Three years after first launching the music streaming app Resso in India, Bytedance is making it a paid-only service.

The company notified users on the app and website saying that “Resso will upgrade to a Premium-only service from May 11, 2023, to elevate your social music streaming experience.” The service currently operates in India, Brazil, and Indonesia.

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

“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,” he said in a statement.

“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.”

The company said that the subscription tier offers ad-free listening, the option to download songs for offline listening, lyrics generation for sharing, and social features like duo playlists.

Resso offers subscriptions at  R$16.90 ($3.38) per month in Brazil, Rp 49,000 ($3.34) per month in Indonesia, and ₹119 ($1.46) per month in India.

In comparison, a Spotify premium subscription costs R$19.90 ($3.99) per month in Brazil, Rp 49,000 ($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 firm Sensor Tower. Senior insights analysts Abe Yousef said that 2021 was the service’s biggest year with nearly 100 million downloads.

This year, in Q12023 the Bytedance-owned app was downloaded only 13.5 million times — a 47% drop year-on-year. Resso also faced challenges in terms of maintaining portfolio of songs on its service as Sony Music pulled its catalog last year.

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

Last year, new trademarks in various 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 facing a lot of scrutiny in the U.S. for TikTok’s data-sharing practices. On the other hand, its social app Lemon8 is gaining popularity in the country. It’s unclear what the China-based company is thinking about expanding its music streaming services.

Current economical conditions could be also to blame for Bytedance’s move to make Resso a premium service. In India, Tencent-backed Gaana shut down its free tier last year in a similar move. Plus globally, big players in the industry like Spotify are struggling to make a profit.

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