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Alexi McCammond / Axios

Lip-syncing to popular songs is the latest video craze. Apps like Dubsmash and musical.ly each claim to have more than 100 million users.

Why it matters: With video becoming the new focus in social media, Dubsmash and musical.ly have caught the eye of the entertainment industry; one organically making its way into the hands of celebrities, while the latter has been inking a string of content, advertising, and distribution deals. They could prove to be a new threat to the mainstream social giants like Facebook and Snapchat.

Dubsmash:

  • Content: In 2015, singer Rihanna teased an upcoming song on Dubsmash, letting fans listen to and lip-sync to a 10-second clip of the tune — one of more than 100 campaigns on the platform to promote music, entertainment, and TV content. Late last year, the company also announced the ability for advertisers to sponsor a channel and promote branded content. Warner Brothers did so to promote its movie, Storks, prior to its release.
  • Publicity: A slew of celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Hugh Jackman, and Khloe Kardashian have posted videos recorded with Dubsmash. The app has also been featured on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon several times.

musical.ly:

  • Content: Musical.ly is reportedly in talks with Viacom and NBC to produce original shows for the networks that feel interactive and authentic, instead of heavily produced. The startup also teamed up the Billboard Music Awards' production company to host fan votes for one of the awards. The strategy is very much like rival Snapchat's, which serves similar Gen Z audiences, and has been inking content deals with shows for months.
  • Advertising: At this year's NewFronts, Hearst announced the first official ad partnership with Musical.ly, produced by Seventeen Magazine.
  • Distribution: Earlier this year, Apple struck a deal with musical.ly to provide songs for the platform's users to create videos around. The Apple Music partnership reportedly gives musical.ly cues to expand its market reach from 30 countries to 120.
  • Licensing: Musical.ly struck its first major music label deal with Warner Music in 2016.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.

3 hours ago - World

Biden huddles with European allies on Ukraine ahead of Putin call

Putin in the Kremlin. Photo: Grigory Sysoyev/Sputnik via Getty

President Biden will seek to convince Russia's Vladimir Putin in a phone call Tuesday that the price of invading Ukraine would be steeper than anything he's faced in the past.

Driving the news: Biden held a call on Ukraine this evening with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., while Secretary of State Tony Blinken called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to offer America's "unwavering support."