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Tik Tok & musical.ly Community Manager Natasha Surya, Tik Tok & musical.ly Country Manager Teguh Wicaksono, Tik Tok Top User from the Philippines Ranz & Niana, Tik Tok Top User from Indonesia Auw Genta. Image Credit: DailySocial

Update: This article has been updated to include a statement from ByteDance.

US-based mobile studio app Musical.ly is set to merge with its Chinese counterpart Tik Tok following a full acquisition by Tik Tok’s parent company ByteDance at the end of last year. The merge is expected to bring in more users from the Generation-Z segment as creators, particularly users from Indonesia as the biggest market in Southeast Asia.

Generation-Z consists of those who were born in the year 1996-2010. It is estimated that there are up to 68 million people of the segment in Indonesia; around 29 per cent of the country’s total population. On a global scale, the number reaches 2.5 billion, equal to 34 per cent of global population.

“It is going to be launched as a new app, which is currently under construction. The plan is to announce it this year,” Tik Tok and Musical.ly Country ManagerTeguh Wicaksono said on Saturday, February 10.

Through the merge, in the future the platform aims to put more focus in developing AI-based technologies, combined with local elements in each market they operate in.

The platform believes that ByteDance’s specialisation in the AI field may become its strong differentiating factor among similar apps. The implementation of AI technology can also be seen on ByteDance’s flagship app in the Chinese market, Toutiao.

The new platform will also be easier to use and more efficient in accomodating users’ needs in creating content. Wicaksono also stated that the company’s focus at the moment is to increase the number of users, instead of focussing on monetisation.

To acquire new users, the platform fosters partnership with local and global companies such as Ismaya Live, RCTI, Warner Music Indonesia, Universal Indonesia, Sony Music Indonesia, Indosat Ooredoo, Apple Music, Disney, and Billboard.

Also Read: Toutiao and beyond: How Bytedance will keep making global headlines

The progress of Musical.ly and Tik Tok

Musical.ly was launched in 2015 while Tik Tok was only launched last year. Wicaksono claimed that the two apps experienced rapid growth organically every year. This can be seen through the independently formed communities of active users on the platform, leading Indonesia to become the biggest Southeast Asian market for both apps.

Musical.ly is said to have succeed in launching new talents in the field of music, comedy, and fashion while Tik Tok fulfills creators’ needs with interactive technology and advanced special effects such as Gaga Dance, hair-drying, and 3D stickers.

“We see that there are many things that we can work on with ByteDance; this is the reason why [the acquisition] was approved. Besides, this is a win-win solution. Musical.ly already has a strong user base in the global market while Tik Tok has a big following in China,” Wicaksono said.

On a global level, both Musical.ly and Tik Tok have been downloaded more than 500 times. The number of daily video viewers reached 10 billion with 150 million monthly active users (MAUs) around the world; the biggest contributors of viewers being the US and UK. There is no specific explanation on the percentage that the Indonesian market has contributed globally.

In a press statement to e27, a ByteDance spokesperson said, “We are exploring opportunities to provide an even better experience to users of both Musical.ly and Tik Tok in Indonesia, where both platforms enjoy a strong following. We see obvious synergies between the platforms in Indonesia, and while it is too early to talk about specifics we see an exciting opportunity in the future to enhance the user experience by bringing together the best features from both platforms for users in this market.”

The article Aplikasi Studio Mobile Musical.ly dan Tik Tok Segera Melebur Jadi Aplikasi Baru was written by Marsya Nabila for DailySocial. English translation and editing by e27.