|Original author(s)||Alex Zhu, Luyu Yang|
|Initial release||August 2014|
|Operating system||iOS, Android|
|Available in||29 languages|
musical.ly is a Chinese video social network app for video creation and live broadcasting. The first prototype was released in April 2014, and the official version was launched in August of that year. Through the app, users could create 15-second to 1 minute videos and choose sound tracks to accompany them, use different speed options (time-lapse, fast, normal, slow motion, and epic) and add pre-set filters and effects. The app also allowed users to browse popular "musers," content, trending songs and sounds and hashtags. In August 2018, musical.ly was absorbed into the app TikTok.
From July 2016 to August 2018, musical.ly had over 90 million registered users and had an average of 580 million new videos posted a day and by the end of May 2017 the app reached over 200 million users. musical.ly was headquartered in Shanghai and had offices in San Francisco, California.
On November 9, 2017, Bytedance Technology Co. acquired Musical.ly, Inc for US $1 billion. Bytedance also owns the company Tik Tok and, on August 2, 2018, merged Tik Tok with the musical.ly app and retained the name Tik Tok.
Musical.ly Inc. was founded by longtime friends Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. Before launching musical.ly, Zhu and Yang teamed up to build an education social network app, through which users could both teach and learn different subjects through short-form videos (3–5 minutes long). After having investors fund this venture, it took them about 6 months to build the product. However, once launched, this online self-learning platform did not get enough traction and the content produced was not engaging enough. With some money left from the original investment for this failed venture, Zhu and Yang started to look for new ideas. They decided to shift their focus to the entertainment industry, targeting the US teenage market, as this market is characterized for being an early adopter of new trends. The main idea was to create a platform that incorporates music and video in a social network. The first version of musical.ly was officially launched in August 2014.
In 2015, the app began to attract millions of users and in July 2015, musical.ly climbed up to the number 1 position in the iOS App Store, becoming the most-downloaded free app in over 30 countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Brazil, Philippines, and Japan. In May 2016, musical.ly reached 70 million downloads, with over 10 million new videos posted every day.
In June 2016, Coca-Cola launched its #ShareACoke campaign on musical.ly, which introduced musical.ly’s “User-Generated Ads” model. On July 24, 2016, during VidCon, musical.ly officially launched live.ly, its new live video streaming platform.
On November 9, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Musical.ly Inc had agreed to be acquired by Bytedance Technology Co. for as much as US $1 billion. Bytedance operates the program Toutiao. Recode estimated that the sale would be for around US$800 million and later merged musical.ly with Tik Tok to create the American version of Tik Tok turning musical.ly accounts into Tik Tok accounts.
Musical.ly users can record 15-second to 1-minute videos in one or multiple shots; once the recording has been made, it can be paired with songs and sounds. The platform also enables editing, through 14 pre-set filters and effects that allow to change the speed or reverse the motion of the recording. Additionally, musical.ly also has a feature to create shorter videos, named "live moments," which are essentially GIFs with music.
Users on this platform can "remuse" (reuse) sounds created by other users, which instills a new level of engagement with the content. Other ways in which users can interact with each other is through features such as "Ask a Question" and "Duet“. On this regard, musical.ly has an option called “Best Fan Forever,” through which users can select certain followers who can participate in duets with them.
Users can also send private messages to their friends using the direct.ly feature.
Musical.ly's structure allows the viral dissemination of trends throughout the platform. The hashtags that are popular on this social network usually make reference to bits of pop culture and trends among the internet world. Because of its massive usage, a lot of events launched within the app can become viral global events, especially among teenagers. One of the most notable campaigns launched by musical.ly was the “Don’t Judge Challenge,” which became huge within the platform, as millions of teenagers around the world participated.
Active users with higher rates of popularity are given crowns by musical.ly. Some users of the platform have gained great traction and huge following not only within musical.ly, but also outside it as well. Baby Ariel, also known as Ariel Martin, who as of May 2017 has 19 million followers on musical.ly alone, is one of users that have gained major media attention through musical.ly. In April 2016, she was interviewed live on Good Morning America. Mackenzie Ziegler and Maddie Ziegler became more famous because of it when they finished Dance Moms. Jacob Sartorius, who in recent months has become a social media influencer, promoted his first single "Sweatshirt" on musical.ly, after which the song reached number 10 on the iTunes Store charts.In June 2016, it had been reported that Sartorius had signed with United Talent Agency. Loren Gray Beech and Ariana Renee are also social media influencers who got started on musical.ly. Israeli schoolgirl Anna Zak has become a celebrity in Israel after building millions of followers on musical.ly and securing a sponsorship deal with Adidas.
Most followed accounts on Musical.ly
This list contains the top 5 accounts with the most followers on the platform (as of April 10, 2018)
|1||@lisaandlena||Lisa and Lena||31.2||Germany|
On June 2016, Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang were featured on Billboard's 2016 Digital Power Players List: The Industry Leaders Shaping the Game.
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- Lin, Liza; Winkler, Rolfe (November 9, 2017). "Social-Media App Musical.ly Is Acquired for as Much as $1 Billion". The Wall Street Journal. New York City, New York, United States. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
- "Musical.ly, the lip-syncing video app, is going to sell for at least $800 million". Recode. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
- "What is Tik Tok (formally musical.ly)?". Webwise.ie. 2017-11-25. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
- Hamill, Jasper Don't Judge Challenge: Teens declare war on body shaming by making themselves up to 'look ugly'. Mirror. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
- Usborne, Simon (December 10, 2016). "'It's crazy, for sure': meet the stars of Musical.ly". The Guardian. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- 'Baby Ariel' Talks Musical.ly, the Explosively Popular App for Teens. ABC News. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- Nava, Kathleen (September 16, 2016). "'Dance Moms' 2016 News & Update: What Do Chloe Lukasiak And Mackenzie Ziegler Have In Common After Leaving Show?". GameNGuide. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- Jacob Sartorius 'Sweatshirt' American iTunes Chart Performance. iTunes Charts. Retrieved 01 July 2016.
- Jarvey, Natalie. UTA Sains Musical.ly Star Jacob Sartorius (Exclusive). Hollywood Reporter. 30 June 2016.
- Reeve, Elspeth (July 20, 2016). "90 MILLION TWEENS, A FREE APP, ONE GOAL: FAME". Elle. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
- loudly Liat Katz, Maariv, 12/03/17
- "musical.ly - Global Video Communities". musical.ly. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
- "musical.ly - Global Video Communities". musical.ly. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
- "Loren Beech". www.musical.ly. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
- "Kristen Hancher". www.musical.ly. Retrieved 2018-03-06.
- Kosoff, Maya. 60 teenagers reveal what they think is cool — and what isn't — in 2016. Business Insider. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- Billboard's 2016 Digital Power Players List: The Industry Leaders Shaping the Game. Billboard. 23 June 2016.