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This article was published on July 24, 2019

TikTok’s parent company appears to have acquired AI music startup Jukedeck

The reports are unconfirmed, but it looks like a done deal

TikTok’s parent company appears to have acquired AI music startup Jukedeck
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, appears to have acquired a startup that makes AI-generated music called Jukebox, an AI suite that generates custom music. Users can then edit the track to adjust length, tempo, and climax.

While the news hasn’t been confirmed by either company, several Jukedeck employees, including its CEO, have changed their LinkedIn profiles, listing ByteDance as their current employer. Jukedeck’s website is also offline, displaying a message that says: “We can’t tell you more just yet, but we’re looking forward to continuing to fuel creativity by using musical AI.”

Based on what we know so far, and the eagle-eyed reporters at Music Ally, who first broke the story, it seems to be a done deal

For TikTok, the acquisition would make a lot of sense. Licensed tunes, like “Old Town Road” or “Sweet But Psycho,” currently drive the platform, but licensing deals for these tracks ultimately eat away at TikTok’s bottom line. Acquiring a startup focused on AI music creation allows a platform like TikTok to use more royalty-free tracks, thus avoiding expensive licensing problems down the road.

So long as users actually embraced the royalty-free tracks, TikTok would ultimately save a bundle, assuming it didn’t overspend to acquire Jukedeck, that is.

For a platform like TikTok — one that relies on carefully-selected audio clips that mesh seamlessly with user-created video — the additional options offered by Jukedeck’s software could open new doors for creators as well. Rather than selecting and trimming an existing piece of audio, creators could now make their own from scratch, using AI to sort things that previously required musical talent.

ByteDance didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.

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