Musical.ly Sold for $1 Billion

Posted November 12, 2017

It also has a sister app, Live.ly, for live-streaming video. The first prototype was released in April 2014, and the official version was launched in August of that year.

Popular music video app Musical.ly has been bought by Chinese tech giant Bytedance in a deal worth up to $1bn (£750m) to expand its market reach and tap into the apps technological capabilities.

As one of the fastest growing tech startups in China, Bytedance has been given valuations up to as high as $20 billion.

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Besides Musical.ly's passionate user base, Bytedance will get inroads into Hollywood with the acquisition: Musical.ly has deals with Viacom, NBCUniversal and Hearst Magazines Digital Media, which have developed short-form shows for the video platform. Bytedance proclaimed the contract Friday devoid of mentioning a price tag.

The start-up gains a big U.S. presence, adding Musical.ly's 100 million-strong contingent of lip-synching video performers to Toutiao's own 120 million readers and viewers, while potentially tacking on a social media component to its bread-and-butter news offering. Founded three years ago, this social media app is popular with young people and generates over 60 million monthly active users, reaching to other countries such as the US and Europe as well. Bloomberg has reported it is also looking to make interactive content for a younger audience.

ByteDance is the company behind Chinese media startup Jinri Toutiao.

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Bytedance, which was recently valued at $20 billion, says that Musical.ly will remain a separate, independent business.

Bytedance wants to become a global success by turning its artificial intelligence tools on the rest of the world.

The company's overseas efforts are now spearheaded by TopBuzz, an app similar to its core offering in China, and Flipagram, a video platform acquired in February this year.

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