You know what’s cool? One BILLION active users of Facebook Messenger. It’s more cool than reheating old quotes from The Social Network anyway. Oh, wait…

But yes, Facebook has a major new milestone for Messenger, announcing today that it has more than one billion monthly active users. The news comes a few months after its other messaging app, WhatsApp, reached the same total.

“People use Messenger to connect with the people and businesses they care most about. They make plans, share dreams, send payments, tell jokes, play games, let their loved ones know they’re thinking of them and much, much more,” wrote Facebook in a celebratory blog post.

Meanwhile, the company has provided journalists with some more stats about the platform’s growth.

Its users send more than 17bn photos to friends using the app every month; more than 22m GIFs are sent every day through Messenger; and more than 380m stickers, with Messenger now having more than 250 sticker packs available to its users.

Messenger now generates more than 1bn messages sent between people and businesses (note, different to between people and people) each month – double the total this time last year. There are now more than 18k chatbots on Messenger, which also accounts for 10% of all voice-over-IP calls globally.

Facebook Messenger’s rise to 1bn active users has been swift, even by app standards. The app launched in August 2011, and reached 200 million active users by the first quarter of 2014, and 500 million by November that year – fuelled by the social network’s decision to block the messaging feature within its main app and prompt people to install Messenger instead.

More milestones: 700 million active users in June 2015; 800 million by the end of that year; 900 million by April 2016 and now 1bn in July.

Messenger – and messaging apps more generally – are of increasing interest to the music industry in multiple ways, from partnerships with streaming services making it easier to share songs with friends, to messaging-based marketing campaigns for artists.

Dance star Hardwell has just launched his own Facebook Messenger chatbot, for example, becoming one of the first artists to take advantage of the app’s API for artificial-intelligence helpers.

More generally, though, messaging apps – not just Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp in the west, but WeChat, Line and KakaoTalk in Asia – are becoming the places where smartphone owners (young ones especially) spend much of their digital time.

“Threads are the new apps,” was how Facebook Messenger boss David Marcus put it in a blog post earlier this year. The audience for music is on these apps, so music needs to find appropriate (i.e. non-spammy) ways of being there too.

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