I work to stay as in-the-know as possible on mobile app trends and emerging social applications. As I get older, I’m coming face-to-face with the stark reality that I’m no longer the target market for an application like Musical.ly. Give my passion for technology, it doesn’t change the fact that I want to learn as much about it as possible.

Before Musical.ly received significant mainstream attention, such as being featured on Good Morning America, I heard about it from a handful of high school students that I presented to a few months ago.
Given that my talk was about social media, I naturally asked the question, “What social media apps are you using?” Almost all of the students said they were on Snapchat, followed by a large majority on Instagram, some on Twitter, a handful on Facebook, and a few using Musically. At the time, the way they described it made me think Musical.ly was just a social network for sharing music. It’s much more than that.
I took the opportunity to dive into Muscial.ly this week. After doing so, I am not at all surprised about its meteoric growth with teenagers. At its surface, Musical.ly is an app for creating instant music and lip-sync videos. In a similar vein to Instagram, Vine, Periscope, and now even Snapchat, the app is as much about its social community and content discovery than creation.
Musical.ly gives users the ability to experience and play with music in a new way. It turns music listening from a one-way experience into an interactive one. Musical.ly is Dubsmash meets Snapchat and Youtube. By blending video creation, music, and lip-syncing, Musical.ly is creating a new crop of social media stars. The great thing about Musical.ly is that its learning curve is pretty shallow. Someone could go from downloading the app to creating a video in a matter of minutes.
Musical.ly is designed as much for consumption as it is creation. I would argue that it’s network-focused elements are what makes the app so sticky. In addition to a curated “Featured” section, it has a fairly robust search area (with a focus on hashtagged topics and contests). It uses a daily leaderboard of “most liked” to feature top “Musers,” functioning as a powerful discovery mechanic and an aspirational device.
With over 60 million downloads and counting, Musical.ly is well on its way to an acquisition. The usual suspects of Facebook, Twitter, and Google immediately come to mind. I think that they would all be well-served to tap into the millennial and Gen-Z wave that the app has captured.