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TikTok’s Secret Weapon Has Always Been Audio

By  |  Nov. 10, 2022 9:00 AM PST
Photo: Art by Shane Burke/Shutterstock

There have been whispers all summer that some kind of stand-alone audio app is coming from TikTok.

In May of 2020, TikTok launched a social music app called Resso in Brazil, Indonesia and India. Then in late July, Insider reported that the company had filed a trademark for “TikTok Music,” which would allow users to “purchase, play, share, download music, songs, albums, lyrics,” and would include livestreaming capabilities; outside the U.S., TikTok is already A/B testing a dedicated music tab inside the app. And now rumors are swirling again among podcast industry insiders that a TikTok podcast app is imminent.

The question is, why? For most people, TikTok is the short-form video app, a never-ending feed of fun filters, goofy memes and endless drama. It’s the app that has sent all of Silicon Valley into panic mode, forcing Instagram to push hard on its own short-form video product, Reels. And it convinced a bunch of Hollywood moguls that the short-lived Quibi could be the thing to topple Netflix.

But if you’ve been paying attention, you know TikTok has never really been a video app. Figuring out how to easily share audio on a mobile app has been its secret all along.

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