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Flipagram signs deal to bring real music to its short photo and video stories

You've probably never heard of it either

Flipagram — an app that you probably have never heard until right now which has amassed over 33 million users — has struck a deal with major labels, independents, and publishers, giving it access to their considerable music libraries. The fast-growing social app lets users create short photo or video stories set to music — users created over 14 million stories in the first quarter of 2015.

Flipagram now has $70 million in the bank

Flipagram has a rapidly expanding collection of celebrity users, including One Direction, Madonna, Maroon 5, Garth Brooks, and Britney Spears. The app has grown in part because of the ability to export stories to Instagram and Facebook — those fancy video clips the #teens post on Instagram likely come from Flipagram — but the new music deals won't help the company in that aspect. The music from the new licensing deals is limited to the app; if you try to share the story to Instagram or Facebook, the music will be pulled out.

iTunes links for songs used in stories are prominently displayed, as Flipagram makes its money as an iTunes affiliate. (It also links to Spotify, for the streaming-inclined.) The LA-based startup, which launched in 2013 has also closed a $70 million round led by Sequoia Capital to help it expand globally.

"With these deals, our users get unprecedented access to a comprehensive catalog of popular, classic, and indie song clips to use as the soundtrack to their Flipagram stories," Flipagram founder and CEO Farhad Mohit said in a statement. "And our music partners benefit from having their music featured and available for purchase in the tens of millions of Flipagrams being created and shared each month worldwide."

Now that it has a big cache of cash and the full backing of music industry power players, it will be interesting to see if Flipagram can go from an Instagram tool to a full-fledged competitor.