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TikTok Music could get a lossless audio option as hinted by new app code

If this pans out, TikTok Music could offer lossless audio before Spotify gets around to it.
By
December 28, 2023
TikTok featured image
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • After conducting an APK teardown, we found code strings referencing a TikTok Music lossless option.
  • Offering lossless audio streams would make TikTok’s music streaming service more competitive.
  • It is unclear if lossless streams will be included with your subscription or if you’ll need to pay a premium.

In the world of music streaming, lossless audio support is vital for audiophiles and a big selling point for the services that offer it. Apple Music and Tidal, for example, offer lossless versions of every track in their respective catalogs. According to an APK teardown conducted here at Android Authority, it looks like TikTok Music could join the lossless audio party.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

Inside the latest version of TikTok Music for Android (v1.10.0), we see numerous code strings related to lossless streaming. Here’s one that clearly suggests lossless streaming will be available:

<string name="playing_quality_lossless_guide_btn_for_choose_quality">Try Lossless</string>

Elsewhere, we see other strings that give us an idea of how this will work. At first, it doesn’t look like all files will have a lossless option. The string below suggests you’ll see an alert when a song you’re about to play has a lossless version:

<string name="playing_quality_lossless_guide_title_for_try_quality">Lossless audio quality is available for this song. Want to try it?</string>

Unfortunately, we have no idea how many songs TikTok Music will offer in a lossless format, so we don’t know how often this alert will show up. However, this alert is worded in such a way as to suggest not everything will be lossless.

TikTok Music lossless: Choose your streaming quality

One of the drawbacks to using lossless quality for music streaming is that it significantly increases the amount of data consumed while listening. With this in mind, it appears TikTok Music will allow you to choose the quality you hear depending on how you are connected to the internet.

Check out these two strings:

<string name="playing_quality_action_sheet_title_for_cellular">Pick Cellular data audio quality</string>

<string name="playing_quality_action_sheet_title_for_wifi">Pick Wi-Fi audio quality</string>

These two settings strongly suggest that you’ll be able to customize audio streaming quality for the type of connection you’re using. Most people would likely choose to prioritize lossless audio while on Wi-Fi, for example, and it looks like TikTok Music could allow for that.

How much will this cost?

Unfortunately, none of the new strings we saw in this APK teardown gave any information on whether or not lossless streaming will be included with your current plan or if it will require an upcharge to a more premium plan. All we have to go on so far is this:

<string name="playing_quality_lossless_guide_title_for_choose_quality">Lossless audio quality is now available for subscribers</string>

Currently, TikTok Music is only available in select areas of the world. Here in the US, an individual plan costs $8.99 each month, with the first month being free. Students can get that knocked down to $5.99. Meanwhile, a family account with up to six members costs $18.99.

None of those plans have any upcharges. They all offer ad-free listening, the ability to download music for offline playback, personalized recommendations, and the ability to sync your favorite songs from your main TikTok account.

Theoretically, TikTok Music’s forthcoming lossless playback could be incorporated into those existing plans. This is how Apple Music works. However, it could be that TikTok will offer a new premium plan that will include lossless playback. We won’t know until the company formally rolls out this feature.

Do note that Spotify — the leader in the music streaming space — still does not offer lossless streaming despite announcing a premium “HiFi” subscription nearly three years ago. If TikTok Music can roll this out soon, it would likely beat Spotify to the punch, which could be advantageous for nabbing subscribers who value high-end listening.