With the launch of Instagram’s new music features, will Musical.ly get ‘Snapchatted’?
Last week, we revealed that Facebook’s Instagram was quietly rolling out some new features. Users on Spotify and GoPro’s mobile apps could suddenly tap share buttons and send content via Instagram Stories. From Spotify, users could simply share a sticker of songs, playlists, and albums currently streaming. The stickers would feature a link to play the music on Spotify.
Now, more details about these music stickers have emerged. And, it appears that Facebook’s ready to do away with Musical.ly — with another round of brutal imitation.
According to TechCrunch, new code found inside the Instagram app reveals the company’s full plans for its music stickers rollout. Facebook has started testing ways to automatically detect songs that users listen to. Instagram would then display the artist and song title.
One user, Jane Manchung Wong, posted an image of a semi-functional prototype.
The app would crash when she tried to post the music stickers — but it looks like an early-stage implementation. Wong added that Instagram would automatically detect the song playing on her phone and create a music sticker.
People are already checking Instagram dozens of times a day. They’re also listening to music constantly. Now, there’s indications that an automatic handshake is about to happen.
As seen in the image, users will also find a Search Music function. They can search for songs, genres, and musical moods to add as listenable music stickers. Other users would then presumably listen to the song shared on these Stories.
Facebook has yet to confirm the news. Yet, Instagram did confirm other features spotted by other users. The app will receive a Focus Mode for shooting portraits and QR-scannable Nametags for following people and video calls.
Speaking about the upcoming feature, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine wrote,
“Listenable music stickers would make Instagram Stories much more interesting to watch. Amateur video footage suddenly looks like DIY MTV when you add the right score.”
The planned feature could turn Instagram into a powerful app for music discovery. To find out how it would fare against competitors (i.e., Musical.ly), just look at Instagram Stories’ relatively short history.
In 2016, Instagram rolled out their version – i.e., clone – of Snapchat Stories. Prior to the feature’s launch on Instagram, Snapchat experienced strong Daily Active User (DAU) growth. DAU on the messaging app had grown 15% and 17% quarter-on-quarter in 2016. Then, after Instagram launched its Stories feature, Snapchat’s DAU growth flatlined.
Today, thanks to poor company leadership and even worse DAU growth, parent company Snap trades at $10.97. At launch in 2017, shares closed at $23.32. The company has also recently announced that its CFO will step down.
Snapchat is undoubtedly messing things up on their own. But Instagram has been brutally lifting Snapchat features and making them better, with Snapchat left flat-footed and unable to retaliate.
And despite recent federal investigations over privacy concerns, Facebook clearly has the money, the power, and the reach to transform Instagram into the largest social media and music discovery app. In the last quarter alone, the social media platform recently added 48 million users — though additions were notably soft in countries like the U.S.
But we’ll still need more time to see the full Cambridge Analytica fallout.
Meanwhile, Facebook has also signed major licensing deals with Sony, Warner, Universal, and ICE. Its deal with ICE covers 160 countries and over 290,000 rightsholders. And remember, a lot of people outside of North America and Europe simply don’t care about the Cambridge Analytica meltdown.
Also, take a look at how the app’s competitors currently fare. Instagram last reported 800 million monthly active users last September. Snapchat has around 187 million daily active users. Musical.ly has over 200 million users.
As with its competitors, Facebook makes its money from advertisers. And, with music licensing deals locked down, it doesn’t have to launch a separate streaming music service just to earn back the money. In fact, a conventional streaming service sounds like a great way to burn a billion dollars without bolstering Instagram’s core service.
With the launch of Instagram’s music stickers feature, expect others users to quickly jump ship from Snapchat and Musical.ly.
After all, what purpose will they serve once Instagram rolls out music stickers? Just ask Kylie Jenner. After just one post asking if anyone still used the app, Snap lost $1.7 billion in value. It also put a noticeable dent in the company’s growth. And with Musical.ly, why would anyone need a separate social media app just to post lip syncing videos?
Oh, well. Snapchat and Musical.ly were good apps while they lasted.
Featured image by Instagram.