Facebook wants to deal the final blow to Musical.ly TikTok. But will Zuckerberg’s empire end up the real loser here?
In an effort to turn its disastrous 2018 around, Facebook has introduced several ‘new’ features. You’ve probably seen them before on other apps.
Sound Collections allows users to insert short audio clips of their favorite songs on Facebook and Instagram Stories. Lip Sync Live – a la Musical.ly TikTok – lets users choose a popular song, record themselves singing it, and upload it live.
And, to one-up the competition, the social media platform will soon unveil Talent Show. Users can pick a popular song, record their singing audition, and submit the video for review. They’ll compete against other users on popular Pages.
The features came nearly a year after Bytedance Technology, a top Beijing-based company, overpaid for acquired Musical.ly.
Things haven’t gone well over at the once-booming social media music video maker.
Weekly active users (WAU) continue to fall. The company, according to top creators, has ‘changed’ its values. Major social media stars with millions of followers – Bart Baker, Alina, Shmateo, and Kristen Hancher – have all jumped ship.
One biggest issues is that Bytedance rebranded Musical.ly as TikTok in August. The move helped to alienate its legion of users and top stars.
Now, sensing TikTok’s potential downfall, Facebook has gone in for the kill.
Corralling the competition with Lasso.
Facebook continues to lose its teen audience. The recent controversies – i.e., Cambridge Analytica – haven’t really helped, either.
According to a Pew Research Center study published in June, only 51% of American teens use the platform. Three years ago, that number stood at a strong 71%.
Then, a Piper Jeffrey survey revealed that only 5% of teens in the U.S. cite Facebook as their favorite social media platform. 36% now use the app, down from 61% two years ago.
And, YouTube will soon overtake Facebook as the second most visited website in the United States.
So, to win back its teen audience, the company has started work on Lasso.
Users will reportedly record and share videos lip syncing or dancing to popular songs, just like its competitor. Speaking with TechCrunch, former and current Facebook employees admitted the company has designed the app to compete against TikTok/Musical.ly.
A source explained,
“It’s basically TikTok/Musically. It’s full-screen, built for teens, fun and funny and focused on creation. A lot of what they’re doing is just trying to be cool.”
Brady Voss, Lead Product Designer at Facebook, has reportedly assembled the company’s Video and Watch teams to build the app. He previously presented the Montage feature to Mark Zuckerberg at a 2016 hackathon.
The company first started checking out the ‘teen music app’ space two years ago. Facebook backed off its own project once executives decided Musical.ly didn’t appear “as popular as it touted.”
However, the company revisited the project after securing licensing deals with major labels earlier this year.
Yet, once Facebook launches the app, it may face stiff competition.
According to TechCrunch, despite TikTok’s significant missteps, the app has enjoyed renewed popularity. The app now ranks No. 5 on the App Store, up from No. 32.
Yet, Facebook won’t give up.
Today’s news comes after the company revealed plans to expand its music features on the platform. In addition to expanding Lip Sync Live to more countries, users can now add clips from popular songs onto photos and videos. Soon, Facebook will allow users to post their favorite songs directly onto their profile.
But, one question remains. Will Lasso and its new features really help Facebook win back the hearts of teens? Or, is it Facebook, not TikTok/Musical.ly, that has gone off the deep end?