Musical.ly, the lip-syncing video creation app harnessing the heinous amounts of free time teens possess (with mixed results), has grown considerably since its 2014 launch. But just like the transition from middle to high school, sometimes it’s time for a reboot. Yesterday, Musical.ly was shut down, and its users are being migrated to TikTok, a similar video creation platform owned by Musical.ly’s parent company, Bytedance. Don’t worry, teens, your content is safe, and pretty soon the platform will be even safer.
According to a statement found on TikTok’s site, Musical.ly co-founder Alex Zhu thinks the combination of TikTok and Musical.ly is beneficial when it comes to community creation. “The newly upgraded platform, which keeps the TikTok name, creates a unified user experience, debuts a new logo and user interface, and offers greater capabilities for video creation,” said TikTok. Those greater capabilities include the addition of “green screen-like background effects,” and other camera effects. Users will also be able to “react” to videos posted by your TikTok friends. In short, the update brings even more options for ridiculous music video creation based on songs inappropriate for teenagers doing some karaoke.
Bytedance obviously saw the value in the video editing ability of teens, and acquired Musical.ly in 2017 for a reported $800 million, adding it to its portfolio of apps primarily catering to its Chinese audience. Musical.ly’s standalone livestreaming app, Live.ly, was shut down in June of this year, with its features integrated into Musical.ly.
The company wants the audience to continue to grow, enough so that TikTok is also gearing up to debut “a series of new creator programs” to help users with growth strategy and technical issues. And like Facebook, TikTok is even including a time management feature that lets users know when they’ve spent more than two hours using the app. If there’s one thing smartphone users love, it’s enabling self-imposed time restrictions.
Because the Musical.ly app is essentially being rebranded, the user base should have little to worry about. According to TikTok: “Existing creators’ accounts, content and fan base will move automatically to the new TikTok app, where creators will keep all of their preexisting content and fans while enjoying the opportunity to reach a bigger and more diverse global audience than ever before.” Letting users keep their own content instead of just nuking the entire app and starting fresh with TikTok is a welcome change, especially since other video platforms like Vine took some of the best and most culturally insightful six-second clips from this world down with it. If Musical.ly’s rebranding results in even more incredibly produced videos from talented users, sign me the heck up. [Variety]