Musical.ly mashed up the two most popular social networks and music is the secret sauce.
By Vik Singh
Musical.ly is an app that’s been on my phone for a few months. I never signed up because I never had anyone to follow or interact with on the platform. That’s not only because it skews young but also because, as a chronic early adopter of new technologies, sometimes I have to wait.
But this past weekend a friend’s 12-year-old son randomly asked if I had an account. He legitimated my entry onto the platform by following me. My son, who is 3, has been interested in Instagram Stories for a few months. When I mentioned there was a similar tool that also featured the ability to sing, he immediately screamed, “We Know the Way song”!
The Moana soundtrack has been our nightly ritual for many months. I did a quick search on the platform for the song and, boom, there were three options for it. Musical.ly takes songs in 15 second segments and allows users to lip sync and create customized music videos. Many songs have multiple options with each option representing a different part of the same song.
We settled for the chorus. His excitement was palpable — as if he were experiencing the movie and music for the first time.
When we finished, he said something that made everything click: Again!
We made three more videos with other songs from the movie. After he went to sleep, I randomly searched for tracks and was pleasantly surprised at the breadth of choices. Again — this platform skews young. You’re not going to find too many people in the Tinder cohort here.
But once you make a video, the sentiment is universal. Again!
That’s the word that artists, labels, publishers and other rights holders want to hear the most!
Is musical.ly a fad? Will it be acquired and shut down? Will Facebook copy all of its features and beat it at its own game? Maybe (to all of the above). But maybe not.
Business wise, they appear to be on track. The brand partnerships apparent through the skins and stickers suggest it's already revenue positive. And if they can build and grow the sonic library, its users, who are young now, will grow up in the platform and potentially participate in future offerings or services within its ecosystem — just like the college crowd that launched Facebook into what it has become today.
But even if musical.ly can’t make it in the long run, it doesn’t matter because the message is clear: fans embrace and rally around interactive musical experiences.
And what’s more, the platform is all about enabling user-generated content — the best kind! Users take ownership of the videos, take music they love, and make physical memories they can share with friends, family, or a Hollywood talent agent 🤔.
Super excited about musical.ly's potential and, more importantly, the trend it represents.
Vik is the founder of Alternate Thursdays, a Los Angeles creative shop that provides expertise in content and branding for artists, labels, startups and brands. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.