When Snapchat first crossed our consciousness in May of 2012, its claim to fame was self-deleting photo messages that would disappear after 10 seconds. Eventually, Snapchat invented the "Stories" feature that Instagram and other social media apps copied. Today, Snapchat is known for its AR Lenses which can turn you into a sunglasses-wearing motorcycle cop, a dog sticking out his long tongue, and more.
Snapchat to go head-to-head against TikTok
According to TechCrunch, Snapchat announced today that it will be testing a new feature that will allow users to have their Snaps play with music in the background. Sound familiar?And now Snapchat is planning on going head-to-head against TikTok. The latter, with over 2 billion installs from the App Store and the Google Play Store, is one of the most popular apps in the U.S. as it allows users (mostly teens, pre-teens, and a smattering of adults) to create short-form videos of 15 and 60 seconds in length. Content includes lip-syncing, dancing, comedy bits and more.
This is the perfect time for Snapchat to explore adding TikTok-esque features to the app. President Donald Trump has made it clear that the U.S. will not allow companies with possible ties to the communist Chinese government to operate in the states, and while he is allowing Microsoft to negotiate with TikTok parent ByteDance (a company based in China) to acquire the app in the U.S. and several other countries, such a transaction comes with a pretty high price tag which means that there is no guarantee that it will get done. If a deal isn't agreed to, TikTok could get banned in the states and its 800 million global active users (100 million in the U.S.) will be searching for an alternative to the app, something that we're sure that Snapchat understands.
Snapchat parent SNAP has licensing deals with a number of music publishers including Warner Music. The music will be available for Snapchat users to add before recording a video, or afterward. When one of the new Snaps with music is shared, the person on the receiving end will swipe up to see album art, the title of the song being played, and the name of the artist. A "Play this song link" will send the user to Linkfire's website or to the user's preferred streaming music platform where the entire song can be played. That could be considered an improvement over what TikTok offers; tap the "sound" link on the latter app and you'll see other clips that use the same song. Snapchat says that the new feature is designed for sharing music with your "real friends."
"We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves," said a SNAP spokesman. "Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that helps capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends."
While Snapchat seems to be overlooked in the messaging apps category, as of last quarter it counted 238 million daily active users worldwide. It also reaches more 13-to-24-year olds in the U.S. (90%) than Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. Even more impressive, Snapchat says that it reaches more users in the U.S. than Twitter and TikTok combined.
A Snapchat spokesman said, "We’re constantly building on our relationships within the music industry, and making sure the entire music ecosystem — artists, labels, songwriters, publishers and streaming service — are seeing value in our partnerships." Snapchat plans on rolling out this feature in English-speaking markets starting this fall, although it is being tested starting today in New Zealand and Australia.
Meanwhile, Instagram is about to roll out its own short-form video feature called "Reels" which is making TikTok parent ByteDancer very unhappy. In a statement late Sunday, ByteDancer accused Instagram owner Facebook of "plagiarism." The whole statement read, "ByteDance has always been committed to becoming a global company. During this process, we have faced all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including the tense international political environment, collision and conflict of different cultures and plagiarism and smears from competitor Facebook."