaracterizes” the platform’s “relationship” with Sony.)
This is not the only recent instance of friction around a licensing agreement. In July, the publishing company Kobalt announced that it had failed to reach a licensing agreement with Meta. “Fundamental differences remained that we were not able to resolve in [our clients’] best interests,” the publisher said in a statement, “and as a result Kobalt’s repertoire is in the process of being removed from Meta’s services, including Facebook and Instagram, in the United States.” (The two companies reached an agreement this week, according to Music Business Worldwide.)
The disappearance of Sony Music’s catalog from Resso comes at a time when the recording industry appears increasingly concerned about how much ByteDance values music. Songs play an important role in the success of TikTok, but a single that’s soundtracking millions of short videos doesn’t earn much money for music rightsholders from the app. This remains true even as TikTok’s parent company ByteDance enjoys massive success, with a reported value of more than $450 billion at one point last year.