Facebook rolls out lip-syncing feature that's a lot like Musical.ly

Go live, pick your song, and start lip syncing.

Image: Facebook

Facebook “borrowed” a lot of features from Snapchat. Now it’s doing the same thing with another app that’s popular with the kids.

The social network is launching a new feature called Lip Sync Live, which will essentially be a direct competitor to existing lip-syncing platforms like Musical.ly.

Testing in select markets, the feature is part of Facebook’s strategy to make music a bigger part of its platforms. The company says “hundreds” of songs will be immediately available, including those by Camilla Cabero, Guns N’ Roses, Drake, and Ed Sheeran, but the library will grow.

“With Lip Sync Live, you can express yourself with music from a variety of genres in real time. So whether you prefer songs like ‘Happier’ by Ed Sheeran or ‘God’s Plan’ by Drake, Lip Sync Live lets you bring friends and family into spontaneous musical moments,” said Facebook’s press statement.

To give it a whirl, you can choose the Lip Sync Live option when you’re streaming a Facebook Live video. Select a song from the provided list, add a description, and off you go. You can also add masks, or change the background.

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During your broadcast, your Facebook friends will be able to spy the artist and song title appearing on the video, and you can click on the artist to follow their Page. Plus, using the “Live With” feature, you can lip sync with your friends.

Whether Lip Sync Live will work for Facebook remains to be seen, but it’s got a chance. Musical.ly, which peaked in popularity in 2016 then saw a decline in user numbers, was sold for $1 billion in November 2017 to Chinese tech giant Bytedance. 

Musical.ly skewed to a younger audience, with 60 percent of its users between 13 and 20 years old, according to Fast Company. And with teens breaking up with Facebook faster than we thought, lip syncing could be a strong strategy to keep them on the platform.

Facebook has been working hard to forge agreements with record labels, recently signing its first-ever deal for music licensing rights in a colossal, multi-year partnership with Universal Music Group. Facebook has since signed deals with Warner Music Group and Sony/ATV Music Publishing. 

These partnerships will allow Facebook to host content with licensed music across its network, including the main app, Instagram, and Oculus — including its live VR concerts in Oculus Venues. This content could include Facebook and Instagram videos made by users with licensed music in the background. 

If anything, licensing music properly will benefit more than just lip-syncing teenagers — remember those labels and artists? Hello, royalties.

Additional reporting by Kerry Flynn.

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