A Short Video Revolution: Musical.ly versus TikTok



The evolution that brought change.

Ingrid Moises, Staff Writer

Musical.ly Release Date: April 2014

Musical.ly Creators: Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang

TikTok Release Date: September 2016

TikTok Creators: ByteDance

Musical.ly was a popular app from 2014 to 2016 that allowed users to create short videos and upload them online. Many teens and preteens used it to lip-sync to songs that were famous and trending at the time, filming from different angles and using a number of transitions to enhance their videos. However, as of late 2016, Musical.ly was rebranded and its name changed to TikTok. Eventually, the relevancy of TikTok grew in early 2018, drastically changing the app’s use. In contrast to Musical.ly, TikTok is the app that most teens, usually ages 15 and up, go to when they want to laugh, waste time, make funny videos with friends or when they are bored at 5 A.M.

Our rating: Musical.ly: C , TikTok: A+

Going home from school and making Musical.lys on small iPhones is a part of the life story of many teens. Throughout the years, lip-syncing to Nicki Minaj’s Fly and Drake’s Hotline Bling became less and less interesting to users across the globe. When an app sparks in popularity, it is because a vast amount of people share the same interests. In this case, that interest decreased rapidly on a large scale. The content that was trending was usually unhumorous and repetitive. Most of the time, “musers” (Musical.ly users) just lip-synced to the same songs and their posts looked the same, because originality was not the focus of their videos. Watching the same type of videos became repetitive and dull. On the flip side, making them was entertaining and a good way for people to pass the time. Teenagers found new and fun ways to film their videos and make them look more interesting by mimicking the famous stars on the app. However, it never got more innovative than that.

TikTok is Musical.ly’s alter ego. Based on genuine and comical content, it is one of the most amusing apps since Vine. The users of TikTok turn songs, TV shows, movie lines and basically anything in sight into jokes about everyday life. This summer, staying up all night to watch these videos was common among adolescents all over the world. On the app, teens make fun of the fact that many of them downloaded it as a joke and ended up “addicted” to making the videos and trying to become “TikTok famous.” Acceptance and tolerance has grown and been further implemented over the years through social media and these platforms are no exception. The difference between Musical.ly and TikTok is that on TikTok, you do not necessarily have to be one of the elites to have a video be widely viewed and liked. More ideas are supported and more people spread positivity, allowing it to become a platform where people can openly be “friends.” There are still some creators that are more popular than others, but regardless, it is much easier for everyone to connect.

“Personally, I find TikTok funnier. Everyone is more interactive with each other, and it is fun for making friends,” sophomore Alondra Vega said.

Another feature of TikTok is its growing trends. Trends bring people together because they have the same audio but different jokes and stories behind them, making you learn many different things about very different people. Audios are referenced on social media networks such as Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, making TikTok similar to the reputable Vine. There are also “challenges” on the app. They include dances to certain songs, which keeps the Musical.ly spirit alive in a completely different app. With its popularity and trends growing everyday, TikTok has not stopped being funny all year, and will probably get funnier over time.

“When I have nothing else better to do and I am with my friends, we just start making TikToks and it has been more fun than just sitting around on Instagram,” junior Fredy Bustos said.

In a war between both, we have a clear winner. Overall, TikTok is a platform that is more friendly with users. It is accepting towards a more diverse community, giving everyone an equal opportunity for their fifteen minutes of fame. It provides a community of creative adolescents and is an overall better platform than our former favorite, Musical.ly.