Musical.ly (social network) is larger than the population in Germany.
A free app with 90 million users allows “musers” to upload 15-second lip-sync videos. The platform’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last six months, drawing 50 percent of American teens and reportedly helping the company raise $100 million.
“Musical.ly allows everyone to be an entertainer,” says co-founder Alex Zhu. It also, in theory, allows everyone to be a star. That’s the case with 13-year-old Jacob Sartorius, a tween-pop personality whose 8 million Musical.ly followers helped propel his debut single, “Sweatshirt,” to No.58 on the Billboard Hot 100 this summer.
Such momentum hasn’t escaped industry attention. In May, a campaign for Ariana Grande‘s “Into You” yielded 150,000 lip-sync videos in one day. Acts like 5 Seconds of Summer and FloRida have posted lip-syncs to promote singles. In July, the app announced a label licensing deal with Warner Music Group. As Zhu puts it: “Our vision [is] to make music more participatory.”