"Famous" Is The New "Popular"

No amount of "reach" can guarantee a successful Musical.ly campaign. Eyeballs are a gateway to engagement, but achieving real results “off-platform” requires the community at-large to remuse your sound (slang for making a musically with a sound discovered in-feed) on their own terms. To accomplish this your song must appeal to the one innate desire of every muser: to get “famous.” 
If you’re wondering how a 13-year-old gets “famous for lip-syncing,” you’re missing the point. “Famous” is just the new “popular.” Every pre-teen on the planet wants to be more popular in school. It’s human nature. If rocking the hottest Thrasher Mag hoodie or flashing the smoothest fidget spinner makes you cafeteria cool, then those products are going to sell. Think of the Musical.ly community just like middle school, but songs are the hot trends and enrollment is 200 million.
It’s easy for musers to earn cred by posting a popular artist’s latest track. But a 15-second clip from a lesser known artist will only trend on Musical.ly if remusing it will make musers more popular. Here are a few examples of emerging artists who have broken out on Musical.ly by appealing to the community’s insatiable desire for more followers.

Track: Kent Jones - Don’t Mind
Case: #dontmindchallenge is the easiest dance challenge in the history of the Internet. Everyone could do it, and in early 2016 everyone did. It became a prerequisite for popular.
Example: [CLICK HERE]
Take away: Do your lyrics tell a story? What simple hand motions or choreography can help musers go beyond lip-syncing to stand out?


Track: Black Coast - Trndsttr (Lucian remix)
Case: In late 2015, musers were using this track’s staccato beat to invent and perfect new hand-held filming techniques. Mastering a new filming style remains one of the best ways to stand out, get featured, and become “famous.”
Example: [CLICK HERE]
Take away: Stay current on the platform and consider how your song can become the anthem for a new style, trend or challenge. Search #transitioner and #highkickchallenge for more inspiration.

Track: Zay Hillfigerrr - Juju on That Beat
Case: This hook gave tens of millions of tweens something they’ve wanted for a long time: an excuse to embrace Atlanta street dance culture. If you could “hit-dem-folks” in “FAST” mode by Fall 2016, you were a legend. So the kids stayed up all night practicing in the mirror.
Example: [CLICK HERE]
Take away: How can your song open doors to an intriguing subculture or underground trend?

Track: Olivia O’brien - hate u love u
Reason: Kids are emotional, too. This track’s message taps into the community’s desire to express sensitivity in a fun way without feeling vulnerable.
Example: [CLICK HERE]
Take away: Musical.ly isn’t all pop and hip-hop. Musers are often the most expressive with powerful ballads which, in some cases, provide greater upside.

Impressions alone are not enough. Your sounds must reach “the audience of your audience”[1] in order to break out off-platform. If your Musical.ly campaign isn’t designed to inspire remusing then it’s a broadcasting exercise that drastically under-utilizes the power of the platform. Position your song to help the community get “famous” and your artists will too!

- Max

[1] Hit Makers - Derek Thompson, I highly recommend this book.

The Teenage Life, Streamed Live and for Profit // NY Times

Musical.ly, Apple Music Ink New Partnership, With More to Come // Billboard

Gen Z Power List: Meet the Brands, Platforms and Creators That Teens Love / ADWEEK

From Musers To Money: Inside Video App Musical.ly's Coming Of Age // Forbes

Musical.ly Talking With Viacom, NBC for Original Shows // Bloomberg

Time Inc’s INSTANT Brand Launches A ‘TRL’ Analogue For Musical.ly’s Live.ly // Tubefilter

Fashion publications team with Musical.ly to cater to younger readers // DIGIDAY

Black Teens Are Breaking The Internet And Seeing None Of The Profits // The Fader

How Teen Craze Musical.ly Got Too Big for Pop to Ignore // Rolling Stone

How to use Musical.ly, the app with 150 million users that teens are obsessed with // Business Insider

Jacob Sartorius is poised to take over the world thanks to Musical.ly // Chicago Tribune