Meet Musical.ly, an app that is taking USA by storm
Founded in Shanghai in 2014 as a platform to create, share and discover short music videos, Musical.ly has grown in popularity, particularly in the US, and has over 100 million users today. However, the founders of Musical.ly are less than content, and have plans of making the app as big as Facebook.
The potential of Musical.ly
Musical.ly co-founder Alex Zhu said that, in social media "you either can become a huge general platform like Instagram or Snapchat, or die. There's nowhere in between. I believe Musical.ly can become a general social network."
So what exactly is Musical.ly?
The app allows its users, or "musers" as they are called, to create, edit, filter and broadcast short music videos in minutes. Musers can, like Facebook's newsfeed, also browse through the many millions of short music videos created everyday on Musical.ly by means of personalized and curated feeds. Yet, the app still has a limited appeal and its founders are keen on changing that.
Celebrities on Musical.ly
Musical.ly has also attracted its share of celebrities, with modern-day pop icons like Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Meghan Trainor, among others, using the app to promote their latest singles. Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Shaquille O'Neal and Adam Lamberg have also opened accounts.
Musical.ly's limited base of users
Although the app has a user base of 100 million with 40 million monthly users, the ratio between its daily active users and monthly active users is rather poor. According to data, whereas a Facebook user uses Facebook at least 20 days a month, a Musical.ly user uses the app only three days out of 30. Furthermore, most of Musical.ly's users are American teens.
Musical.ly has already given rise to stars like 13 year-old Jacob Sartorius and 15 year-old Baby Ariel. With 10 million and 13 million followers respectively on Musical.ly, these Musical.ly-based starlets are now deejaying at their own shows and looking for branding and acting gigs.
Muscial.ly's expansion plans
Musical.ly founders wish to make the app have a more general appeal. In order to do so, they plan on integrating several other features into the app, much like WeChat. Some core communication features like group chat, video chat, voice calling, and live streaming are among the first phase of updates. Provided the communication features work out, the founders plan on incorporating several others.
A bit about WeChat
WeChat was released by Chinese company Tencent Holdings Limited in 2011. A cross-platform instant messaging app, WeChat can do just about anything - it is China's Facebook, PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Periscope, Slack, Yelp, etc. all rolled into one app.
Musical.ly sources of funding and revenue
With a valuation of half a billion dollars, Musical.ly raised $100 million from backers in Wall Street like GGV Capital, DCM Ventures and Greylock Partners. However, like most early-stage apps, Musical.ly has no solid stream of revenue as of now, and are more keen on mass scale appeal. Having said that, Musical.ly's future revenue sources will probably be sponsored brand campaigns and video ads.