Mid-Term Project: musical.ly

The social media channel that I have been assigned for the mid-term project is musical.ly, a video community.

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 1.53.14 PM.png

What is musical.ly ?

musical.ly’s tumblr page best describes the platform itself. “musical.ly is a social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering short music videos. Every day, millions of people use musical.ly as an outlet to express themselves through signing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing. The app celebrates creativity with videos recorded in 15 seconds or less and shared across the musical.ly community.”

However, if one is unfamiliar with platforms such as musical.ly, it might be hard to try to grasp the concept. musical.ly is similar to more well known platforms such as Dubsmash, Snapchat, and Vine in that it is a free platform that promotes individual expression through the form of short video clips. Yet, musical.ly differs in that it combines all of the best features of these applications, plus iMovie and Instagram, into one easy-to-use app. musical.ly allows each user, referred to as “musers”, to either select a song from the platforms pre-selected song catalog or to upload their own, record their 15 second or less performance, and then add filters and edit features as if the muser just recorded a segment on a professional recording system. Musers can also add finishing touches by choosing to increase or decrease the speed of their video, play it backwards (think Boomerang for Instagram), or even alter the quality of the picture to be enhanced, dulled, sharpened, etc.  through the use of handpicked filters (think Instagram itself).

Suppose you want to be a muser but have an awful case of “stage fright”: DO NOT WORRY! A newer option on musical.ly has recently become available that allows musers to create duets with fellow users and friends! Sharing the spotlight on stage is a great way for musers to still be able to share their talents, but not have all of the spotlight on themselves! The other great part of musical.ly duets is that you don’t even need to physically be with the muser that you want to collaborate with! All you need to do is have a mutual following (you follow them and they follow you back) with your duet partner and after opting for the duet option, musical.ly will format the rest of video for you!

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 9.00.00 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 9.00.07 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 9.00.21 PM.png

“That sounds great, but I want to collab with Ariana Grande!!! She won’t ever follow me back. 😦 ” Again, DO NOT WORRY, users such as Ariana Grande who are famous have a “crown” attached to their profile.Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 4.20.58 PM.png



This lets musers know that this is the “official” account of the said celebrity. Almost all of the celebrities on musical.ly have their “best fan forever” feature turned on, which lets fellow musers make duets with with the individual without the celebrity having to individually follow each muser back. I am sure Ariana would love to follow each fan back personally, however, can you imagine how long it would take her to follow each of her 4.23 million musical.ly fans back!

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 9.02.27 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 9.02.45 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 9.02.53 PM.png

BUT, if singing,dancing, or lipsynching just really aren’t your things (they are certainly aren’t mine!) then do not fret, musical.ly still can be for you! musical.ly is very unique in that it provides a newsfeed for each muser that is customized to that individual. For example, two large celebrity performers who use musical.ly are Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande. A muser can simply follow these two women and then from that point on, all videos posted by these performers will show up within the musers newsfeed. Based on these preferences musical.ly will also recommend additional trending musers to follow so that each muser can have the best news feed that he or she could imagine!

musical.ly will also let you record yourself without any background music. This allows the application to also be a place where individuals can post short verbal messages to their followers. For example, singer Meghan Trainor, often times makes short announcements on her musical.ly account and posts them for all to see. Musers who watch these videos can then react by liking the content, commenting on the content, or even sharing the content on other platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Vine. This interactive feature that allows musers to share musical.ly content is crucial to the success of the app as it integrates and promotes aspects of other popular social media platforms into itself.

Now that you understand the basics of musical.ly on a fundamental level, lets dive into some specifics!

When did musical.ly launch?

musical.ly made its first debut in October of 2014.

How many musers does musical.ly currently have?

80 million and counting registered musers. About 10 million musers are active each day.

Is musical.ly a profitable application? How much is it worth?

musical.ly is valued at $500 million, so I would consider that very successful! (musical.ly has also been a top free app in the iOS app store in 19 different countries within the past year and a half.)

Can anyone create a musical.ly account?

To create a musical.ly account each individual must be at least 13 years of age or older. The main demographic of musers are in fact teenagers.

Why do you need to be 13 years of age or older in order to become a muser?

Though musical.ly does have terms of service and community guidelines that promote a safe environment, occasionally explicit content,spam, forms of bullying and harassment, or nudity will become exposed on the application. Though content that exemplifies anything like these points can be reported and will become removed by musical.ly, it is safest that individuals under the age of 13 do not have the opportunity to be exposed to such content.

After creating a musical.ly account will I have my own profile?

Yes! After downloading the application musers will be prompted to create an individual profile. This profile will have all of your information such as name, phone number, and email address, in addition to any other social media platform links you would like to add, and a profile picture!

As a muser you can also choose to make your profile either public or private! While in private mode, only musers that you accept to follow you will be able to view your profile. While in public mode, all musers who wish, will be able to follow you, without your approval, and thus be able to see your profile and videos.

Additionally, your profile can feature a “story” (think Snapchat or Instagram). With the story feature, musers will be able to select up to four private videos that will be featured on the users profile for 24 hours. After uploading and arranging the order of the videos to the musers preferences, he or she can then add fun captions! This is a great way to let your fans know what you are up to on any particular day and your musical.ly story can also be shared across other social media platforms as well!

Since you have some facts and statistics to further understand musical.ly lets really explain the history and creation of the application!

musical.ly was founded in 2014 by Alex Zhu and his cofounder, Louis Yang. The two men, originally enterprise software managers at SAP,  raised $250,000 from venture capitalists in order to create short-form education videos. After about 6 months of hard work the two did eventually create the original app they intended to make and named it Cicada. Cicada was an application that aimed to provide individuals with three-to-five minute videos explaining different subject matters. These subjects could range anywhere from how to inflate a bike tire, to the history of cars, to the most complex physics concepts. However, upon release of the application, the two men realized that its success would never take off due to its competition, such as YouTube. Despite this unfortunate realization the two still wanted to launch some type of app, so they turned to the entertainment community industry and musical.ly was born!

Since its creation Zhu and Yang have attracted millions of users and those users have stayed due to its “community-esque” feel. “You can buy the users, but you can’t buy the user retention” Zhu said.

Due to musical.ly’s success the two men noted that “education” just wasn’t something that its target market, millennials, looked for in an app. Millennials want applications that are exciting, riveting, and that can be used as an outlet away from reality. Millennials are also often times busy and on the go, and anything over 15 seconds they usually will “swipe” away because they do not have either the time or the attention span to watch .

However, to say that musical.ly was an instant success would be a undermining of Zhu and Yang’s persistence in pushing the application. Within 30 days of the apps release Zhu and Yang noticed that about 500 downloads were being installed each day. Though this may seem like a large amount of downloads per day to a typical individual, it is not. In fact, 500 downloads per day puts an application in a very lower percentile when examining application success and popularity. Yet, these numbers did not discourage Zhu and Yang and in April 2015 the two men, with the help of their small design team, made a few application changes, such as a moving logo in videos so that the app could be promoted when shared on other forms of social media such as Instagram and Twitter (opposed to being cropped out due to size restraints) and from that point on the design changes caused musical.ly to boom!

Screen Shot 2016-10-09 at 2.55.56 PM.png

On July 6, 2015 musical.ly hit the number 1 spot in the app store and since then has never fallen below the top 40 spot.

How can I get musical.ly?

Musical.ly is primarily a free “mobile device application” in that it works best via a smartphone with camera recording capabilities. However, a variety of smartphones support the application and it is available for download via the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.

Are there any other cool features of musical.ly that I should know about?

Yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! In May 2016 musical.ly created an extension of their application known as livel.ly. livel.ly is a live broadcasting feature, available through musical.ly, that lets musers live stream photos and videos during real time. (* Note: live.ly is only available for free in the iOS App Store and Google Play store.) Think of Periscope or Facebook Live! This means that a muser can record him or herself going to the studio to record a song! Fans of the said muser will receive a push notification that the muser is doing a live broadcast and will have the option to opt in to watch the stream! While watching the live stream users can even comment and send “emoji-love” to the streaming muser to show support! When sending “emoji-love” hearts appear on the bottom of the broadcast stream as a form of encouragement!

However, if you still suffer from “stage fright”, live.ly also has an option that allows friends to join your broadcast via the guesting feature. This is a great way to be able to collaborate with a fellow muser via the lifestream format! The more the merrier!

Ok you have got me sold, I really need to make a musical.ly account now and become a muser myself! Before I do so, I just want to know a few of the major celebrities that use the application!

As mentioned above, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, and Selena Gomez are just a few of the many pop singers who have a musical.ly account!

However, musical.ly’s most followed muser is  15-year-old YouTube vlogger and personality, Ariel Martin, otherwise referred to as “Baby Ariel”, who is actually from Florida! Baby Ariel has over 13 million followers across her YouTube, Instagram, and musical.ly accounts.

Baby Ariel actually rose to fame because of musical.ly when she downloaded the app out of boredom one afternoon. Ever since, she has become hooked on the app, and now releases musical.ly tutorials on the regular, which helps to promote the app!

Below you can meet Baby Ariel and listen to her tips and tricks on how to make a musical.ly account, if you don’t already have one!

If you want to be become the next Baby Ariel, have no fear, you absolutely can! musical.ly features hundreds of videos each and everyday from their musers and you do not need to be famous to be featured! You just need to be creative, one-of-a-kind, and entertaining! For example, some of musical.ly’s most well known musers are individuals Catalina Selman and Maci Pope! Both of these musers are 15 years old and have well over 1 million fans on the application, yet most everyday people have never heard of them!

Overall, make sure YOU get on musical.ly! You can share and promote the app on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, and who knows, you might even make a celebrity out of yourself with the help of this app!

Now that you know almost everything there is to know about musical.ly (and live.ly too!) make sure you watch my Prezi Presentation via Screencast that explicitly highlights some of the most important points read above, in addition to understanding some of the most crucial ways on how a company and brand can use the application well beyond a personal level!

A company and brand can most definitely use musical.ly in ways that most people would never even imagine in order to reposition and leverage themselves within todays competitive market place, so this is a Prezi Presentation that YOU don’t want to miss!

For anymore questions you may have, check out musical.ly’s Q&A page!

















Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s