The Platform to Watch: Musical.ly

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The Platform to Watch: Musical.ly

Musical.ly – it’s the app that most of us have never heard of, a few of us vaguely recognises and a small percentage of us hate it because we have had to endure tweens bobbing to it loudly on the bus. But Musical.ly is much more than an annoying app and, with 200 million registered users, 50 million of them being under the age of 21, it is becoming increasingly popular. But what is this elusive app about?

What is Musical.ly?

Created by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang in 2014, China, Musical.ly is a video sharing app which allows users to send short videos (15 seconds – 1 minute) to their friends. Think Snapchat or Vine (RIP) but specifically for lip syncing and dancing rather than selfies.

There are roughly 13 million new videos uploaded to the site per day, edited with the 14 filters and effects which come on the platform. The videos uploaded also follow trends, and Musical.ly trends such as the ‘Don’t Judge Challenge’ have had millions of teenagers take part, and kicked up a social media storm.

Are there really Musical.ly influencers?

Absolutely, with any social platform comes influencers and the rise of the Musical.ly influencer reminds us a lot of Vine. The rapid popularity of Vine created overnight stars as young 16 who have gone on to make millions (see David Dobrik who posted his first vine in 2013 and whose NET worth is estimated at $2 million) and it looks like Musical.ly is following a similar path.

Musical.ly influencers such as 17-year-old Ariel Martin, ‘muser’ name Baby Ariel, has gained 28 million followers on the platform and these followers are dedicated. They’ve followed her across her platform; she now has 8.5m on Instagram, 1.05m on Twitter and 3m subscribers on YouTube, all thanks to her hip-hop lip syncs.

There’s also Jacob Sartorius who has made a singing career off the back off his Musical.ly lip syncs. Accumulating 14 million followers on the platform, he released a debut single ‘Sweatshirt’ in 2016 and it reached the Hot 100 charts in the USA.

And they’re making money?!

Ohhh yes. In December 2016, Musical.ly gave followers the ability to pay the stars through the apps virtual gift program. The act receives 50% off every dollar given but the real money lies in influencer campaigns.

For the big influencers, brands have approached them asking them to post promotional videos. A great example of the power these ‘musers’ have is with Coca Cola’s 2015 #ShareACoke campaign. After losing momentum with just the names on their iconic bottles, Coca-Cola switched to song lyrics and used Musical.ly influencers lip to sync to these lyrics to promote the campaign.

And it worked. As the first brand to use Musical.ly influencers, they stormed the platform receiving 2 million engagements from Musical.ly influencer content, generating a 28% engagement rate across social.

Overall Verdict.

If you’d asked us a two years ago what we thought of Musical.ly we would have scoffed replying “it’s just another Vine who will meet its end just like Vine did.” But now we are here in 2018 and social media has come and go (Vero we are looking at you) but Musical.ly is still here making millions. They’ve been involved in huge campaigns (there was a recent promotional video on the platform for Guardians of the Galaxy), creating superstars and, ultimately, given 8-14 years olds a creative outlet where they can sing, dance and be themselves.

So, we are all up for Musical.ly and maybe we will even start lip-syncing ourselves… (don’t worry that will never happen, that would be as horrific as it would be cringe.)

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