Back in 2015, Dubsmash was a bona-fide social media craze in many countries, as people’s Facebook feeds filled up with friends and family lip-syncing to their favourite songs.

That peak saw Silicon Valley funding rounds and partnerships with the likes of Rihanna, before Dubsmash’s thunder seemed to be stolen by a similar app called Musical·ly, which overtook it and kept on growing until it was bought by Chinese company ByteDance and merged with a fledgling app called TikTok. The rest is history.

As we’ve written before, though, Dubsmash didn’t disappear. It relaunched with more of a focus on dance challenges in early 2019, and by February 2020 was doing more than 1bn video views a month, and was second only to TikTok in the US for installs of short video apps.

One big tech firm was paying attention: Reddit announced this weekend that it has acquired Dubsmash, for an undisclosed amount. In the announcement, Reddit pointed to what it sees as the app’s strengths: “Young, diverse creators—about 25 percent of all Black teens in the U.S. are on Dubsmash, and females represent 70 percent of users,” it claimed. “About 30 percent of users log in every day to create video content, indicating a high level of retention and engagement.”

Reddit says it will be integrating Dubsmash’s tools into its own service, although there’s no news yet on whether that includes shutting down its standalone app. Still, it’s a company valued at $3bn in February 2019, and which had 430 million monthly active users in October that year, getting into the music-driven short video space, which will be highly interesting for the music industry. And, of course, it may raise the stakes in any music licensing negotiations / renewals…

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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