Why did Musical.ly start with lip-synching content? Founder Alex Zhu’s thoughts on the UGC community

If you haven’t heard of Musical.ly, check out this introduction:

  • It is the predecessor of TikTok, which was launched in April 2014 and is very popular among young people in Europe and America.
  • It was originally a video creation tool, especially convenient for creating short video content (15s~1min) of music lip-synching, and later developed into the UGC short video community, which is one of the most successful precedents in the short video field.
  • Acquired by ByteDance in 2017 and merged with TikTok in 2018.

The first failed entrepreneurial project

What Alex wanted in the beginning was an educational app, which he confidently considered a billion-dollar idea.

He tried to combine the advantages of Coursera and Twitter, and hoped that creators could spread a knowledge point or a skill with a few minutes of short video, and reduce the spread of knowledge content.

But the project was a complete failure , and he summed up three lessons.

First, if you want to be a new UGC community, the content Afghanistan Phone Number must be extremely lightweight, so that content creation and content consumption are in seconds, not minutes.

The threshold for creating educational content is very high, and a few minutes of video requires hours of investment.

Second, education is anti-human. A simple observation shows that most users are using their mobile phones to socialize, entertain, and play, rather than study.

Third, if you want to create a new community or social platform, it is best to start with young people, especially young people in the United States. Because they have a lot of time and creativity.

These lessons directly affect his next entrepreneurial project.

Create Musical.ly

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Afghanistan Phone Number

Entertainment needs, young people, community, he continued to observe and think with such key words.

On a train, he noticed a group of young people, half of them listening to music, the other half taking selfies and videos, and then adding some stickers to decorate them and sharing them on social platforms.

So he thought that maybe he could make a product that combines music, video, and social platforms.

Soon, Musical.ly did it, launching in 2014. It is first and foremost a video creation tool that supports functions such as soundtracks, stickers, special effects, etc. It is also a community where content can be shared.

Why a tool in the first place?

Here’s how he explains it: When you’re just starting out and you have few users, you have to focus on the tools . It’s like the first user to use Instagram is not to swipe feeds, nor to like comments, but to use beautiful filters.

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