TikTok App: Secrets of the Popularity and Tips for Building It

Do you want to create a music app for iPhone & Android and make good money? Then take a pattern by TikTok - a mobile program that belongs to relatively new video social media apps. TikTok is a definite market leader included in the global TOP 10 social platforms with an active audience of no fewer than 1.4 billion users.

Since the beginning of 2018, TikTok has been consistently among the most downloaded applications in the world. And the year 2019 shows even better indicators: over the past three months, TikTok downloads have grown by 25% in the US and by 20% worldwide. Moreover, in October 2018, this video-sharing mobile app overcame Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram in the US downloads ranking. It’s impressive, right?

social media video apps

Why not emulate the success of one of the best video clip apps? If you, too, want to be among the leaders, read our article and be ready to follow its recommendations. We're going to carefully analyze the TikTok strategy and give you a couple of useful tips on the concept of a music streaming application of the same type. You'll know how to make a music player app for Android and iOS and get your profit.

Let’s get started!

What is the TikTok Mobile App?

The idea of connecting video, music and social networking capabilities came to Alex Zhu (the one who will be involved in the creation of musical.ly) when he was watching a group of American teenagers. Some of them were listening to favorite songs or taking selfies, others were making funny video stories, adding stickers, and sharing the result with friends.

Alex Zhu thought it would be cool to provide these kids with the service offering everything from the above list. He was sure such a program would gain popularity among teenagers, and that’s when and why he decided to create a music app in a completely new format.

It wasn't without all sorts of twists and turns, ups and downs, but eventually, his dream came true, and today we can enjoy TikTok, a fast-growing music video platform, which managed in just a few years to gain a decent audience. And it’s clearly not going to stop there!

What is it, after all?

TikTok is a special service working on various mobile platforms and offering the possibility to post short music videos. The basic principle is to be through within 1 minute (although a time interval of 15 seconds is usually used). So, if we draw an analogy, TikTok is a “video Twitter”: just as you must post short messages on Twitter, you’re allowed to create only short videos when using TikTok.

TikTok’s mission (as the company sees it) is to help people share their creativity and fun moments. It is for this purpose that the short video clip app in question offers users a lot of cool features such as filters, masks, beauty effects, stickers, millions of free tracks, various editing tools, and more. Users may run live broadcasts, watch recommended clips, send reactions, and much, much more.

However, let's consider the issue in more detail. After all, to build an app like musical.ly and TikTok, you must understand how these programs work, right?

The principle of using TikTok

  1. First of all, the program offers a wide a great many ways and options to create music videos. The user may select the desired track from the myriad of the proposed compositions and take advantage of different tools to make his video unique: starting with funny stickers and ending with managing the playback speed.

  2. In addition to making a video, a user can view the creations of other TikTok fans and, of course, express his attitude to what he sees: mark videos as 'liked', share with friends, leave feedback, and so on.

  3. It is also possible to search among a myriad of entertaining videos with just one click and, most interestingly, share your best pieces with a constantly growing audience of users of the video clip editor app.

Though, we'll describe more possibilities of the program when discussing TikTok video features.

How does TikTok differ from other applications?

To build a video editor app and join the best of the best, you need to differ from your competitors, and TikTok coped with the task perfectly well. See for yourself:

  • Snapchat aims to distribute funny three-dimensional animated masks.

  • FB offers mostly textual content, sometimes diluted with videos and photos.

  • Instagram is focused on publishing life stories in the form of photos and videos.

And TikTok, this great video-sharing mobile app, is trying to give users everything they want, to provide the opportunity to diversify their content in a new way, thus expressing their emotions and showing creativity. But the main thing is that the service has found its unique target audience.

Who loves these social music video apps?

Such music streaming apps are focused on generation Z: girls and boys, mostly Americans, who were born after 1995 and haven't reached the age of eighteen yet. Gen Z is also called the era of digital natives. Its representatives grew up with mobile devices in their hands, and the Internet is their true habitat. For example, in the US, 95% of teenagers have a smartphone or access to it, and 45% are constantly online.

Generation Z guys are obsessed with visual content, and among them, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are more popular than Facebook. So Alex Zhu's idea to make a music video app for iPhone & Android had come in time.

But let's take a look at the history of the service.

History of the TikTok video clip app

It all started with the musical service called Musical.ly, founded in April 2014 by Chinese entrepreneurs Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. In 2016, more than 100 million people had already been using the program, and quite actively.

At the same time, in September 2016, ByteDance launched the Douyin Music Video Platform with functionality similar to the one offered by Musical.ly. Though, Douyin worked only in the territory of China, while the competitor focused on the foreign market.

Douyin had gained popularity without any problem, but, despite the rapid success in the local market, the app owners wanted more… they understood that American and European teenagers adored all sorts of social video apps, which meant their business project couldn't fail. And they proved right.

TikTok Mobile App
By the way, among famous Music Streaming Apps, there is a well-known Spotify application. Click here to read all about it!

In September 2017, ByteDance made a decisive step towards entering the world market by launching TikTok, a copy of the Douyin application, in Indonesia. It became especially popular in November of the same year after the company had bought Musical.ly (and paid $ 800 million). Such a purchase allowed ByteDance to obtain a huge multi-million user base from its main competitors.

Creating two identical social media video apps targeted at different markets helped ByteDance to evolve globally on legal grounds. Douyin can only be downloaded in China, and TikTok is available to users outside the country.

By the by, in 2017, ByteDance was estimated at $ 20 billion, and in October 2018, the mark reached $ 75 billion. By this indicator, the company surpassed Uber. And in 2018, the company's revenue exceeded $ 7 billion.

create a music app

Impressive numbers, right? But how did the company manage to create a musical videos app which turned out to be such a profitable investment? What is its secret?

Why is it so popular?

Considering that such market monsters as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, haven’t increased their audience last year (some of them have even lost a part of it), TikTok's achievements seem to be a real breakthrough. And note that the growth in TikTok users is mainly due to teenagers, and the young generation is a very important metric when it comes to social networks. It is believed that if you’ve conquered teenagers, then you'll be able to interest a more mature audience too, in the due course of time.

However, before discussing how to make a music app for Android and iOS, let's analyze what explains TikTok's incredible popularity. This understanding would help us build a more competent development strategy.

  1. The high popularity of short videos. According to research, the modern person (especially belonging to the younger generation) hardly keeps attention for a long time. Therefore, TikTok's approach (to be through within 15 seconds) is a great finding.

  2. Mobile Industry Orientation. In contradistinction to YouTube, TikTok was originally built for mobile devices. It gives the program performance benefits and allows users to create, edit, publish, and share videos on the app even if he has an old low-power smartphone.

  3. Easy to create content. The simplicity of content creation is the main difference between TikTok  (actually, any social video app like TikTok) and its competitors.

  4. A suitable target audience. As we've said, TikTok is being used by youngsters - a generation that is completely dependent on smartphones. And videos are the most familiar and sought-after content in social networks focused on teens.

  5. Analysis of the target audience. It’s good to find your audience, but such an obvious step is hardly enough to get a video editing app like musicl.ly and Tik Tok. That's why TikTok owners went even further and took the next step. Namely, they carefully analyze the user's behavior: they scan comments, count the time that a person spends on each video, determine when he or she usually opens the application, etc.

  6. Work with artificial intelligence. To make a music app for iPhone & Android and achieve tremendous success as Tik Tok did, pay attention to this item in our list. The fact is that the system in question analyzes the content using language processing technology and computer vision. That’s why the program always provides personalized news feeds with the correct video set.

  7. The celebrity factor. The app content is being also produced by celebrities - in addition to ordinary people. Among these celebrities are Ariana Grande (a famous singer) and Jimmy Fallon (an American TV presenter). These famous personalities challenge each other or ask subscribers to create musical videos on a specific topic, thus initiating various flash mobs... and helping to attract more users.

  8. Advertising. Of course, Tik Tok couldn't ignore advertising either. The app was actively advertised on YouTube, themed events, and well-known video bloggers also contributed to the app's progress.

We figured out the reasons explaining the TikTok's popularity, and now we must proceed to the question of how to create a music app of the same level and type. Let's start with the description of the TikTok functionality.

Features under the hood of the TikTok app
Pandora application is another good example of Social Music Video Apps. Do you want to know more? Read our article!

Features under the hood of the TikTok app

Among a huge number of TikTok videos features, we should mention these ones:

  • Check-in. Creating a Tik Tok account can be done by different methods: through social networks, e-mail or SMS. The user is free to choose what is more convenient in his particular case. By the way, the TikTok application is allowed to be used even without registration, but you'll only be able to look through the newsfeed and watch popular videos.

  • Profile. Of course, users of music apps like TikTok need their personal accounts. As in Instagram, a profile in Tiktok serves to display information about a specific user and includes his personal data, gallery, posted videos, statistics on subscribers, and so on.

  • Video news feed. As already mentioned, the TikTok feed is being created taking into account the user's personal tastes and contains only those videos which can interest him.

  • Content Search. Another feature your own TikTok app for iPhone or Android should have is an advanced search. Tiktok offers to find a certain person, music, or video using the hashtag.

  • Creation of a new video. Of course, the most important function of such music streaming apps is content creation. There are two ways: make and publish a new video or select a ready piece from the gallery. Editing options are slightly different in both cases.

  • Video from the gallery. To upload a ready-made video to your TikTok, you need to select it from the offered extensive music gallery. Unlike Instagram Stories, any videos are available here, and you're allowed to choose one file or several. In the edit menu, you can rotate the video, crop it, or change the playback speed.

  • QR code scanner, one more useful TikTok videos feature which helps to subscribe to users in a quicker way. Also, a user may view his own QR code and share it with another person.

  • Processing tools. Now let's talk about what makes a social video app like TikTok so special, namely, about all sorts of tools, which allow you to create stunning and impressive effects and edit videos to your taste:

    • Video editing tools;

    • Free emoji, masks, and beauty effects;

    • Regularly updated masks to improve live broadcasts.

  • Recording the reaction. It’s unthinkable to build a video editor app without considering such a key feature as a user reaction. The popular format which bloggers often use is implemented in TikTok in a very convenient way. In just a few seconds, a user can record the reaction to a video he liked (or hated) and publish it in his feed.

  • Notifications and messages. Notifications provide data on all user activity: new videos and live broadcasts, information about events and TikTok trends, etc. TikTok also offers an instant messaging system so that users of the video clip app are able to freely communicate with each other.

  • Live-Ops. Live-Ops are usually aimed at the games, but TikTok owners have found the use of the technology in order to improve the performance of their Music Video Platform. Live-Ops help to maintain live real-time communication with users and ensure the app is always up-to-date.

  • Hashtags. Hashtags are used everywhere today (recall at least Instagram!), and TikTok is no exception. Moreover, the application uses hashtags very actively, thus attracting a greater number of users who just adore them.

  • Making a profit. TikTok also has a large number of features that help users earn. The most popular way is to make money by creating fun videos and popularizing them.

  • Social feature. And, of course, it would be a huge omission to make a music video app for Android or iOS and not provide the opportunity to share content using social networks (such as Instagram, YouTube, FaceBook, etc).

  • Detailed analytics. TikTok provides fans of the short video clip app with the opportunity to analyze the activity of subscribers on their page and take into account other significant data. Those interested in promoting their accounts would especially appreciate such a feature.

TikTok videos features


And now you’re probably interested in the cost to create an app like Tik Tok and its earning potential… we have the answer you need.

VOD and live streaming apps
Thinking of creating VOD and live streaming apps? You'll need professional help!

How to earn money from music apps like TikTok

Okay, let's see how you can earn money from music apps like TikTok. We’re going to offer you a few simple options, and it’s up to you to make the final choice. Or, rather, you had better combine a couple of monetization methods. It’s the best way to achieve the cherished goal.

  1. Light & Pro, Paid subscriptions, a Freemium model. So many names, but the essence is the same: you have to build a video editor app with free basic functionality and paid additional features.

  2. Fundraising. Do your best to attract investments to create a music application like TikTok. By the way, TikTok owners did so and succeeded. In 2012, ByteDance received funding from Susquehanna International Group (the private equity firm). In 2017, the company raised $ 2 billion, and at the end of 2018 - $ 3 billion from General Atlantic and KKR & Co, Primavera Capital Group, and SoftBank Group. And all the investment totally paid off.

  3. In-app purchases. Another great way to earn money from music apps is to invite users to buy something in the process of taking advantage of the program. In-app purchases may include paid exclusive features, access to some special galleries, and so on... it all depends on your imagination.

  4. Advertising. And, of course, don't forget about advertising, it's certainly the easiest way to make social video apps profitable. Find advertisers interested in your target audience (as potential consumers of their products or services) and start earning. By the by, remember the first item on our list? So, a paid subscription may also include a "no-ads" mode.

Now you know how to recoup your cost to create a music app and not be at a loss. It's time to move on to more specific recommendations.

7 tips to create a music application like TikTok

If you plan to create an app like TikTok, you won’t mind a few helpful tips on the matter, such as:

  1. Find your unique target audience. This is definitely the main TikTok's success factor! The app owners decided to focus on gen Z and didn't fail. We don't tell you to copy the strategy exactly, try to find your own way. Think about who your program might be useful to. And keep in mind that the TickLock service constantly studies its users, their tastes and preferences, analyzes the behavior inside the application... and comes to the right conclusions! You should act the same way.

  2. Keep up with the times. So, the audience is found, but that's just the beginning. To create a music app and succeed, you need to make sure your service will be in demand. The Tik Tok app saw that short videos were popular, placed stakes on such a trend, and became a winner.

  3. Make a list of features. Focusing on the audience and bearing in mind the need to follow modern trends, make a list of features, which might be helpful and interesting to your users. Try to show originality in order to compare favorably with your competitors, other social media video apps. And, of course, don't forget the examples of TikTok videos features we've described above.

  4. Use the location factor. Mobile devices provide us with a lot of unique opportunities, and in our interest to take advantage of them to the maximum. Among others, these opportunities include the determination of the user's location. What does it mean when it comes to music apps like TikTok? Say, you can show the person all the users streaming a live broadcast in his location at the moment.

  5. Intuitive and user-friendly interface. It seems obvious, right? And yet we cannot fail to mention this point, because it’s extremely important. The interface of the video editing app like musicl.ly and Tik Tok should be clear, simple and, of course, appealing.

  6. Multi-platform support. You have to be ready to create a music app for Android and iOS mobile operating systems since you can't be absolutely sure which platform your users prefer the most. You must provide all the possibilities.

  7. Social networks. Yes, yes, we've already talked about it describing Tik Tok features, however, it won't be superfluous to repeat one more time. Ensure the integration of social networks to achieve 2 goals: simplifying the registration process and encouraging users to share their content on Instagram, Facebook, and other famous social networks. Thus, these people unobtrusively (and unknowingly) promote your program.


If you’re ready to build a video editor app, we offer our services.

Why should you choose us? There are a huge lot of reasons, and we'll specify only a few of them:

  1. Vast experience. We've been working in the mobile and web market for a long time and know all the pitfalls which can be met in the process of developing an application or a website. And, of course, we know how to overcome them.

  2. High level of expertise. Years of experience lead to expertise, and the best proof is our projects.

  3. Diverse specialists. We have web and mobile developers, QA experts, and UI/UX specialists. By combining the efforts, they’re able to provide you with a turnkey project.

  4. Unique solutions. The logical consequence of the above points is an original approach to project development. We offer only unique solutions.

  5. Meeting deadlines. And, of course, you don't need to worry about the timing of the project's completion. We're very punctual in this regard.

music apps like TikTok
We know how to create a music application like TikTok and are ready to proceed with your project immediately!
Rate this article
15 ratings, average 4.80 of out 5
Table of contents
Get in touch
Related articles
How to Create a Social Network Site from Scratch: Tips and Tricks
How to Create a Social Network Site from Scratch: Tips and Tricks


12 min read

Why You Should Consider Creating a Niche Social Network
Why You Should Consider Creating a Niche Social Network


10 min read

How to Create a Photo Sharing App like Instagram
How to Create a Photo Sharing App like Instagram


14 min read

How to Create a Social Network Site from Scratch: Tips and Tricks
How to Create a Social Network Site from Scratch: Tips and Tricks


12 min read

Why You Should Consider Creating a Niche Social Network
Why You Should Consider Creating a Niche Social Network


10 min read