Why Kids Love Lip-syncing to Musical.ly

Category: Social Media

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Let’s face it – there’s a new teen trend every second – or so it seems. Teen trends move at lightning speed and so does social media. 

One of the hottest trends to rock social media is live streaming, and Musical.ly is a perfect blend of live streaming and user-generated music videos, so it’s a no-brainer why kids love spending time on this app.

Music Videos Meet Social Media

Musical.ly is a video sharing app that lets users create their own lip-synched music videos to popular songs. To date, there are roughly 215 million people using Musical.ly every month. 

Users are called “musers” and each muser can lip sync to popular songs, dance, sing duets with other musers, participate in challenges, create skits or create tutorial videos.

Each video is called a “musical” and can include filters or video effects and musers can link their profiles to other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or can share individual musical videos to WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, Facebook and Twitter.

Why Kids Love It

What’s not to love? Musical.ly has taken the old “sing into the hairbrush to your favorite song” – a timeless tradition of sleepovers – and made it social. For a kid who’s ever wanted to be a pop star, or the drama queen who wants to share their skits with friends, Musical.ly gives users the outlet to do so.

It’s the 21st century version of karaoke, complete with a live streaming audience of strangers.

According to Digiday, Alex Ayin, group account director at influencer firm Social Chain, says “Musical.ly is promising because a high number of users are creating content themselves, rather than consuming passively on platforms like Reddit and Facebook. And this act is habit-forming. The real value of the network comes with its ability to maintain people’s attention and engagement.”

That’s one reason why kids, in particular, are flocking to any app or site that allows them to engage directly by creating their own content. 

This digital generation of children is expressive and exhibitionist. 

They prefer selfies to staged photos, streaming over traditional cable, and niche influencers over classic movie star idols.

The real value of the network comes with its ability to maintain people’s attention and engagement. – Alex Ayin, Director of Social Chain

How to be a “Muser”

First of all, you need to understand the lingo.

  • Muser: a user on Musical.ly
  • Musical: a Musical.ly video
  • Direct.ly: a direct message
  • Musername: a muser’s username
  • BFF: Best Fan Forever

Next, you need to know the types of videos you can create on Musical.ly:

Lip syncing video

The most common form of musical, where the “muser” lip syncs along to a song they select.

Dance video

A video of a muser dancing to a popular song they selected.

Tutorial video

Not all videos on Musical.ly are focused on lip syncing or dancing. Many subjects of musicals range from comedy to tutorials to personal anecdotes, all while a popular song the muser selected plays in the background.

#Challenge

Themed challenges are popular with musers and can include: #ThrowbackChallenge, #MyRapperName, #WhisperARecipe, and #DIYCostumes. All themed challenges are hashtags, which are added to the musical to identify them with the specific challenge. Challenges aren’t always about singing, since cooking, makeup tutorials and DIY are also popular subjects.

Duet

To duet with another muser, you must follow each other and both accounts must be public. If you make another muser a BFF (Best Fan Forever), they can duet with you whether or not you follow them back.

 

Tips to Keep Kids Safe on Musical.ly

As with most social media, kids need to proceed with caution, but we still want them to enjoy new apps and websites safely. Here are a few tips to consider to keep your child safe while using Musical.ly

1. Know the rules.

Musical.ly is not appropriate for everyone and the app itself asks for minors under 18 years old to have parental permission before using. However, that’s not enforced at all, so it’s pretty easy to sidestep. 

The app is rated as 12+ in the iTunes store, but the Musical.ly terms of service require users to be at least 13 years of age.

2. Make the account private.

To do this, open the Musical.ly app, click the profile avatar from the bottom directory and select the settings gear wheel in the top right corner. Then select “Settings” and scroll down until you reach the “Privacy” section. Here, you can:

  • See a list of any blocked users
  • Only allow friends to direct.ly (direct message) you
  • Set your account to private. (Once an account is made private, only approved musers can see your musicals.)

3. Don’t talk to strangers.

For any app that has direct messaging capabilities, parents should be concerned. Musical.ly is no exception to this and there have been many instances of adults trying to contact underage users to solicit explicit material. 

For example, this 7-year-old muser was solicited for nude photos from an adult posing as a 9-year-old. Additionally, porn is not the worst thing you can find on Musical.ly, so be vigilant in vetting this app before allowing your kids to use it.

4. Approve friends & followers.

This is a good rule of thumb for any social network your child may be on. Talk with your child to make them understand that it’s not because you don’t trust them, but because you don’t trust strangers that may be on the site. 

5. Play alongside your child.

One of the easiest ways to vet a new app or website, is to experience it with your child. Plus, it’s a clever way to bond with your teen and can help you get some additional face time with them. 

If you’re socially savvy & up for some fun, you can start your own musical.ly account and can “duet” with your child by both singing to the same song together. Or, offer to help choose your child’s next musical.ly song, whip up some cool props or bust out an old glitzy Halloween costume. 

Just get involved, have fun and keep your eyes peeled for any red flags. 

6. Don’t rely on deleting an account.

Mainly because you can’t. Right now, there is no functionality that allows users to delete their profile. If your child is no longer active on this app, keep all functionality switched to private mode. 

Note: you can delete your individual musical.ly videos.

7. Do some investigating on your own.

Because this app can have suggestive dancing and adult language with some of the songs, you should make sure to do some investigating of who your child is following on Musical.ly. Ask them who their favorite “musers” are & log into your child’s account to check out more of their favorite muser’s videos. 

If you see something you don’t like, chat with your child about why it’s inappropriate and unfollow them. Be sure to also check if they have a Liv.ly account, which allows for live Musical.ly performances and video chat. 

8. Be wary of advertising.

Advertising and sponsored Musical.ly videos have only scratched the surface on this app so far, but that could easily (and quickly) change. The Musical.ly team is not very receptive to monetization, sponsorships or other forms of advertising on their app, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t sneaking in. 

Some well-known brands, like Kit Kat and Disney, have already begun pitching influencers to rep their brand. And Redbull, ENews and Teen Vogue are other brands that have their own Musical.ly accounts, which they create content for weekly or daily.


For more information about Musical.ly, visit our App Advisor.


About Jennifer Leonard

Jennifer Leonard is the Social Media Manager for Zift. She is passionate about connecting with people – in person and via social media. She spends her days writing, tweeting, pinning and using as many hashtags she possibly can. #Goals 

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