ByteDance-owned company Resso is abruptly dropping the free access tier

Credit: Resso

ByteDance hoped to create a competitor to Spotify or Apple Music in Resso, initially in emerging markets. Now access to the Free Tier will be restricted on May 11th.

The music streaming service launched in India, Brazil and Indonesia to get a foot in the door. But low conversion rates from free to premium tier could be the final nail in the coffin for the free service. Resso will end its free access tier on May 11th and become a premium-only service.

“Resso will be upgrading to a premium-only service starting May 11, 2023 to enhance your social media streaming experience,” the note to existing customers reads. If you click on “Read more”, the site explains that the move is “to offer all music lovers the best possible music experience”. Translated? The big three music labels don’t want to play along with popular music when conversion rates are so low. A Bloomberg report gives numbers in low single percentage. Spotify’s free-to-premium conversion pipeline is around 45% globally.

Existing Resso members get the new premium ad-free experience for 30 days before being asked to pay. “Resso’s shift to a premium-only service will enable the development of a better user experience for music fans, while expanding opportunities for rights holders and artists.” adds Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music at ByteDance.

The move comes just eight months after another music streaming service in India called Gaana decided to remove its free tier. The removal of Gaana’s free tier comes after the music streaming service failed to attract new investment or a potential buyer. A Reuters report at the time indicated that contracts with his music partners had failed.

A Resso subscription in Brazil costs R$16.90 (US$3.35) per month, which is about R$3 cheaper than Spotify. Meanwhile, Resso Premium costs 119 rupees (US$1.45) per month in India.