Facebook released a new video-based social media app called Bars this week, which was first reported by TechCrunch on Friday. The app allows users to write and create their own rap songs by supplying them with pre-made beats and the tools they need to write and record the lyrics. Bars represents the second social network released by Facebook’s research and development group, NPE Team, that encourages users to make music after Collab.
Facebook’s NPE team is responsible for creating and releasing new projects that the company is considering. The team, which started in the summer of 2019, is dedicated to launching new “experiences” that foster Facebook’s company-wide goal of creating new communities online. Apps created by the NPE team, Facebook says, may not indicate that the company is launching them completely and are intended to act more as beta tests than full blown products. It’s a good way for Facebook to experiment with new ideas without launching an entire new company, and lets them create new products like Bars that could eventually become full blown projects if the testing shows that the app will be successful.
Bars makes a game out of creating new rap songs by giving users the ability to challenge their songwriting skills and rapping ability. Users can also make use of a “challenge mode” which will up the ante by giving word prompts for people to use as inspiration during their songwriting process. The app will also offer built-in auto tune, enabling creators to implement different styles with their music.
While hyper-specific, Bars could be a powerful gateway to allowing the music industry to find and connect with rising stars that might congregate on the app. Hip hop and rap fans could also use the app to connect with new artists, making it a potentially powerful platform for both music industry workers and music fans that might otherwise have to seek out those artists on platforms that are not genre specific.
TikTok has created a culture shift toward video-based social media, and the app has even shifted the ways that musicians get noticed with its ability for users to use the sounds from a video to create their own content. The viral model has even inspired entire playlists on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, and sent both the music and tech industries into a frenzy as they try to navigate these new trends into a replicable business model. In other words, artists have been scrambling over the last year to create the latest viral hit, and many musicians have started using the app to try and market their work.
Bars is now available to download on the App Store, but it looks like it’s closed right now to only beta users. The app allows you to pick a username and enter basic data like your age and preferred gender, but tells you that you’ll be added to a list to be notified when the app is ready for you to use. The app also mentions that users will “own their Bars” and adds that the company respects the content that users make on the app, but doesn’t specify if that means that users will own the rights to the music they create on the app.