musical.ly is one of the hippest social media apps among teenagers. The startup with its headquarters in Shanghai exists since 2014, but only in summer 2015 the app skyrocketed to one of the most successful social media apps in the States. Since then, musical.ly has expanded and now boasts more than 240 million users – they call themselves musers – worldwide, with numbers still rising. How did the startup manage this massive success and what is the next step? We spoke with Verena Papik, Director of Marketing EMEA at musical.ly about the story behind their achievements.
musical.ly was launched 2015 and by August 2016 had over 140 million users worldwide. What separates musical.ly from the rest of the market?
musical.ly defines itself through an innovative approach and adapts to what the users need. musical.ly stands for a harmonious community which supports each of its members; this is why many musers become famous very quickly and draw in fans from everywhere. On top of all this stands the creativity of our users and the freedom they have to express themselves how they really are. musical.ly is a platform and a chance for everybody, to share his or her individual talent with the world.
68% of the musers are young women
Who are the musers?
Right now, over 240 million people worldwide use musical.ly. On average, the community is between 13 and 20 years old and 68% of the musers are young women. The users and their talents can be divided into categories, for example, “Dance”, “Comedy”, “Sports”, or “Gaming”. The sheer number of individual talents makes it impossible to count them accurately, but they all have at least one thing in common – they want to share their creativity with the community. We encourage this and reach out to older target audiences as well – for example, through cooperations with soccer clubs like the 1. FC Köln or various premium show formats. We continuously expand the kind of content we offer our users.
musical.ly grew extremely quickly. How many employees does the company have currently?
musical.ly has grown from a startup with the vision to entertain people through video content to one of the most popular social media platforms. We employ 200 staff members worldwide to ensure that we can satisfy the needs and wishes of our community and give our musers the unique content they desire. We have even developed our very own musical.ly laboratory to push forward the newest innovations and trends and stay in touch with the spirit of the time.
How is musical.ly different from other social media apps?
We offer our community a unique entertainment experience based on video content it can interact with. We always listen to the wishes of our users and implement them as quickly as possible. For this to work, we stay in touch with our users day in and day out and include them where possible, for example, when it comes to product development. Beyond that, our users are not only connected with their friends at home but can develop friendships worldwide through our platform. Because we want to encourage this, we often organize offline events for meetings between our users in real life. This is another unique point about musical.ly – we transport the online musical.ly spirit into the offline world and create unparalleled moments and memories for our community.
We have about 70 million users in Europe, which accounts for one third of total musical.ly users
We frequently interview the aspiring musers on our platform – our Local Heroes. Through these interviews, we observe time and time again how enabling the musical.ly community is for each of its members. Our Local Heroes emphasize every time how they feel at home on our platform and feel like they can be themselves on musical.ly. They feel that way because our community’s most striking feature is the acceptance and tolerance of each other, which is what separates us from other platforms.
Does musical.ly have a rival, another app you view as competition?
We concentrate on our strengths and those aspects that make us unique and separate us from other apps. Simultaneously, we make use of the opportunities other social networks offer us. Our musers can, for example, share their own musical.lys or those of others via Instagram or WhatsApp, to let their friends take part in their creativity.
“musical.ly positions itself more and more as an all-round entertainment platform.” – Verena Papik, Director of Marketing EMEA at musical.ly
While musical.ly is very popular in the United States, in many other countries it still is not as known. How is the situation in Germany and Europe?
About 11,5 million musers use the app in German-speaking areas. In Europe, we have about 70 million users, which accounts for one third of total musical.ly users. The awareness towards musical.ly in the German media landscape is growing. In the States, the greater use of social media helped musical.ly become this successful so quickly. Over there, media use it specifically to attract and stay in touch with younger audiences. Good Morning America would be one example. Generally, new apps have a harder time on the European market, but we have become a staple on the smartphones of European teenagers already.
What’s next? Do you have any exciting insights for us? What can we expect in the months to come?
musical.ly positions itself more and more as an all-round entertainment platform. Our focus has shifted, from concentrating only on music and the classic lip sync videos we are known for to a greater variety. We have developed into a platform for an entire generation; our premium shows, hashtag campaigns, international stars, and cooperations with, for example, Apple Music solidify our position. In the future, we want to expand further and professionalize our entertainment offers.
In the next few months, we will focus on events that will bridge the gap between online and offline. I cannot reveal more details about that yet.
What role is musical.ly going to play in three years among the social networks?
Naturally, we want to solidify musical.ly’s position further as one of the most popular social video networks out there and continue to grow with the current generation. We would like to unite pop cultures worldwide and leave our mark in the mobile entertainment industry.
*numbers current at the time of writing
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