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Musical.ly first made a splash in The New York Times in August 2016, months before Donald Trump’s presidency began and years before the Covid-19 pandemic was even a glimmer on the horizon.
At the time, Alex Zhu, co-founder of the Chinese app for user-generated short-form music videos, told the Times that China’s “closed environment” was tough to break into—and he much preferred the American teen demographic, which he called a “golden audience.”
It was also two years before Musical.ly