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Patents and Trademarks: TikTok Continues Developing New AI Tools, finds MBW

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Patents and Trademarks: TikTok Continues Developing New AI Tools, finds MBW header

Music Business Worldwide found that ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has filed for various music AI-related patents and trademarks in the US. The company’s aspirations come at a time of TikTok being in trouble, and AI being increasingly criticized by the music industry and artists alike.

Double trouble: TikTok and Artificial Intelligence under fire

TikTok is in trouble. Not too long ago, a dispute between the social media giant and Universal Music Group escalated, with UMG pulling its entire music catalog from the platform. And only a few weeks later, the US government passed a bill as a result of its ongoing tensions with China, that could potentially ban TikTok from US app stores.

Artificial Intelligence and various AI tools have, too, been under fire for their real and potential impact on public safety and plenty of industries. As a result, lawmakers in Tennessee and the EU Parliament have each passed new acts to regulate AI, with the Tennessee law specifically aiming to protect artists' rights.

ByteDance and TikTok to further develop music AI tools

Despite the ongoing challenges and threats, ByteDance seems to keep a business-as-usual attitude and has not stopped investing in its product. According to an analysis by Bloomberg Law, since 2020, its parent company ByteDance has gained more than 900 patents in the US alone, where it has applied for 600 further patents.

Among them are patents for AI tools capable of generating music, proving that AI becomes increasingly central to the app. ByteDance’s ambitions in the field of AI-generated music have been discussed in a report by Music Business Worldwide (MBW). The publication addresses the company’s extensive research on AI in music and its generative model, MeLoDy, trained on 257,000 hours of music.

Now, MBW uncovered additional AI music-related patents and trademarks filed by Lemon Inc., a company affiliated with ByteDance. One of the patents covers techniques that allow for the generation and editing of music that matches the video it is created for. A second patent centers on a technology that allows for the generation of music based on lyrics. Lastly, MBW reports on a trademark for the tools ‘BytePlus’ and ‘Mawf,’ a “machine-learning-driven music-making app.”

TikTok’s pursuits leave the music industry with questions

The decision of ByteDance to apply for and secure patents and trademarks in the US (and beyond) raises many questions. For once, it remains unclear why it has made Lemon.inc responsible for the process, and what the ties between the two companies are. Secondly, with the future of TikTok in the US being uncertain, the patents may be a strategic plan to remain present on the market (although such statements are merely assumptions). Lastly, the innovations may be pursued as a solution to TikTok’s feuds with UMG, which has pulled its music catalog from the app.

We recommend everyone interested in TikTok’s AI-related ambitions and affiliation with Lemon Inc. to look into the two linked articles published by MBW, as they cover the patents and trademarks extensively.

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