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ByteDance’s music streaming app Resso is set to take on competitors in Indonesia: Interview with country manager Tricia Dizon

For ByteDance, Indonesia offers a tremendous opportunity with over 60 million Gen Z and 63.5 million millennials.

ByteDance, the company behind global phenomenon TikTok is expanding rapidly in Southeast Asia. Through its new music streaming platform Resso, the company wants to connect with 91.9 million of active social network users in Indonesia.

“Indonesia offers a tremendous opportunity with over 60 million “Gen Z” and 63.5 million millennials, as well as a massively growing internet penetration,” Resso’s Southeast Asia country manager, Tricia Dizon, told KrASIA in an interview.

This is why Indonesia is an important market for Resso. The space is already very competitive with big-name players such as Tencent’s Joox, Spotify, and Youtube Music. However, Resso believes that it is offering something different. “Resso’s X-Factor lies in the social network feel that has been woven into the app. With unique features and interface, the consumers can constantly engage with their friends while listening to and enjoying their favorite music,” said Dizon.

There is, for example, a “vibes” feature that allows users to adapt the background of the now-playing screen using images, videos, or GIFs to express their mood. The app also provides lyrics to sing along. The lyrics can be captured into an image, added to a background with other effects, and shared on social media platforms. Moreover, users can engage with community members, leaving comments under individual songs to spark discussions.

“Resso is industry-first, unique music streaming app, which is social by design. We’ve developed the app itself for a new and younger generation of music enthusiasts who are expressive and social,” Dizon explained.

Screenshot of the Resso app.

Originally from the Philippines, Dizon has a big passion for music. In her home country, she used to sing on various occasions, in churches, on weddings, and school musical productions. Before joining Resso, Dizon worked for the news aggregator BaBe (Baca Berita), as director of product and marketing. She counts on over 20 years of extensive experience in key roles in telecommunications, technology, fintech, and consumer goods companies across Southeast Asia.

In the first two months since its launch, Resso has seen promising growth in downloads and is being well-received by the public, according to Dizon. The team is confident that Resso’s features will further attract new users who are looking for the best experience in music streaming.

“We are different from TikTok”

The idea of building online communities and encourage interaction reminds of its sister company, TikTok, which has had great success in Indonesia. TikTok is now among the top three apps in the country’s Play Store, according to App Annie. However, Dizon emphasized that Resso has its own characteristics and strength that makes it different from other platforms, including TikTok.

“TikTok and Resso are basically two different products designed for different behaviors in content consumption, and currently we don’t have any plans for integration,” said Dizon. “However, due to the growing popularity of songs on TikTok, we’ve recently introduced a TikTok top chart on Resso, so users can also enjoy those songs with our features.”

Screenshot of the Resso app that features TikTok’s popular clip.

On its launching event, Resso said that it has inked deals with various major labels such as Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and T-Series. Universal Music Group (which is backed by Tencent), is missing from the list. Asked about this, Dizon said that the team is currently optimizing the music database and committed to bringing the best music to the Resso app, by collaborating with various music labels—major, local, or indie.

Resso is also spending increased efforts on its digital platforms, where it is reaching out to audiences that are currently confined in their homes. “Last month, we live-streamed several acoustic concerts through our official Instagram with well-known Indonesian musicians, such as Raisa, Rendy Pandugo, Andien, Eva Celia, and many more,” Dizon mentioned.

“We are actively creating playlists to enhance the music listening experience in whatever situation you are in, and we also empower music fans in Indonesia to tune in together and connect with the rest of the community,” she said.

According to the Global Web Index report 2020, 68% of consumers are seeking out pandemic updates online over any other activity, except for the Gen Z who is more likely to be listening to music. This translates into an opportunity for Resso and other streaming platforms.

“Resso is seeing an increase in usage time since the outbreak started,” Dizon explained. “We believe music is an important companion for everyone and especially during this challenging time. We will constantly focus on improving our product to provide the all-new music streaming app that brings to life the concept of social and music, offering an immersive product experience like never before.”

Free service during the pandemic

Resso offers a free 3-month premium subscription to make its service available to everyone during the pandemic. Aside from that, it offers paid plans that allow users to download tracks and listen to music without being interrupted by ads. The subscription costs IDR 49,000 or USD 3.27, the same as Spotify and Youtube Music’s premium services.

Dizon said that Resso’s revenue is coming from subscriptions and advertising, but that the company is currently focusing more on improving its social product features rather than monetizing it.

Resso will continue exploring opportunities in Indonesia going forward. Dizon is optimistic that the music app can grow successfully in this market. “The sheer volume of opportunity is massive here. We have just launched, and are only scratching the surface at this point. This is just the beginning for us.”