If you’re a musician then you probably aren’t aware of lip-synching site Musical.ly. After all, why pretend to create music when you’re able to do it for real? That’s said, there are millions of people everywhere who find doing short clips of themselves lip-syncing to hit songs is a lot of fun – 200 million of them, in fact. That’s why the site was recently purchased for around $800 million by the Chinese company Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.
Musical.ly is embraced mostly by very young Gen Z users, more than 80% of the female, who thrive on the service’s 15 second songs, but there are already signs that the it’s peaked. For one thing, other apps that are popular with Gen Zers like Snapchat and Instagram are offering the same feature, while Musical.ly is somewhat of a one trick pony. As a result, the service has struggled to grow beyond that demographic, and as anyone with teenagers knows, they’re extremely fickle and have a short attention span. What works for them today may not be even on their radar tomorrow, and there are signs that’s beginning to happen, especially in the United States.
Musical.ly has been a source of income for the music business though, as it entered into its first major label licensing deal with Warner Music in 2016,, and has since integrated with Apple Music so that users of both services are able to stream full songs. It also recently launched a live-streaming app called Live.ly, which includes content from Viacom, NBCUniversal, Hearst, among others.
That said, the service is actually making money, as advertisers like the demographic that it caters to. As a result, it looks to be a solid investment for ByteDance, a company that’s valued at around $20 billion with its flagship Toutiao news reader app being one of China’s fastest growing internet services with 120 million daily users.
Regardless, it’s pretty interesting for a company that caters to pretend singers to be worth a lot more than many that cater to the real thing.