Social video sharing app musical.ly, which allows users to create and upload 15-second videos of them dancing and singing along to songs, has been steadily gaining traction with teens since its launch less than two years ago -- and now it's attracting the attention of the major labels. Warner Music Group is the first to sign a deal with the app to allow its music to be licensed for the platform, the company has confirmed to Billboard. Sources say Sony Music is also in talks, and quickly approaching, a deal. Requests for comment from Sony Music were not returned by press time.
It's a significant move for Warner, particularly as musical.ly has exploded to more than 90 million users globally, up from 10 million just last year; for context, Instagram just announced it had passed 500 million monthly active users in five years, while Snapchat, which doesn't release monthly metrics, is rumored to have north of 200 million monthly users since its fall 2011 launch. In May, musical.ly raised $100 million in an investment round, valuing the company at $500 million, and the company claims it has hit No. 1 on Apple's App Store in 19 different countries.
"Musical.ly has taken the art of lip syncing, air guitar-ing and dancing with friends to a new level, making it one of the most compelling apps among young fans," a Warner Music spokesperson tells Billboard. "Our deal is another good example of WMG’s commitment to pioneering new business models and expanding the ways that fans can interact with our artists and their songs."