TikTok is the second iteration of Musical.ly, an app that launched in 2014. In November 2017, ByteDance - a Beijing-based media and tech company that already owned a similar app, TikTok - acquired Musical.ly for a reported $1 billion. The next year, ByteDance combined Musical.ly (popular in the Americas and Europe) and TikTok (Asia) into a single app that, the company says, “better reflects the breadth of content created on our platform that extends beyond music to comedy, performance art and more."
The end product is an app for making and sharing 5-second videos that is often compared to the now- shuttered short-form video app Vine—(RIP Vine.)
The videos are tall, not square, like on Snapchat or Instagram’s stories, and users scroll through them like a feed. The video topics range from inside jokes, to dances, singing, memes, reactions, reactions to reactions, and various challenges: #idolchallenge, the #matildachallenge, the #unmakeupchallenge.
Sixty percent of its 500 million-plus active app users are 16-24 years old.