The right music can make a boring photo or video epic, so Instagram is equipping users with a way to add popular songs to their Stories. TechCrunch had the scoop on the music feature’s prototype in early May, and now it’s launching to iOS and Android users in 6 countries including, the U.S. Thanks to Facebook’s recent deals with record labels, users will be able to choose from thousands of songs from artists including Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris and Guns N’ Roses. The launch could make Instagram Stories more fun to post and watch in a way that copyrights won’t allow on Snapchat, while giving the app a way to compete with tween favorite Musical.ly.
Madonna might have told the world to “Express Yourself” way back in 1989, but it’s millennials who have taken self-expression to a whole new level. And we’ve only got Instagram to thank for that.
That’s not because — despite what the headlines might say — we’re a bunch of vain narcissists with nothing better to do than take endless selfies. It’s actually because Instagram, and the mass adoption of cameraphones, has democratised self-expression and portraiture for everyone, regardless of class.
Nothing says more about the release of a new app from a social media giant than technical difficulties or an early released blog post, spoiling the news.
That’s exactly what happened with the release of IGTV, a new standalone video app from Instagram, announced at a special event today. The app opens up to vertically oriented videos and lets any user—not just celebrities or brands—upload videos (only up to an hour long for verified or large accounts), either on the app or website. IGTV will also include “channels,” that allow users to follow a single creator directly. The company also announced it now has 1 billion monthly active users.
Instead of attracting media companies and their content, the new app wants content creators and influencers to make that hot content on Instagram instead of YouTube.
“Instagram moving into longer form video content makes sense given Facebook’s continued investment in Watch,” said Rachel Tipograph, founder and CEO of MikMak, a social video commerce company. “For creators who upload longform content to Instagram, quality storytelling that demands someone’s continued engagement is paramount.”
For now, Instagram remains mum on how and when it’ll choose to monetize the section. IGTV, however, will let creators link out to websites, creating a bigger revenue opportunity for brands and influencers.
According to a new report from The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, which incorporates the responses of more than 74,000 people in 37 countries about their digital news consumption habits, the use of social media for news is declining, almost entirely driven by people turning away from Facebook.
Snapchat’s new developer platform that allows it to integrate with outside apps like Tinder, Postmates and Patreon, is going live this week.
Now daters on Tinder will be able to flirt with Bitmojis. Postmates will let people share delivery information to friends inside Snapchat.
Snapchat built four “kits” that will open the messaging and media app to outside developers. These types of developer tools are core to companies like Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google, because they help drive innovation around their products and keep audiences in their ecosystems.
“Snap Kit will help Snapchatters tap into the best parts of other apps they love, and help those apps integrate some of Snapchat’s experiences into their products,” says a Snapchat spokeswoman in an e-mail statement.
Snapchat’s platform will let people sign into participating apps using their Snapchat accounts. There’s also a creative component to the platform that will allow developers to build features inside of Snapchat. Postmates is doing so.
Tinder is jumping on Bitmojis, the cartoonish emojis that people customize to look like themselves. So, now Tinder users on Snapchat will be able to message one other with their Bitmojis.
Patreon, the service for fans to contribute money to their favorite creators, built a bridge into Snapchat, so people on its app can share videos to Snapchat. The videos will display a Patreon logo, and they look similar to Snapchat Stories in that they are vertical video shot from mobile devices.
“The whole point of the integration is so a creator doesn’t have to close one app and open another,” says Brent Horowitz, Patreon’s VP of business and corporate development. “It pushes video directly from Patreon to Snapchat.”
The developer platform represents a departure for Snapchat, which has mainly been a cloistered experience since the app was founded in 2011. Users couldn’t share their Snapchat messages or videos outside of the app, and they couldn’t use outside services within Snapchat.
But Snapchat’s private-club atmosphere has slowly opened up as the company recognized the need to appeal to wider audiences, brands and media.
Snapchat is still emphasizing security and privacy, though, and even took a swing at Facebook for the troubles it’s had with its developer program. Facebook, of course, has had to overhaul its developer program this year, since Cambridge Analytica was accused of abusing the platform to influence global elections.
Before 2015, Facebook’s developer program had a data-multiplying loophole that let third-parties sign up users and then access the user’s data and friends’ data, too.
Facebook has since discontinued the access to friend data. Snapchat promised not to engage in any similar data free-for-alls as it tries to maintain its image as a privacy-obsessed service.
“We have never offered a product like an open social graph,” Snapchat says in its e-mail statement. “And we do not share or allow Snapchatters to share their own friend network information with third parties.”