Tech

Snapchat will soon let users add songs to their videos

It's a feature Instagram already has, but might really be a jab at TikTok.

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Snapchat is testing the ability for users to add songs to their Snaps to help people better capture the feelings they want to share. The feature is in testing, with a wider release expected in the fall.

Adding music to posts isn't a novel feature — Instagram has allowed users to stick music into their Stories for years, and music overlayed onto videos is core to TikTok. But the latter company is vulnerable right now as it continues discussions with Microsoft about a potential acquisition amid threats of a U.S. ban. Snapchat may be seeking to capitalize on TikTok's popularity while users think about switching to other apps.

Snap

Bloomberg reported that Snap has signed music rights deals with major companies including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Merlin.

The feature works as you'd expect — friends can send you Snaps with music, and a widget at the bottom will show you the album art, song title, and name of the artist. Clicking the "Play this song" button will open a web view where you can open the song in various music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify.

Beating them while they're down — TikTok was the first to popularize looping tracks of music to accompany a video. But President Trump last week threatened to ban the app in the United States due to its ties to China, even if it were to sell to an American company. The administration seems to have backtracked on that, and Microsoft has confirmed it will continue talks to buy the app from its Chinese parent company ByteDance. TikTok collects a lot of data on its users, which would be held in the U.S. by Microsoft if the sale were to go through.

TikTok has been seeking other ways to distance itself from China and avoid a ban, such as opening an international headquarters that signals it's a "global" company.

Yes, but — Amid the turmoil, popular users on TikTok have been encouraging their fans to follow them on other social media platforms. Competitors to TikTok have been unafraid to take advantage of the paranoia surrounding that app and potential surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party. Instagram is planning to release a short-form video format in Stories called Reels that is essentially a clone of TikTok's core format. Reels could be a serious threat to TikTok as Instagram has a huge userbase, and features released in the app tend to become very popular, though it doesn't seem like TikTok's young users care much about the Chinese affiliations.

Snapchat users will surely start using music in their posts, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it will be able to capture the same internet culture and Generation Z viral challenges that TikTok is known for. Snapchat is more commonly used for private communication between close friends. So it could help people recommend songs to their friends or communicate emotions more than help overtake TikTok.