Its a good day for investors of Musical.ly. Bytedance, a leading AI-powered content platform, is buying the video-based social network in a deal reportedly valued at $800 million. The four-year-old Calif.-based company, whose lip-syncing app has become widely popular among teenagers in the United States, Europe, South America, and India, will continue to operate as an independent platform, integrating Bytedance’s global leading AI technology and leveraging its reach in China and key markets across Asia. Musical.ly’s co-founders, Louis Yang and Alex Zhu, and their global team will continue to run the platform.
“Musical.ly’s vision is to make entertainment more personal, participatory and interactive, by enabling anyone to be a content creator,” explained Yang and Zhu in a joint statement. “To achieve this, we need to constantly innovate to provide new and exciting video creation tools to our users, and we see AI as a critical factor in augmenting human creativity. Bytedance’s leading AI technologies and top-notch AI developers can empower us to innovate faster and roll out new user offerings unlike anything users have experienced before.”
Bytedance operates a suite of products that provide creators and users with a content experience powered by machine and deep learning algorithms. The company’s flagship product, Toutiao, is the largest AI-powered content platform in China, with over 120 million daily active users each spending an average of 74 minutes on the platform.
“By integrating Musical.ly’s global reach with Bytedance’s massive user base in China and key Asian markets we are creating a significant global platform for our content creators and brands to engage with new markets,” expressed Yiming Zhang, founder and CEO of Bytedance. “At the same time, our global-leading AI technology will help Musical.ly to accelerate their incredible pace of innovation in mobile video creation”
Additionally, Musical.ly will work with Bytedance to develop its presence in new markets including China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, where Bytedance already has a strong footprint. The transaction between the two companies is expected to close before the end of November, depending on certain closing conditions being met.
Last year, Musical.ly rolled out a live-streaming app dubbed Live.ly, which has been fairly popular among Generation Z. The company has also struck content deals with Viacom, NBCUniversal, and Hearst, among others.