Lip-sync app Musical.ly has been scooped up by Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., or simply ByteDance, the Chinese startup behind news site Jinri Toutiao, the company announced on Friday. Although financial details were not disclosed, multiple outlets are reporting that Bytedance is paying around $800 million for the buzzy video service.
Wildly popular in America and around the world, with 200 million-plus users creating and sharing 15-second music videos, Musical.ly was founded in China three years ago by Louis Yang and Alex Zhu, who will both be joining ByteDance. The startup inked its first major label licensing deal in 2016, with Warner Music, and earlier this year announced an integration with Apple Music that allows users of both services to stream full songs.
In 2016, Musical.ly rolled out a live-streaming app called Live.ly, and it has struck content deals with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst, among others. It's also become a popular site for "influencers," with several of the app's most popular users leveraging their large followings into music careers and branding deals: over the past 15 months, for instance, Baby Ariel signed with CAA; Jacob Sartorius with UTA; and, most recently, sisters Lisa and Lena with WME.