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Video app Chosen doubles down on music video creation with access to 20M songs

TechCrunch TechCrunch 30/06/2016 Fitz Tepper

Started over a year ago by the ex-CEO of Beats Music, Chosen is a video creation app with a competitive element. Users create short clips on their phones, and can view others while swiping left or right to up vote or down vote the clip.

Originally, the videos were designed to be short clips of users showcasing their musical abilities – playing the guitar, singing, or even yodeling. The voting system would surface stars while hiding amateurs, acting like a crowdsourced American Idol.

But, as with most app startups, it didn’t quite take off – at least not in the way the company envisioned.

Instead of becoming a virtual music talent show, the app morphed into a generalized video platform to create and share videos with your friends.

The app also benefited from a investment by Ellen DeGeneres and partnership with The Ellen Show, which consisted of multiple challenges where users would submit videos to show off that they were a better dancer than Ellen or had the cutest pet. This was a great way to generate content in the app, and to date the challenges represent the bulk of video content inside Chosen.

But at the same time, a new app called Musical.ly was gaining traction among the highly sought-after teenage demographic. The music video lip-sync platform quickly turned short music videos into the most popular type of video content among teens.

Chosen saw a similar trend – while they didn’t offer the ability to dub videos with songs, music videos became one of the most popular types of content on the platform.

So today the app is launching an update that includes the ability to create music videos with samples of more than 20 million different songs.

According to the Chosen CEO David Hyman, the move reflects a larger trend – young people don’t watch music videos any more. They watch short homemade lip-sync clips on platforms like Musical.ly, Vine and Instagram.

While older users consumer music in a passive way (like Pandora), this generation discovers music by interacting with it and creating content. So while the short-term goal is for this update to support the creativity of users who want to create music videos, Hyman notes that eventually Chosen could become a destination for users to actually discover new music.

Plus, to further aid user’s creative endeavors, the company is also launching a feature that lets creators use facial recognition technology to impose imagery and clothing on top of their video – sort of like a simplified Snapchat Lenses feature.

The update launched today and is available in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store now.

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