ByteDance-owned streaming service Resso has removed the music of commercially successful Sony Music Entertainment (SME) acts including Harry Styles and Doja Cat.
All manner of disappointed fans took to social media to vent about the takedowns towards September’s beginning, but the song removals just recently entered the media spotlight. Moreover, Resso is available solely in Brazil, Indonesia, and India, which are home to a combined total of 1.9 billion individuals.
Besides irked listeners’ (chiefly Portuguese-language) Twitter complaints about the development, Sony Music-signed acts were conspicuously absent from Resso Brazil’s list of featured U.S. and U.K. artists at the time of this writing. Universal Music’s Billie Eilish ranks prominently on the U.S. list, for instance, whereas no tracks are listed on the Resso album page for Montero, which Sony Music’s Lil Nas X released.
Similarly, perennial Sony Music bestseller Harry Styles is nowhere to be found on the U.K. featured-artist page or the wider Resso platform. While Epic’s Camila Cabello is still part of Resso’s U.S. top-artist list, her profile includes only non-album collaborations.
Once again at the time of this writing, neither Sony Music nor the TikTok owner ByteDance appeared to have shed light upon the removals’ cause or even commented publicly on the matter; a translation of the Portugese message on the affected artists’ Resso profiles reads, “We apologize, we are resolving this copyright.”
However, the pulldowns arrive as ByteDance and Sony Music are indirectly vying to attract streaming users in China’s quick-growing music market. Beijing-headquartered ByteDance in April rolled out a Chinese platform called Qishui Yinyue, and evidence suggests that the highly controversial company could be preparing to introduce a stateside Spotify competitor as well.
(TikTok has taken several steps to broaden its presence in the music sphere in 2022, including launching a distribution service and a pre-release option through which artists can make their new projects available on the short-form app first.)
Back to the rapidly expanding Chinese music sphere, though, Sony Music invested $100 million in NetEase’s answer to Tencent Music in 2021. SME-backed NetEase Cloud Music has closed a number of noteworthy licensing deals and reported double-digit subscriber and revenue jumps earlier in 2022.
In the approaching months, it’ll be worth following the apparent impasse between Resso and Sony Music, which in late August filed a multimillion-dollar infringement complaint against TikTok rival Triller.
Additionally, this isn’t Resso’s first licensing battle, for the platform launched in India (where TikTok remains banned) without Universal Music Group’s catalog. Lastly, with regard to multifaceted rights-related disputes, UMG itself had a licensing standoff with Triller last year.
And despite Sony Music’s mentioned infringement action against Triller – which has allegedly failed to pay millions in owed royalties – it doesn’t seem that Universal Music has levied a suit of its own over missing payments.