Chinese firm Bytedance just acquired Musical.ly. Just 3 years from Start to $1Billion and 60 million users along the way, Musical.ly has done for itself pretty damn nicely.
In 2014, the MCU was just 10 movies old and the app Musical.ly did not exist. Now the musical app, which lets users (mostly teens) make videos of themselves lip-syncing to various kinds of audio, is set to be acquired for $1 Billion.
The super-popular lip-syncing app Musical.ly has been acquired by Bytedance – the Chinese firm behind China’s major news aggregation service Jinri Toutiao. Further details of the deal haven’t been disclosed yet but various sources told Wall Street Journal that sale of the app was valued somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion.
Since its launch in early 2014, Musical.ly has expanded beyond just the initial social lip-syncing video content. This past year, it launched a separate spin-off live-streaming app called Livel.ly and in early 2017, it started offering original mini-shows. Then in June, a how-to show called Fashion to DIY For, a short version of Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out show, Hearst’s Seventeen and the City, and a series called Greatest Party Story Ever all debuted on the new app with new content coming soon from NBCUniversal.
Musical.ly is quite interesting for a couple of reasons:
- It’s a textbook case of the amazing growth track fueled by a worldwide population of mobile phone owners.
- It quite possibly is the most successful video content app not owned by internet giants like Facebook or Google.
- The first Chinese-backed social media app to find solid success in the United States.
- It effectively became a messaging and social app for a user base that was too young to be using social and messaging apps.
Here’s the catch: The fact that Muscial.ly is being sold just a year after a funding round that valued the company at $500 million, is a sign that the owners believe its growth trajectory & curve is flattening out.
The company boasts of 60 million users, most of which it reportedly acquired in the first two years of its run, and it hasn’t been able to expand beyond the tweens and teens that flocked to the app initially.
Bytedance, which is valued at $20 billion, will keep Musical.ly an independent business.