Facebook launches online singing contests

Facebook’s attempt to dominate live video continues with an apparent take on popular lip-syncing app Musical.ly.

Researcher Jane Manchun Wong has uncovered an as-yet-launched portion of Facebook’s code for something called “Talent Show,” which would pit users against each other in a virtual singing contest. “Talent Show” appears to be an attempt to draw audiences to Musical.ly, like Facebook’s recent development of various virtual quizzes to compete with the HQ Trivia app.

According to Wong’s analysis, the code allows users to choose a song from a preset playlist, record themselves singing the song, and submit it to judgment. The competition aspect would also allow Facebook to compete with YouTube as a means of discovering new talent.

A Facebook representative declined to comment specifically on “Talent Show,” but confirmed that Wong’s conclusions are correct. The representative doubled down on Facebook’s desire to integrate more music on the platform.

“We’re definitely interested in music, and we’re looking for different ways to bring it to life,” said the rep. “What you are seeing is that we are looking for different ways to make music more possible on the platform.”

Facebook recently acquired music licensing rights from record companies like Universal, Sony, and Warner. As a result, Facebook no longer has to remove videos made with copyrighted music posted by users. Instagram, which is part of Facebook’s app directory, also recently introduced a feature that allows music to be attached to user stories.

It’s all part of Facebook’s growing interest in video. In June, Facebook announced a number of live video game shows in partnership with content producers like BuzzFeed News and Fresno. The move is part of what Facebook calls the “gamification” of live video, in an apparent attempt to compete with Trivia HQ, which draws up to 2 million participants to its twice-daily virtual quiz. This summer also saw the release of daily news shows from CNN and Fox News on the video platform Facebook Watch, and the opening of Watch to more videos and creators.

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