Why stop at music distribution and music promotion? The parent company of controversial video-sharing giant TikTok is once again working to expand its presence in the music space, this time with “an innovative portable audio workstation” called Ripple.
The partial launch of Ripple – the invitation-only app is currently available to a select few testers in the US – was brought to light in a TechCrunch report today. The apparently AI-powered platform, like the many other features and offerings that TikTok and ByteDance have launched recently, has burst onto the scene as the government continues to scrutinize the short-form service (and calls for it to be banned).
However, TikTok has now admitted to storing American creators’ data in China, where the Chinese Communist Party (which owns part of ByteDance) can unilaterally access any company’s information. Still, and despite the numerous government-level bans on TikTok and the associated possibility of the platform being banned outright, those in charge have not hesitated to push expansion initiatives further.
In the music space in particular – where licensing negotiations with major labels have evidently been difficult – TikTok continues to push its SoundOn distribution service, spearheading exclusive deals and promotional campaigns, and touting its perceived status as a hitmaker.
Keeping these and related points in mind, while Ripple appears to have creation and editing tools akin to those found in DAWs like BandLab, as previously mentioned, Ripple also has more disturbing artificial intelligence capabilities.
Accordingly TechCrunchThese AI capabilities have been “trained on music licensed to or owned by ByteDance” and specifically include a tool that lets you hum or sing a tune and then see artificial intelligence convert that input into an instrumental song.
It’s unclear if lyrics and vocals will be integrated later, but the length of the present AI tracks is currently said to match the length of the audio material provided. While Ripple currently remains a standalone app, time will tell if at least some of its components (and particularly those that allow anyone to generate music instantly) will be extended to TikTok itself.
According to Engadget, ByteDance has launched a website (ripple.club) where potential Ripple users can request beta invites. However, at the time of writing, the one-page website, which was briefly down, didn’t seem to offer an option to request these invites.
More broadly, Ripple could prove significant as TikTok plots its entry into the increasingly competitive streaming arena. Last year, Resso operator ByteDance switched to the “TikTok Music” brand, and the Beijing-headquartered company’s plans for the latter reportedly play a key role in the aforementioned licensing negotiations with the Big Three.