American social media mammoth Facebook has upped its efforts to take on the growing Chinese short-video making platform TikTok, this time by launching a new app for creating and sharing raps.
The app, called BARS, makes it possible for rappers to create and share their raps using professionally created beats, and is the Facebook internal R&D group’s second launch in the music space following its recent public debut of music video app Collab.
In the app, users will select from any of the hundreds of professionally created beats, then write their own lyrics and record a video. BARS can also automatically suggest rhymes as you’re writing out lyrics, and offers different audio and visual filters to accompany videos as well as an auto tune feature.
The app is currently available in the Apple App Store in the US and makes it easy to create and share raps so that rappers can focus on and experiment with the content, “rather than investing heavily in equipment and production.”
“Audio production tools can be complicated, expensive and difficult to use. With BARS, you can select one of our professionally-created beats, write lyrics and record yourself dropping bars,” Facebook said in a statement.
The videos themselves can be up to 60 seconds in length and can then be saved to your Camera Roll or shared out on other social media platforms.
Meanwhile Collab brings together creators and fans to create, watch, and mix and match original videos, starting with music. For BARS, no formal rap experience is required. “You can create something great whether you’ve just thought of a dope couplet or have been freestyling for years,” Facebook said.
Like the Collab, the pandemic played a role in BARS’ creation. The pandemic shut down access to live music and places where rappers could experiment, explains Facebook team member DJ Iyler. “I know access to high-priced recording studios and production equipment can be limited for aspiring rappers. On top of that, the global pandemic shut down live performances where we often create and share our work,” he says.
In competition with TikTok
Despite the focus on music, and rap in particular, the new app can be seen as yet another attempt by Facebook to develop a TikTok competitor, at least in this content category.
TikTok has already become a launchpad for up-and-coming musicians, including rappers. It has helped rappers test their verses, is favored by many beatmakers and is even influencing what sort of music is being made. In other words, there’s already a large social community around rap on TikTok and Facebook wants to bring some of that attention back its way.