Who would have thought that musical.ly would be the first social media app with a highly successful original show?
Musical.ly is a social media platform that allows users to make 15-second videos of themselves lip-synching to popular music and audio bites. If you didn't know that, it's probably because you're not a 7-18 year old girl. Don't roll your eyes here, this app is actually an incredible innovation for helping young teens to create and market original content.
Recently, musical.ly has taken this success a step further by launching its own original show, 'After the Bell', geared towards it's young female users. While other social media platforms, like Facebook and Snapchat, have been trying to figure out how they can get their original shows into the mainstream, it looks like musical.ly has already figured it out. The show's beta is a hit.
'After the Bell' was launched through musical.ly's sister app, live.ly, and the company has now announced the show's official launch. Live.ly was created as a successor to Vine, a live-streaming platform where users were able to make monetary contributions during their favorite social media celebrities' live streams. Of course, an app like this opens up the possibility of doing live original shows, which is exactly what they did.
The show is hosted by Taylor Audette and Cassie DiLaura and is a daily talk show that garners an audience of 70,000 viewers a day, 400,000 a week. On it, the hosts interview rising celebrities that are popular in the teen world, market products, and talk about relevant topics such as feminism and becoming a successful business woman. Musical.ly and live.ly users get notifications on the app when the show is about to air, right as they get out of school.
Musical.ly partnered with production company 'Sweety High' for the development of this show. In an exclusive with Gadget Hacks, Sweety High CEO Frank Simonetti said of the project:
The tone and subject matter of the show is very empowering to start. It speaks to girls in their own voice and is familiar enough that it lets them feel they have every chance to be a part of the conversations we cover. In addition, we do constant interaction with the girls that are writing to us in real time as the show is unfolding. This ability to participate and be heard can guide the show and become very encouraging for the girls as the line blurs between us and them.
'After the Bell' not only engages its viewers through relevant, exciting content, but it also encourages audiences to contribute. This is what makes musical.ly's original shows attempt more successful than Facebook and Snapchat.
After each episode, viewers are encouraged to go to a user-generated content page in the app to share reaction videos and content inspired by the show. Whether these videos are more lip-syncs or thoughtful responses to the episodes, the user content page turns the show into an interactive event.
Not only that, but there is a segment on 'After the Bell' dedicated exclusively to musical.ly users who are successful in building a following. Some of these kids have millions of fans, including 16-year-old Ariel Martin who boasts 14,400,000 followers on musical.ly.
With the incredibly strong influence of social media apps in the mainstream today, children are growing up in a different age, and they are learning marketing and creative skills most adults haven't learned yet.
In the future, Frank Simonetti hopes that the show will expand to give the viewers more of what they want:
As the show expands, we're taking it on the road to offer our audience access to the people and events they love. We've aired from SXSW and CMA fest in Nashville…and in two weeks we'll broadcast live with musically at Vidcon. We're also delivering a broader reach of talent and influencers in studio and new segments that take our what's trending, music videos and performances to the next level…including inviting viewers on the show itself.
Whether you see this as a good thing or wish that kids would just be kids; the fact is that shows like 'After the Bell' on apps like live.ly have created a platform to let kids — namely teenage girls — have a voice. It teaches them that although they're young they are able to create, their thoughts matter, and their voices can be heard.
'After the Bell' airs daily at 3 PM PDT on the live.ly app. If you have the time, take a peek at what teens are creating, you might be surprised by what you see, I definitely was.