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Musical.ly Is Going Away: Users to Be Shifted to Bytedance’s TikTok Video App

Variety logo Variety 8/2/2018 Todd Spangler
a group of women posing for a photo © Provided by Variety

It’s the end of the road for Musical.ly, the short-form video app that grew to more than 100 million active monthly users since its 2014 launch — and spawned its own digital stars and passionate creator community.

As of Thursday (Aug. 2), the Musical.ly app is no longer available. Users will be migrated to TikTok, a similar short-form video-sharing app from Chinese internet giant Bytedance. The move to consolidate Musical.ly’s audience with TikTok comes after Bytedance closed the acquisition of Musical.ly in November 2017 in a deal reportedly worth up to $1 billion.

Existing Musical.ly user accounts, content and followers will automatically move to the new TikTok app, according to the company. Bytedance says TikTok has 500 million active monthly users worldwide, and the company concluded it made sense to merge Musical.ly and TikTok under one roof.

In June, Musical.ly shut down Live.ly, its live-streaming companion app, and encouraged users to switch to Cheetah Mobile’s LiveMe, a similar app in which Bytedance had committed invested $50 million in funding.

Musical.ly started life as an app that let users record themselves lip-syncing along to songs and audio clips. It gained a large following, mostly in the U.S., with a user base skewing toward tween and teenage girls. In an update a year ago, Musical.ly tried to broaden the app’s feature set to try to widen its appeal as a social-video platform; it also had struck content partnerships with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines Digital Media to produce original short-form series for Musical.ly.

According to Bytedance, the upgraded TikTok app incorporates the most popular elements of both TikTok and Musical.ly apps. It includes a feed that highlights content from a users’ community and features a personalized video recommendations based on viewing preferences.

“Combining musical.ly and TikTok is a natural fit given the shared mission of both experiences — to create a community where everyone can be a creator,” Alex Zhu, co-founder of Musical.ly and senior VP of TikTok, said in a statement.

Bytedance said TikTok will launch a series of new creator programs to provide technical support, performance insights and guidance on growth strategy.

Upcoming features planned for TikTok will include: a “reaction” feature that allows users to react to friends’ videos; enhanced creative tools like interactive gesture filters and “fun-house mirror camera effects”; and greenscreen-like background effects.

Musical.ly’s official Twitter account has purged of all of its previous tweets, and late Wednesday posted just one message: “RIP #Musically.”

TikTok is available via Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Existing musical.ly users will automatically upgrade to TikTok when they update the current app.

TikTok is based in L.A., with offices in London, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Jakarta, Mumbai, and Moscow. Musical.ly’s head of North American operations, Alex Hofmann, left the company in January after the Bytedance deal.

Here’s a video showing TikTok in action:

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