Musical.ly is being bought by China’s Toutiao in $800M-$1B
Musical.ly is a social media platform for creating and sharing short videos. Every day, millions of people around the world use musical.ly as an outlet for creative expression and communication with friends. Musical.ly helps connect individuals to a vibrant and highly-engaged community of content creators. This is lip-syncing app popular with teens and young people. This has been sold to a Chinese social media giant Toutiao.
This deal is undisclosed but sources tell that Bytedance, the company behind China’s top news aggregator service Toutiao, will pay between $800 million and $1 billion to buy Musical.ly. We’ll know the final amount onces the deal is completed.
Musical.ly was previously valued at $500 million when it raised its most recent round of funding in 2016. The startup said it will continue to run as an independent business within Bytedance, taking advantage of the distribution and tech that its new parent offers.
In that sense, there’s plenty of synergy to the deal — which gives insight into how keen Bytedance is to expand overseas, having already found huge success in the Chinese market.
At a time when investors have cooled on social media, Musical.ly will be viewed as a rare success story. There’s a commonly held view that it’s almost impossible to stand out amongst a crowded market which includes Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. In that way, Bytedance is similar since it has emerged to become a super company in China, where Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have traditionally dominated as the big companies.
Musical.ly, from music videos to live streaming, the platform built a full-fledged social network comprised of four apps, with some users becoming stars.
And it’s not just user-generated content. Viacom, NBCU and Hearst have been developing short-form interactive videos.
In the business community, Musical.ly’s success was initially under the radar. The Shanghai-based company had both local and Silicon Valley investors. Greylock Partners, GGV Capital, DCM and Qiming all saw Musical.ly’s promise.
Despite that promise, there is controversy. Musical.ly has defended the way that it works with its young user base — with many not even in their teens — after concerns about how it handles data and permissions.
There are a lot of people using Musical.ly and it has taken the lip-syncing videos to next level.
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