Musical.ly, the new social video app of choice for post-internet teenagers, best known for its lip-syncing feature, is taking a page out of Snapchat’s handbook, Variety reports.
The startup will launch original “shows,” with two- to four-minute episodes, starting with content from NBC, MTV, and Hearst properties. Like Snapchat shows, they’ll appear in a featured section of the app for 24 hours. This move comes after the startup’s live-streaming app Live.ly experimented with curated content from partners like Sweety High, a content studio and lifestyle site that describes itself as “an empowered destination for Gen Z females.”
The first two shows, an abridged Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out from MTV and a DIY runway show Fashion to DIY For from Seventeen, debuted today. Two more — MTV’s Greatest Party Story Ever (which is partly animated, partly user-submitted content), and Seventeen in the City, a Hearst show about things for teens to do in New York City — will premiere on Saturday.
NBC plans to launch an E! show called Crush, featuring popular Musical.ly users (referred to by the platform as “musers”) talking about their celebrity crushes, sometime in the next few weeks. It has also signed on for multiple series involving NBC Entertainment and Telemundo properties.
The key difference between Musical.ly and Snapchat programming will be the centrality of interactive features. Musical.ly users can post video responses with show-specific hashtags, and a page collecting all of the responses will appear at the end of the episode. Musical.ly North America president Alex Hofmann told Variety, “We have seen a paradigm shift where consumers are becoming creators. They don’t want to just watch videos anymore.” We’ve also seen, some might say, a paradigm shift toward social platforms taking greater advantage of the content that their users make for free.
Musical.ly currently boasts 40 million active users and a working partnership with Apple Music, and raised $100 million at a $500 million valuation last year.