For the latest authoritative marketing news, trends, and stats on social media stars and influencer marketing, subscribe to our industry digest newsletter!
Developed in 2014, Musical.ly is the hottest mobile social app to permeate across young Millennials since Snapchat remaining in the App Store’s top 40 since July 2015 amidst other social media mobile giants including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest (Business Insider).
The app has garnered over 133M total “Musers” and, according to Musical.ly’s president Alex Hoffman, it has been adding 13M users every month since it hit 10M total users last year (Billboard). As of May 2016, Musical.ly has over 20M monthly active users (MAUs).
Founded by Alex Zhu and Louis Yang, Musical.ly is a video sharing social media platform used for creative expression and communication. The app allows users to create videos, message videos, and broadcast live video (musical.ly). The outlet usually features users sharing singing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing for 15 seconds to available soundtracks on the app. Musical.ly offers the following as their own explanation of “What is musical.ly?:”
Musical.ly is among the newest and freshest ways to reach young audiences. With such a massive, growing user base, Musical.ly is an up-and-coming influencer marketing platform that marketers should take heed of now. Musical.ly’s top stars oftentimes have large audiences and engaged fans on other social media platforms and networks including Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram.
Similar to Vine, users are able to record 15-second looped videos with a musical or dialogue background. To start, users can choose what type of audio to play in their video either from the platform’s available online audio or from a user’s personal music library:
Next, the user shoots a video with the song in the background and is given several tools for video editing using audio editing, face filters, color filters, and video segmentation:
Musical.ly has a “story” feature which allows users to compile 4 videos with a total length maximum of 60 seconds to share with friends and other social platforms. Basic engagement on Musical.ly comes in the form of likes and comments on the side of the videos. Users are able to ask questions and share on other social platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with a URL link:
Musical.ly also has a duet function, which allows users to create a musical together without being in the same place (musical.ly). Additionally, Musical.ly has a “Best Fan Forever” feature which allows a user to name a follower to make duets, without a follow back. For interaction with all friends as opposed a single friend for the duet function, Musical.ly users can “host a party.”
Musical.ly not only acts as a platform for content creation and sharing, but content discovery as well. The homepage features top, trending Musers that have videos that have been shared, liked, and commented on. For music discovery, the most popular songs appear on a song chart. For video discovery, Musical.ly’s search page has a “Popular Now” section for the top videos and a “Leaderboard” for active content creators.
The search page also shows “Trending Tags,” similar to Twitter’s Trending function (Digiday). This allows for easy discovery the the most relevant topics. Lastly, Musical.ly’s search page is topped with a contest based on a trending tag, with rewards such as an Instagram shoutout.
With its impressive arsenal of content creation tools, Musical.ly is likely to last. Because there are a high number of users that are creating content themselves, rather than just passively consuming content, the app has created a habit-forming act in its users (Digiday). Constant content creation means that the app will be able to maintain people’s attention and engagement, leading to a successful social network with its own roster of top social media influencers:
Ariel Martin is the most followed influencer on the app, coming in with 14.4M followers. On Musical.ly, she sings and dances to popular songs, and on her YouTube channel, Baby Ariel, she gives her 1.8M followers a glimpse of her life through vlogs and comedy sketches. Lisa and Lena—@lisaandlena
WE LOVE YOU ? Have a nice day ☀️️? A video posted by Lisa and Lena | Germany® (@lisaandlena) on
Lisa and Lena are 13-year-old Germany-based identical twins that have amassed a following of 12.5M on Musical.ly. The videos feature sophisticated lighting, choreography, and matching outfits.
Jacob Sartorius has been cited as the “next Justin Bieber,” followed on Musical.ly by 12M followers (Business Insider). He released a single in 2016, Sweatshirt, which made the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the U.S. and Canada, and has accumulated over 34.2M views on YouTube.
Recently, Musical.ly has implemented a livestreaming counterpart, Live.ly, to take on the live broadcasting capabilities available on other social media outlets (Variety). However, as a new platform, Live.ly holds promise for new influencers which are looking to montetize their broadcasts and theirn their content into “full-time careers,” similar to what current Musical.ly stars were able to accomplish (Digiday).