The Music Video-Making Apps Even A-Listers Are Using

In the spectrum of viral videos, you could put the quick clips of Vine (may it RIP) at one end, and the creator-helmed channels of YouTube at the other. In the middle, there's an increasingly prevalent kind of viral video created with apps that put special effects front and center. Social music videos let you put your own touch on the latest Ariana Grande, without the expense of a standard music video production. Lest you question their legitimacy, even industry standouts like Cardi B and Rita Ora use them — for fun, that is.
Here's the nice part: You don't need to have dancing or singing skills to make a hit. Some of the most popular videos are ones where a complete lack of talent, but a sharp sense of humor or concept, is the draw. For others, it's the clever use of "magic" effects — virtual smoke, flames, you name it — that pull in viewers.
Advertisement
Ahead, a look at the apps beginners, and even A-listers, use to make and share music videos.
1 of 5

Kind of obsessed👌🏽. You? #edm #electronica

A post shared by musical.ly (@musical.ly) on

Almost four years in, Musical.ly is an OG in the viral music video app space. It still deserves a mention for helping to kick off the craze — and launching a new wave of Gen-Z social media stars, including Baby Ariel and Jacob Sartorius. The app may have passed its peak, but still has millions of followers and an active "Muser" community.

To get started simply, pick a song, choose a speed to shoot at (epic, slow, norm, fast, or lapse), and sing, lip sync, or dance along. Special effects come in the form of filters, including a Kirakira+ style sparkle option, and a tool to reverse sections of your recording or add a repetitive motion.

Musical.ly, free, available on the App Store and Google Play
2 of 5
If Musical.ly is past its prime, Like is picking up where it left off. Since launching in August 2017, it has amassed 37 million downloads worldwide. To help build its credibility, Like recruited stars including Cardi B, Bella Thorne, and Noah Schnapp of Stranger Things to record and post videos.

Like calls itself a "magic music video editor". That "magic" is augmented reality which results in effects that look like ones you might see in a Marvel movie. The videos you create won't be realistic, but it's fun to watch yourself disappear in a cloud of smoke or play with lightning — both of which can be done at the touch of a button when filming with the "4D Magic" and "Superpower" modes.

Like, free, available on the App Store and Google Play
Advertisement
3 of 5
Musical.ly and Like may be focused on special effects, but Triller is all about the beats. After you choose a song from the extensive library, which includes recent hits from Drake and J.Cole, you're encouraged to film multiple takes. The app uses AI to stitch together those takes, determining where to match certain movements to the beats in the song.

The result is a video that looks surprisingly professional. Rita Ora, Justin Bieber, and Kevin Hart are among the A-listers who have tried it out and posted their results.

Triller, free, available on the App Store and Google Play
4 of 5
Lomotif is a more bare bones version of Like, Musical.ly, and Triller: You simply pick a song and record yourself singing and dancing to it. However, there are animations (called "scenes") that you can intersperse throughout to add some dimension to your video. You can also choose to upload photos and videos already saved to your camera roll and set those to music.

For those who want to turn their videos into memes, Lomotif is the app to use. After filming, scroll down and tap to toggle on "meme title". Edit the text above and below your video and export it to your camera role or share directly to Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter.

Lomotif, free, available on the App Store and Google Play
5 of 5
Vigo Video (formerly Flipagram) looks less high quality than its competitors. It's geared towards a younger crowd, given the slew of face lenses (here, called "stickers") that are available.

After picking your song and filming — with, or without, a lens — you can add one of five effects. These aren't as fancy as the ones available with Like, but include a VHS-style 1970s option, and black-and-white "Dark Magic" option, which is more of a filter than it is an effect.

Vigo Video, available on the App Store
Advertisement

More from Tech

Watch

R29 Original Series