It seems like almost every day there’s a new app that all the cool kids — or just kids in general — are using. Right now, one of the apps steadily gaining popularity with seven to 16 year olds is musical.ly. Gary Vaynerchuk on Medium gives a good explanation of the app:
“musical.ly allows you to make short 15-second videos of yourself lip-syncing to popular music and audio bites. Think about it as a mashup of Vine, Snapchat, and DubSmash”.
Vaynerchuk argues that it has the potential to become the next Snapchat because of its ability to stay relevant and appears to have the same staying power. He says that musical.ly has been able to “cut through the noise” on the App Store and Google Play store for two reasons: winning the teenage demographic and being a utility app that exploits users’ desire to be creators.
Musical.ly is a social network very much like Snapchat and Vine. Now that Facebook is no longer “cool”, and as more children have access to cell phones, tablets, and other devices, the race is on for social apps to catch the attention of the teen and tween demographic. If you think about it, it’s difficult for social platforms to not only gain popularity in one demographic, but also have staying power and finding popularity in other demographics. Facebook was the first platform to really do this, starting with college-age and then gathered popularity from older and younger demographics. Snapchat started young and then aged up. Facebook is losing a bit with the current teenage demographic, but where Facebook is losing, Snapchat pics up the slack. Vaynerchuk explains why Snapchat won the attention of teens and tweens:
“it understood two factors that are very important when it comes to teens: (1) it’s not cool to hang out at the same place as your mom and (2) you want to lock your room”.
As I mentioned, Snapchat is beginning to skew a little older now, trying to get users from other demos, and Vaynerchuk believes musical.ly will do the same.
Another interesting thing about the app is that it’s similar to Instagram in the sense that it is a utility app. Instagram allowed users to take decent photos with their devices, edit them, and then share them with friends. Once this brought in a strong user base, Instagram became a social network. Vaynerchuk explains:
“If you can understand this, you can see the potential for musical.ly. It is allowing a younger generation to generate content in ways that they would not be able to produce as easily on their own. It is democratizing content creation for young people by giving them the resources (i.e., filters, control over video speed, access to professional audio) to make fun and entertaining content”.
If you think this app is just a passing fad and that tweens and teens will move on to the next social media app soon, you might not be wrong, but keep in mind the amount of users for musical.ly has grown exponentially in the last year. Right now there are over 90 million users globally, whereas last year there were only 10 million. Plus, it’s an interesting concept and if it can start to get attention from older demographics, it might just have staying power.