Musical.ly’s iPhone App Gets Redesign, Profile Videos, and Similar Video Suggestions

Social video app Musical.ly has been updated to version 6.0.1 today, bringing a few notable additions like a refresh to the overall design of the app, a new section that suggests videos users might like to watch, and updates to profile pages (via Variety).

Musical.ly, which launched in 2014, rose in popularity thanks to its focus on user-created lip-sync videos. The app allows anyone who downloads it to pick from a library of songs -- now sourced through Apple Music -- then record, edit, and share a short video to the app, and to other social media sites.


That core concept remains, and users can now upload a profile video that lasts about six seconds to represent themselves when others visit their profile on Musical.ly. The app has also added Twitter as a site where users can share their clips, coming in addition to YouTube and Instagram.

Musical.ly is also host to a large collection of videos that its 215 million users can browse and watch, spanning genres like comedy, beauty, fashion, sports, vlogs, food, and animals. Original short-form videos have also been created through partnerships with NBCUniversal, Hearst, and Viacom.

This expansion of its video platform side has led to the new video curating feature, called "similar musical.lys" in the app's new update. The changes are an effort to expand the app's user base beyond its teenage-focused demographic, according to Musical.ly president Alex Hofmann, with the video recommendations aimed at new users who might download the app to watch videos, but not have had much use for Musical.ly's other social and video creation features.
The No. 1 goal of the new app design is to make “a wide range of content more accessible,” Hofmann said. The new “similar musical.lys” section recommends videos that are similar to videos you’ve watched using an algorithm that incorporates several factors, including a computer-vision system that tries to determine what a video is about.

“We want to make this about personalization,” Hofmann said. “If someone comes in and they’re a 40-year-old guy who watched basketball videos, they will get value in the same way as someone who comes in at a younger age.”
Earlier this year, Apple partnered with Musical.ly to provide Apple Music content as song snippet options within Musical.ly, and in exchange the company agreed to promote Apple Music within its app. The deal allowed Apple Music subscribers to listen to full songs directly within Musical.ly, and also expanded the number of countries where Musical.ly is available from 30 to 120.

Musical.ly is available to download from the iOS App Store for free [Direct Link], as well as on the Google Play Store.


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Musical.ly in Talks With Viacom and NBCUniversal to Create Original Programming

Popular entertainment social network Musical.ly is in talks with media companies including Viacom and NBCUniversal to make original programming, according to people familiar with the matter (via Bloomberg).

The company is said to be seeking content for its music video sharing platform that is "participatory and interactive" rather than feeling heavily produced, with a view to broadening its appeal beyond music, to potentially include comedy and sports.


Founded in August 2014, Musical.ly has surged in popularity among U.S. teenagers, and claims over 100 million users globally. The app allows users to filter, edit, and broadcast short video clips with song snippets, some of which are provided by Apple Music as part of a licensing deal in exchange for promoting the streaming service within the app. The Shanghai company also owns live streaming app Live.ly, group video chat Squad, and video messaging app Pingpong.

Musical.ly follows Facebook, Snap, Twitter, YouTube, and Apple in the race to produce original video programming online, with digital companies seeking to aggressively compete in the growing digital media market.

NBCUniversal has already partnered with Musical.ly for the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards and is reportedly in talks with the startup to develop more Hispanic-focused entertainment. Hearst's Seventeen magazine also recently announced its intention to make a video series focused on fashion and beauty for Musical.ly.

In related news, Musical.ly is set to launch a new feature next week that will allow users to create face masks, similar to the lenses or filters used on Snapchat and now Instagram, according to the people who spoke to Bloomberg. Called Face.ly, the feature will be like Bitmoji, which lets users create animated avatars of themselves. The long-term plan involves Face.ly becoming a separate app, if the feature proves popular with teens.


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Austin Mahone, Jake Paul among special guests for What’s Trending’s Giving Tuesday live stream

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LOS ANGELES — Musician Austin Mahone and digital influencer Jake Paul are among the handful of celebrities who are joining a special 24-hour live stream on Giving Tuesday. 

The stream is co-hosted by Shira Lazar, CEO and founder of online media brand What’s Trending, and YouTuber Bart Baker. 

All proceeds from the live broadcast, which will take place at musical.ly’s new Los Angeles headquarters, will be donated to the Pablove Foundation, which works to help fight childhood cancer.

What’s Trending is a media company with over 125 million YouTube views to date. Musical.ly, which has over 160 million users, is a video social network for creating, sharing and discovering short videos, and live.ly is its sister app. Read more…

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