The top Asian stars on Musical.ly, Chinese lip-synching app big in US with teens and 20-somethings
Made for teenagers who love music, videos and social media, the app is popular not just in America but across Asia. We profile seven of the continent’s top ‘musers’, from Chinese bloggers to an Indian homeopathic doctor
If you took social media app Snapchat and combined it with karaoke app Smule you’d get Musical.ly, the hugely popular video-based social networking app on which hundreds of thousands of young influencers are broadcasting their way to internet stardom.
If you’re over 30, chances are that you haven’t heard of the Chinese-made lip-synching app, but the platform is a smash hit among users in the teens and twenties; one analyst says 50 per cent of American teenagers have it installed on their phones.
Even if you’re not in that demographic, perhaps you’ll recall January’s “Karma Is a Bitch” meme? The selfie video fad, in which participants film themselves undergoing a striking makeover, was a sensational hit in China as well as globally, and originated on Musical.ly.
Musical.ly is one of the few apps to come out of China to become popular in the United States. It was created in 2014 by programmers Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang, and is headquartered in Shanghai.
Musical.ly allows users – known as “musers” – to make videos lasting 15 to 60 seconds showing them lip-synching along to the music of their choice. Musers can also add a variety of filters and emoji, like on Snapchat, repost content created by others, and perform duets or collaborate with fellow musers.
Musical.ly co-creator Zhu says he was inspired to create the app while observing the lifestyles of American teenagers who love music, videos and social media, and decided to combine all three in one package.
With more than 200 million users, Musical.ly has helped launched the careers of a new generation of influencers as young as 13. It’s become so popular that last November it was acquired by Chinese firm Bytedance Technology for more than US$800 million.
Many of its users are based in North America, but the app is hugely popular throughout Asia as well. These are some of Musical.ly’s most popular Asian stars.
This South Korean lip-syncher, make-up reviewer and travel vlogger is also a dead ringer for South Korean actor Song Joong-ki. With more than 171,000 followers on Musical.ly, An performs songs by the likes of Nicki Minaj and Kesha, as well as K-pop numbers.
He also shares his thoughts on everything from his travel experiences to the latest line of Kylie Jenner lip glosses.
Like many of the app’s biggest musers, 32-year-old Wengie, whose real name is Huang Wen-jie, launched her career as a vlogger on YouTube before turning to lip syncing on Musical.ly.
Born in Guangzhou, southern China, and currently based in Australia, Huang has a fan base of 2.61 million on Musical.ly, where she also performs to her own original music.
China’s Jin Jun may seem a caricature with his frizzy permed locks, reminiscent of Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons, but the Shanghai-based blogger and personality is known for his swagger and smooth hip-hop dance moves. Jin has collaborated with brands such as Ikea and Ecko.
With 11.8 million fans on Musical.ly, this Eurasian is one of many social media stars who made the move to the app when Vine shut down.
Best known for his series of six-second magic videos on Vine, King, who is based in Los Angeles, is now bringing his unique brand of comedy to a new audience of GenZennials.
Canada-based Jennifer Tran was only 12 years old when she launched her career as a social media star on Instagram and Musical.ly.
Now 15, Tran, who is of Chinese, Thai, Dominican, Italian and German descent, has more than 714,000 followers on Musical.ly where she performs to tracks by artists such as Madeintyo.
Nagma Mirajkar is a top Indian muser and fashion blogger who performs to Bollywood soundtracks and musicals, as well as American hip hop.
With more than 1.43 million followers on Musical.ly, the 26-year-old’s life seemingly changed overnight due to her popularity on the app.
Perhaps the most unlikely of the bunch, Farhan Khan is a homeopathic doctor based in India.
With 815,000 followers, the Indian muser mostly covers soulful Bollywood ballads in his series of lip syncs. In 2017, fans votes him their favourite Indian muser.