Luyu "Louis" Yang
|Initial release||August 2014|
|Operating system||iOS, Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch|
|Available in||11 languages|
Musical.ly Inc. (known as Musical.ly) is a video social network app for video creation, messaging, 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 can create 15-second videos and choose sound tracks to accompany them, use different speed options (time-lapse, slow, normal, fast, and epic) and add pre-set filters and effects. The app also allows users to browse popular "musers," content, trending songs and sounds and hashtags. As of July 2016, musical.ly has over 90 million registered users and an average of 12 million new videos posted every day. musical.ly is headquartered in Shanghai, China and has offices in San Francisco, California.
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 investorsfund 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.
On July 24, 2016, during VidCon, musical.ly officially launched live.ly, its new live video streaming platform. Although this was intended to be a soft launch, as no additional marketing had been done for this new product, live.ly climbed up to the number one position in the iOS App Store within 3 days.
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 July 2016, musical.ly reached 90 million downloads, with over 12 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.
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 of it as well. Baby Ariel, who as of July 2016 has 15 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 is also a social media influencer who got started on musical.ly.
Celebrities on musical.ly
In recent months, artists such as Ariana Grande, Andra Day, Selena Gomez, Daddy Yankee, Bebe Rexha, Brendon Urie, and Meghan Trainor have used this app to promote their newest singles. In 2016, Jason DeRulo released the video for his single "If It Ain't Love" on musical.ly. Many other celebrities have joined the platform, including Paris Hilton, Fetty Wap, Shaquille O’Neal, Adam Lambert, and Gnash.
Musical.ly users can record 15-second 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 12 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 moving photographs 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 musers 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.
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