Every week the Insights Team at The Goat Agency pull together the latest news from the social space in a weekly social media industry news round-up. This week we cover Elon Musk abandoning the Twitter takeover, Instagram’s pinned posts feature and what platforms are doing with digital avatars!
Slip.stream Raises $7.5 Million
Creator-facing music platform Slip.stream has just raised a $7.5 million Series A funding round with one of the investors being Sony Music Entertainment – one of the “Big Three” labels.
Slip.stream, now a year old, provides royalty-free music to creators, through several subscription tiers, and offers background music in videos to avoid copyright strikes or demonetisation. Currently, the service provides a library of 100,000+ tracks and sound effects, being used by around 100,000 users in the company’s first year.
Slip.stream has the unique advantage of industry professionals being involved in the project. In addition, the service also provides music from big names in the music industry – including T-Pain, who sits on the company’s advisory board.
Sony Music having an interest in the project makes a lot of sense, as the service doesn’t just benefit creators, but musicians as well. The label’s involvement will ensure Slip.stream partner with more names in the music industry, helping to evolve the industry further and branch out into more innovative models that help labels and their artists better monetise their music.
Is Elon Musk Abandoning His Twitter Takeover?
Elon Musk appears to be backing out of his $44 billion takeover of Twitter. Why? Well, Musk’s team has stated in a new SEC filing that Twitter has breached the terms of the takeover.
The following was outlined in the SEC note:
“Based on Twitter’s behaviour to date, and the company’s latest correspondence in particular, Mr. Musk believes the company is actively resisting and thwarting his information rights (and the company’s corresponding obligations) under the merger agreement. This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement.”
According to a letter to Twitter’s Chief Legal Officer, Musk’s team raised concerns that Twitter is refusing to provide more insight into the number of fake profiles operating across the platform. Twitter, in the past, has stated that only 5% of its active user count are fake profiles.
The question remains if Musk can actually pull out of the deal since Twitter is standing firm that they will do all that is needed to enforce the deal previously agreed upon. Musk will also face paying a $1 billion break clause that was built into the deal’s terms. Interestingly, Musk waived a number of due diligence measures to speed the deal along, which means that pulling out now will be more problematic.
Catch up on the full story behind Musk’s Twitter takeover!
FaZe Clan’s FIFA 22 Outfits
The hugely successful gaming organisation based in L.A, FaZe Clan is partnering with Lyrical Lemonade to provide fans with digital and physical versions of matching FIFA kits.
The digital versions of the kit will be available very soon in FIFA 22’s cooperative Ultimate Team game mode, unlockable through one of the game’s multiplayer Squad Building Challenges. The kit will be available in two colours – red and blue.
Physical versions will be available in red, dropping on Faze’s digital storefront on June 5th, with a pop-up opening the day before to drive excitement in Los Angeles.
This marks another example of digital clothing playing an integral role within gaming environments, which will eventually extend to Metaverse experiences. We can see this with major platforms developing digital avatars such as Snap’s Bitmoji and Meta’s own personalised avatars available across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Spotify Has Entered The Metaverse
Back in May, Spotify launched “Spotify Island” as part of a Roblox activation. Now Spotify is expanding on this initial activation with “K-Park”, providing virtual space for Korean pop music fans.
Spotify is the first music-streaming brand to have a presence on Roblox, but many brands are exploring Roblox as a platform for marketing activity including Logitech and Chipotle.
The music-streaming platform’s in-game Island offers exclusive merch from artists that have partnered with Spotify, along with a pixelated stage – suggesting upcoming concerts hosted on the platform. It wouldn’t be the first time a concert was hosted in a virtual setting, take Ariana Grande and Travis Scott in their respective Fortnite concerts.
Spotify’s Roblox virtual space also features a digital jukebox, allowing visitors to play music. This jukebox creation is down to a recent acquisition by Spotify of Soundtrap.
Users can visit Spotify Island by taking their Roblox avatars through a series of portals. After which, users can explore the space and connected areas which will include K-Park.
Marques Brownlee’s New Masterclass
The popular tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee, who has accumulated over 15.6 million subscribers across YouTube, is part of the new Sessions by Masterclass.
The creator, who has been posting videos across YouTube for more than 13 years, and has a YouTube Original series named Retro Tech, will teach Masterclass viewers about his content creation process. Brownlee will cover all the elements of making a video, including thumbnail editing, idea generation and lighting.
Registration for the creator’s Masterclass opens this month and students can register up until June the 26th. After the closing date, the 30-day course will commence. Brownlee isn’t the only creator involved with Masterclass. Ninjam who infamously left Twitch for Mixer, also got involved to educate upcoming streamers about the craft.
Meta Updates Reels With New Features
Meta has announced new updates to Reels to enhance creative tools and encourage more engagement within the format.
These updates include the Reel duration being extended up to 90 seconds from 60 seconds – which has been in testing for a number of users for some time. This is a logical move considering the trajectory of TikTok’s video duration, which recently increased to 10 minutes.
Furthermore, Reels is getting a range of new stickers including polls, quizzes and the emoji slider. These are all stickers that are popular within the Stories format, but this addition to Reels creates a new way for users to engage with short-form videos.
Finally, Meta is adding new audio options, including new import options, allowing the creator to upload their own audio directly within Reels, whilst Facebook Reels will now have voiceovers for recordings. Meta isn’t stopping there with audio either, as there is the launch of “Sound Sync”, allowing creators to automatically sync video clips to the beat of a track.
These updates are all reminiscent of features available across TikTok. However, Meta is clearly taking short-form video very seriously, producing new features whilst also testing a range of unreleased features to select users.
Avatar Reactions Within IG Stories
Digital avatars are an important part of Meta’s metaverse plans. At present, Meta has been throwing time and money into VR avatars through Horizon Worlds. However, Meta has been working on 3D avatars across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram via stickers.
Now Meta is adding avatar reactions to Instagram Stories, reminiscent of Bitmoji’s place within Snapchat and Apple’s Memoji. Some users have reported that Instagram Story notifications are popping up to either react with an “Emoji” or “Avatar”. Tapping on the “Avatar” option enables users to create a custom avatar character.
This latest push with customisable avatars is a way of getting users utilising digital representations of themselves to interact across Meta apps. However, it also sets up a space to partner with brands for customisable clothing, this has been the strategy for some time across Snapchat, with the platform partnering with the likes of Nike for Bitmoji avatar clothing.
Instagram Updates Sensitive Content Controls
Instagram has aimed to improve user control to make the in-app experience safer and more enjoyable for all. This began with the launch of its Sensitive Content Control options, which launched last year.
In the most recent update, Instagram has expanded the feature to enable users to manage the content they see in all sections of the app. Upon the initial launch of the feature, users could only manage content in the “Explore” section of the app.
As explained by Instagram:
“Starting today, the Sensitive Content Control will cover all surfaces where we make recommendations. In addition to Explore, you will now be able to control the amount of sensitive content and accounts you see in Search, Reels, Accounts You Might Follow, Hashtag Pages and In-Feed Recommendations. With this update, we’re also applying the technology we use to enforce our Recommendation Guidelines to Instagram’s recommendations on Search and Hashtag pages. This update will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.”
The sensitive content controls are comprised of three options: “More”, “Standard” and “Less”. When the feature was first released, many activists feared the new option would suppress important content, however, Instagram has clearly deemed this feature an important update and as a result, expanded sensitive content controls to more areas of the app.
Instagram Post Pinning Now Available To Users Globally
Instagram has launched the ability for users to pin up to three posts to the top of a profile grid. The feature has been in testing, but is now receiving a full rollout globally.
In order to pin a post, users simply tap on a post and navigate to the three dots icon, here an option will appear to “Pin to your Profile”. The option allows users to pin both posts and Reels content, ensuring creators can highlight popular content – much like capabilities already possible across TikTok.
Instagram has also been testing another profile grid control option, enabling users to move posts around in any order. However, it is unclear if this feature will be getting a rollout following the pin post option.
TikTok Adding Insights To Creative Centre Platform
TikTok is adding new insights to its evolving Creative Centre platform, which includes data on hashtags, songs, creators, TikTok videos and regional performances.
The insights will help provide valuable research for brands, marketers and creators, helping to discover top trends in the app and adapt content accordingly. Although the Creative Centre isn’t new, it has received a number of developments that now allow users to map the popularity of songs over time, see who is engaging with specific tracks through an audience insight option and understand related interests.
The granular information you can research according to songs, hashtags, videos and creators only solidifies TikTok’s presence as one of the top platforms for both digital creators and marketers.
TikTok Launch Digital Avatars
TikTok has launched its own avatar creation tool through the platform’s “Effects” panel. Users can create custom character duplications using the camera view, tapping into the rising trend of social media platforms developing 3D avatars.
As explained by TikTok:
“Choose from an array of hairstyles, accessories, piercings and makeup, to create a TikTok Avatar that reflects your personal look and style. After your Avatar is ready, you can start recording videos. As you gesture and move, your Avatar will mimic your motion.”
TikTok has added a “miniature avatar” mode, enabling users to place their custom avatars on TikTok clips, remixes or providing voice-over directions as a talking head. This comes at a time when Meta is pushing avatars across its apps as well as Snapchat is advancing capabilities with its Bitmoji.
Twitter Test ‘Product Drops’
To highlight product launches, Twitter is testing a feature named “Product Drops”, reminding interested shoppers about a brand’s new release. Merchants can add a reminder option to tweet listings.
As explained by Twitter:
“People come to Twitter to talk about products and product drops every day. And merchants have long been dropping products on Twitter without any native product support. We’re excited to change that and introduce new shopping features that empower shoppers to stay on top of the launches that matter most to them and provide merchants with another way to engage shoppers around big product moments.”
The new option will also include a full-screen experience showing the price, product images, product descriptions and a clickable hashtag to show the conversation around the product. From here, users can tap to add a reminder, prompting Twitter to send an in-app notification 15 minutes before the product launches.
Users will also be able to purchase the product from the same notification, making the shopping experience efficient. This is especially important if a drop is known to sell out quickly.
Pinterest Acquires Platform “THE YES”
Pinterest has acquired an AI-powered shopping platform named “THE YES”. The aim of Pinterest is to enhance its discovery tools to make the platform more effective at product recommendations for users.
THE YES platform was founded in 2018 and utilises quizzes and direct user inputs to streamline item listings based on an individual’s preferences. The onboarding process involves a “Yes” or “No” response to understand a user’s preference.
Pinterest stated the following upon the announcement of the new acquisition:
“With hundreds of brand merchants on its platform, the team at THE YES has built an extensive fashion taxonomy that uses human expertise and machine learning to power a comprehensive algorithm in fashion. THE YES’s brand relationships and shopping expertise can potentially be applied to other categories on Pinterest such as home, beauty and food.”
The current CEO of THE YES will also join Pinterest as part of the deal, to provide support to improve the platform’s shopping objectives.
Pinterest Expands Creator Fund
Pinterest has announced that creators in the UK and Brazil can apply for the Creator Fund. This development aligns with Pride Month, with Pinterest aiming to ensure the platform is supporting diverse voices.
As explained by Pinterest it will:
“…reduce barriers of entry for them to reach new audiences on Pinterest and give them resources to bring even more creativity to the platform. For this first cohort, the UK will focus on fashion and beauty creators while Brazil will combine creators from the food, beauty, fashion and decor categories.”
Pinterest’s Creator Fund launched last year, with the objective of supporting creators in building a presence on the platform and offering solutions or opportunities for content monetisation.
Furthermore, Pinterest has also launched a new campaign during Pride, featuring a creator who shows how boys can also wear makeup and be welcomed on the platform to express their authentic selves. To supplement this, Pinterest will active LGBTQIA+ creators through original content and shopping spotlights, whilst also directing users who use Pride-related terms on the platform to a landing page highlighting the “We Belong Here” campaign through Pride-focused boards and articles.
Snapchat’s Shared Stories
Now Snapchat is launching a “Shared Stories” option, enabling users to invite other Snapchatters to contribute to their Stories. When creating such a format, users can choose people who are able to contribute, making the content viewable by your connections and theirs. This increases the exposure of content, whilst facilitating more engagement within the app.
The feature is actually a development of Custom Stories, a format that allowed users to create a Story and add friends to view and contribute. This development of Custom Stories allows the group to add their friends, creating a domino effect once open for collaboration.
The 24 hours live limit is still applicable in this format and for safety users will be alerted if they join a group with someone previously blocked.
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