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 influencer 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