Facebook to introduce online singing competitions

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Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Facebook's attempt at live video domination continues with an apparent take on the popular lip-synching app Musical.ly.

Researcher Jane Manchun Wong uncovered a not-yet-launched portion of Facebook's code for something called "Talent Show," which would pit users against one another in a virtual singing competition. "Talent Show" appears to be an attempt to grab the audience of Musical.ly, like Facebook's recent development of various virtual quiz shows to compete with the HQ Trivia app.

According to Wong's analysis, the code allows users to pick a song from a preordained list, record themselves singing the song, and submit it for judging. The competition aspect would also allow Facebook to compete with YouTube as a means for new talent discovery.

A representative for Facebook declined to comment specifically on "Talent Show," but confirmed that Wong's findings are correct. The representative doubled down on Facebook's desire to further incorporate music on the platform.

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

Facebook has recently acquired music licensing rights with record companies like Universal, Sony, and Warner. As a result, Facebook no longer has to take down videos made with copyrighted music that's posted by users. Instagram, part of Facebook's repertoire of apps, also recently introduced a feature that allows music to be attached to users' Stories.

It's all part of Facebook's increasing focus on 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 as many as 2 million participants in its twice-daily virtual quiz show. This summer has also seen the release of daily news shows from CNN and Fox News on the Facebook Watch video platform, and the opening of Watch to more videos and creators.

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