Musical.ly: Teen fad or the future of music discovery?

It’s no secret that social media plays an important (perhaps the most important) role in modern day music discovery on the internet. Nowadays, it seems a song’s success isn’t measured by how many people simply listen to the track, but by how much traction it gets on social media. When a song makes its way to a number of humorous Instagram videos, memes and Snapchat stories, you know it’s a golden beat.

So, how exactly did this “video clip” phenomenon get so popular in the music world? Perhaps we can trace it back to Vine, the first social media platform that allowed this brief immersive social experience with every post.

A more recent video sharing app called Musical.ly continues in Vine’s footsteps and could perhaps revolutionize the way we discover music. What started as a teen craze is transforming into a highly efficient way to market music and engage the public.

Is this app merely a temporary market trend for Generation Z, or is it actually changing the way we discover music and shaping the future of the industry? While Musical.ly is still in its early development stages, we can definitely see some promising results.

what is musical.ly?

Simply put, Musical.ly is a video interaction app that allows users to lip-sync a 15-second clip of a song and share it with millions of other fans. The Shanghai-based app surfaced in the US in October 2014 and almost instantly popularized among American audiences–mainly teenage girls. As juvenile as this teenybopper app may sound, it has some profound music discovery features that are turning heads and possibly laying the foundation for future tech trends in music discovery.

interaction meets discovery

Every music platform out there has some sort of feature for discovering new music–whether it’s YouTube‘s “Recommended for You” tab or Spotify‘s “Discover Weekly” playlist, they all use personalized metadata to help you discover new content.

Musical.ly is doing just this, but with a more interactive twist. According to an article by Rolling Stone, last October, Musical.ly launched its #NextWave program to enhance music discovery within the platform. Each month, 15 songs by mostly emerging artists are selected to essentially compete for a promotion spot on the app’s home page; the song with the most user lip syncs wins. This type of interaction creates a more personal music experience and naturally causes listeners resonate more with the songs and in turn begin streaming them regularly. Could personal video interaction be the future of music discovery? Musical.ly is making us think so.

how can emerging artists benefit from the app

The beauty of Musical.ly (especially the #NextWave program) is that lesser-known artists are brought to the surface and mixed in with a few artists who already have large fan bases. With more than 70 million users on the app, emerging artists are gaining exposure simply by being registered with Musical.ly.

There is also a “My City” feature that allows you to tune into “musers” (this is what Musical.ly users call themselves) in your area. Although the majority of musers aren’t even old enough to drive, this idea could open doors for other music streaming apps that appeal to an older audience. This type of tech feature would be extremely beneficial to a music-heavy city such as Austin.

While Musical.ly is booming through the younger generation, it is an app that all music techies should keep an eye on. Who knows? With its growth and influences, it could be the next Instagram or Snapchat.

 

Photo courtesy of Musical.ly