Apple Music, the iPhone maker’s music-streaming service, on Friday started supplying songs to lip-synching application Musical.ly, Recode reported. The deal will provide access to snippets of songs from Apple Music while promoting its subscription-based service
- Musical.ly has more than 100 million users globally and is available in 120 countries. The mobile app last year exploded in popularity among U.S. teens and pre-teens who treat Musical.ly like a social media network for sharing self-made music videos. Shanghai-based Musical.ly used to rely solely on British company 7digital for music clips.
Musical.ly is the No. 1 music-related app and No. 34 overall, according to download data published by AppAnnie. Because the app is used to record and edit music videos, users spend an average of three and a half minutes per session with the app — more than with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, per Sensor Tower.
Apple was the dominant force in digital music for a long via iTunes. Then streaming music took off, with services like Spotify and Pandora becoming popular. In response, Apple launched its own streaming service, Apple Music, which has quickly become a heavyweight but its role is not guaranteed as the space continue to grow. In this light, the news suggests Apple Music may be looking for tie-ups such as the one with Musical.ly to get in front of potential new customers and bolster the platform's relevance with young consumers, typically the biggest consumers of music.
Musical.ly is notable for being the first Chinese social media app that hit the big time globally, and it has greater potential to generate revenue with advertising and in-app purchases. The app combines music and video in a way that’s fun for teens and pre-teens to share through their mobile devices.
The app’s biggest limitation is its fad appeal, with one ranking of downloads showing that Musical.ly’s popularity is fading. The app will need ongoing celebrity endorsements and customized content to help maintain a following and to reach new audiences.
Musical.ly is trying to carve out a bigger social media presence with Live.ly for live broadcasting, Squad for group video chat and Ping Pong for video messaging. As TechCrunch noted, Ping Pong was released with little fanfare and was susceptible to crashes and error messages. Musical.ly may need to focus on a strategy for monetizing its existing user base before cranking out new, untested apps.