Musical.ly Is Deprioritizing Music

Musical.ly is deprioritizing music. Next Wave, FIRSTLISTEN, and artist hashtag contests have all been discontinued. They don’t even feature music lip-sync posts anymore. 

As you might expect, this has made marketing music on the platform more difficult. But the technical features that make Musical.ly the greatest promotional opportunity in the history of the music industry are still intact. As long as you understand how these changes affect muser behavior, you can run winning marketing campaigns on the platform for at least another five months.

Despite a massive effort to ensure that our music is properly licensed, labeled, and tracked, musers have always been able to upload bootleg audio clips (“original sounds”) directly to the platform. Ironically, now with 60 million monthly active users creating over 12 million musicallys per day, the app's new attitude toward music has led unlicensed, untrackable “original sounds” to be more than twice as popular as official audios (study inset). 

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Since your goal is to inspire the most remakes of your artist’s song, regardless of how it wound up on Musical.ly, don't be afraid to run your campaign on an “original sound” that has been ingested by a popular tastemaker. 

This strategy comes at a perceived cost since “original sounds” don’t carry the artist name or track title. Instead, they appear as “original sound - musername.” In my experience, however, the loss of name recognition has been far outpaced by the increased volume of remakes.

 
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Moreover, when fans take an extra step to discover the name of the song (looking back to the original post, shazaming with a separate device, or googling the lyrics), they take ownership of the discovery function and are more likely to become true champions of the music off-platform.

Remember, the Musical.ly community is like a middle school where trends go in and out of style very quickly. Remusing officially ingested audio from an emerging artist is becoming akin to wearing your backpack on both shoulders when I was in 8th grade (~'94). The kids just aren’t doing it. With a close eye on new trends you'll be able to find success marketing on Musical.ly through the Winter...at least.

- Max

Jacob Sartorius made his live television debut on TRL // MTV

The Social Media Platform That Has Gen Z Obsessed // WSJ

musical.ly // Lefsetz Letter

Brands are using influencers on Musical.ly to reach teens // DIGIDAY

How YouTube Entrepreneurs In Their 20s Are Disrupting Traditional Record Labels // Forbes

How Instagram Became The Music Industry’s Secret Weapon // Fast Company

Musical.ly Launches Major Update to Video App, Which May Help Broaden Its Audience // Variety

Digital Creator Brat Unveils Fall Slate of High School-Set Shows // Variety

Who's the Tech Copycat Now? // Bloomberg

The Digital Agency Redefining How Major Labels Market Artists // Forbes

Musical.ly Is a Great Place to Discover New Music, Even If You're Not a Teenager // W Magazine

Beyond the lip-sync: Musical.ly pushes into professionally produced shows // DIGIDAY

These Teens Are Making Thousands a Month With Karaoke App Musical.ly // Money

‘A dicey situation’: Snapchat gives influencers the cold shoulder // DIGIDAY

Musical.ly and Spinnin' Records to launch new TV show on Live.ly // Music Week

The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet // Time

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