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Musical.ly’s shutdown of Live.ly was contractually obligated

Posted by | Apps, bytedance, live.ly, Media, Mobile, musical.ly, Social, TC | No Comments

Musical.ly has begun redirecting users of its Live.ly app, which it decided to kill off last month, to a competing app called LiveMe. Existing Live.ly users are being pointed to LiveMe through an in-app message, it says. While it’s a fairly common industry practice for companies to direct users to similar apps or services when a product of theirs is being sunsetted, in this case, Musical.ly’s decision to close down Live.ly and send users to LiveMe was actually a contractually obligated part of Musical.ly’s nearly $1 billion acquisition by Chinese technology company Bytedance last year.

A clause in Bytedance’s agreement to acquire Musical.ly stated that, if the deal went through, Musical.ly would have to close Live.ly within six months, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

The agreement also said that Live.ly would have to point users to LiveMe for at least 30 days following its closure, we learned, when verifying the information.

The issue at hand was a competing investment – right around the time of the Musical.ly acquisition, Bytedance had also put $50 million into the live-streaming app LiveMe. Apparently, it didn’t want to operate two rival properties.

Clearly, this request was not a deal-breaker for Musical.ly – in fact, it’s integrating Live.ly’s feature set into its own app. That means it will still be something of a competitor to LiveMe, though now no longer a direct one. Musical.ly’s main app, after all, is not known today for its live streaming, but rather for lip syncing videos that are recorded and edited using the app’s included visual effects and editing tools.

In addition, Live.ly had not been able to attract the viewership numbers that Musical.ly had. The company said, when confirming Live.ly’s closure last month, the majority of live stream views were taking place in Musical.ly itself, not in its spinoff.

That said, Live.ly had a fair number of users. Though nowhere near as big as Musical.ly’s 200+ million registered users or 60 million actives, its live stream app had 26 million installs, around 70 percent in the U.S., according to Sensor Tower’s data.

But LiveMe is bigger – it has more than 60 million users and has paid out over $30 million to its broadcasters through its direct virtual gifting program, the company claims.

LiveMe is also not the only app operated by the company. Other LiveMe portfolio apps include the social short video app Cheez, and mobile gaming and esports live streaming app Fluxr. To date, it has raised a total of $110 million.

Live.ly isn’t only redirecting users to LiveMe, however. In its own announcement about the news today, it shows a screenshot that’s pointing Live.ly users to Twitter’s Periscope, for instance. The message also notes that the Live.ly domain name is for sale, and provides an email for sales inquiries.

Musical.ly hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.

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Musical.ly kills its standalone live-streaming app Live.ly

Posted by | Apps, live streaming, live video, live.ly, Mobile, musical.ly, Social, Video | No Comments

Musical.ly is merging the functionality from its two-year old live-streaming platform Live.ly into its main app, and has disabled Live.ly’s standalone app as part of the transition process. The Live.ly app will eventually be pulled from the App Store and Google Play, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Instead of being able to go live, Live.ly users are presented with a message about the changes, informing them that live streaming has now moved over to Musical.ly.

This change is also confirmed via Live.ly’s App Store update text, which says:

Live.ly is becoming part of musical.ly!
– You can go live on musical.ly right now! Plenty of live content there!

Live.ly first launched in May 2016, offering Musical.ly users a live-streaming platform, where the streams were directly viewable on Musical.ly, as well as within the Live.ly mobile app.

As the video creator streamed, they’d see a count of how many people were watching, and would see hearts float up across the screen when viewers “liked” their content — an experience that’s very similar to Twitter/Periscope and Facebook Live. Viewers could also chat with the streamer, and engage in real-time conversations.

Unfortunately for Live.ly users, there was little warning about the shut down, and it seems that, for some, live streaming on Musical.ly is not working as expected.

One regular Live.ly user posted to YouTube about the shutdown, complaining that after she made the switch to Musical.ly for her live stream as instructed, but no people were online watching and no likes and comments were showing up, either. This appears to be some sort of glitch, as viewers, likes, comments and other Live.ly core features are displaying for others who have been transitioned to the Musical.ly-based live-streaming experience.

Not everyone will be able to go live directly on Musical.ly today, as the addition of live-streaming support is a phased rollout.

However, the company says it remains committed to investing in live-streaming functionality, despite the Live.ly shutdown. We’re told that the majority of live-stream viewership was already taking place on Musical.ly’s main app, so it made sense for the company to consolidate the live video alongside the other short, lip sync videos Musical.ly is known for.

The closure of Live.ly is one of the first major changes to the Musical.ly product following its acquisition by Chinese media company Bytedance for up to $1 billion in November 2017.

Under its new ownership, Musical.ly launched a $50 million fund to help build out its creator community, but has also faced criticism for having poor content moderation capabilities — something that’s especially concerning given that a large part of its viewership audience is children.

It is also now facing a new threat: this month, Facebook began testing a Musical.ly competitor called Lip Sync Live.

The increased competition may have played a role in having Musical.ly consolidate its resources in order to focus on its flagship app, not its spinoff.

The main Musical.ly app has a reported 200 million registered users, 60 million of whom are active on a monthly basis.

Live.ly has been downloaded 26 million times to date, 87 percent on iOS. The U.S. accounts for about 70 percent of installs, according to data from Sensor Tower.

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Live.ly shoots to the top of the App Store

Posted by | app-store, Apps, charts, live streaming, live.ly, Mobile, musical.ly, TC, Video | No Comments

live.ly-ios Live.ly, the newly released live streaming app from musical.ly, has now secured the top slot in the Apple App Store. That puts live.ly above Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Google Maps and Instagram.
Live.ly finished rolling out last Thursday and the app has already received over 500,000 downloads, the company tells TechCrunch. The app lets people broadcast what they are doing in real… Read More

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