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Musical.ly Jumps Into Original Content, Inks Several Partnerships

The short-form video and lip-syncing app signed deals with Hearst, NBC, and Viacom

Musical.ly – the lip-syncing app popular among teenagers — is jumping into original content, after announcing partnerships with Hearst, NBCUniversal, and Viacom on Thursday.

Similar to Snapchat, the shows will be two-to-four minutes long and be featured in the app’s “trending” section for 24 hours. Musical.ly users — or “musers” as the company calls them — will be able to interact with the content by sharing hashtags and posting reply videos.

Its first two shows — a runway show from Seventeen called Fashion to DIY For and a condensed version of Nick Cannon’s “Wild ‘N Out” from MTV — premiered today.

Down the line, NBCU will produce “Crush,”  an E! show highlighting celebrity crushes.

“NBCUniversal’s partnership with musical.ly is part of our continued commitment to produce premium mobile content, tailored to a specific platform,” said Ron Lamprecht, NBCU’s Executive Vice President of Business Development.

The Shanghai-based startup was founded in 2014 and has quickly climbed the ranks of app downloads, hitting the top spot for free apps on iOS in 20 countries. Musical.ly has been downloaded more than 200 million times and has more than 40 million monthly active users.

Musical.ly will not pay for the production of its original content, and has no plans to monetize the shows — at least for now.

At the same time, Musical.ly announced a separate deal today with Sweety High, a digital media company focused on content for “Gen Z girls.” Sweety High will produce “After The Bell,” a variety series aimed at teenagers, forLivel.ly., Musical.ly’s live-streaming app. The show will focus on fashion, beauty, and celebrity interviews.

“It makes sense for both companies because our core skill sets are complimentary,” said Sweety High CEO Frank Simonetti in a response to TheWrap. “Musical.ly offers a very engaging product experience that allows our premium live shows to be additive to their users.”

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