Fusic, an Israeli-made app, lets users create a video of themselves singing duets with their favorite artists, uploading their version of a song and “Fusing” it with the official music video seen on MTV or Youtube. This gives the selfie a major upgrade, from mere photo to full-blown music video.
The Fusic technology blends home video uploaded by aspiring singers with music videos from top artists from most genres, including Mariah Carey, Austin Mahone, Jason Derulo or even “classic” artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire. Thirty seconds after uploading, Fusic creates a mash-up, a special version of the artists’ music video, turning users into collaborators with their favorite stars. The name is a combination of “fusion” and “music.”
“It’s definitely a new concept, but one that we’ve seen take off very quickly,” said Liat Sade-Sternberg, CEO of Fusic. In her first media interview discussing the new app, Sade-Sternberg said that, though the start-up released the app just two weeks ago, it has tens of thousands of users who have used it to make hundreds of thousands of mash-up music videos. “It’s the next level in selfies,” said Sade-Sternberg. “If, until now, people posted pictures or videos of themselves on Facebook, Whatsapp or other social media, now they can post videos of themselves ‘performing’ the songs they and their friends love.”
Users download the free Fusic app (currently available in the App Store for iOS; Android version is on the way, said Sade-Sternberg) and register using credentials from social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Users pick a song from the list, activate their device’s camera and see an image of themselves as the camera sees you, alongside the official MTV-version of the music video you’ve selected. The song’s lyrics appear in a box onscreen and are highlighted, karaoke-style, as they are sung in the music video. Users can choose to sing along or lip-sync to the music. Once the filming is completed, Fusic uploads the footage to the server, does its back-end work of “Fusing” the uploaded footage and the actual music video, and presents the MTV music video with users’ footage interspersed and integrated with the actual video itself.
For example, in the video for Jason Derulo’s “Marry Me,” a Fused production would intersperse scenes from the Derulo video, featuring the singer and his girlfriend, with scenes of the uploaded footage, with the scenes switching off between the uploaded footage and video. The voices would be interspersed and integrated, with some lines sung by the uploader, some by Derulo, and some in a duet between the professional and amateur singers. Fusic can apply various filters and editing tricks to the uploaded footage, such as split screens, fades or tints, that help integrate the two videos.
The result is a single 1.5-minute music video that users can post on social networks or on the Fusic site. Videos posted on the site are rated by members of the Fusic community, and can be entered into competitions the site runs, with prizes awarded. The uploader with the highest rating in the Jason Derulo competition got a personal phone call from the singer.
“It’s all done on the fly, and the wait is only about half a minute, which obviously means we are using some very powerful algorithms to do this,” said Sade-Sternberg. She took the job as CEO earlier this year, “when I realized how big this could be.” The technology itself was developed by a group of programmers who previously built the storage products made by Israel’s XIV, bought by IBM in 2008 for around $300 million, according to industry insiders.
Fusic features about 200 songs from licensing agreements with a number of “second-tier music distributors,” said Sade-Sternberg, but she expects to land a licensing agreement with one of the world’s largest distributors in the coming months, substantially increasing the app’s library. Most of the music videos on the site now are from the pop charts, which Fusic’s core audience, teens and young adults up to age 25, like the most, with a smattering of other genres, such as 80’s rock, disco and show tunes.
“The music companies we work with have been very supportive of Fusic,” said Sade-Sternberg. “It’s an excellent vehicle for them to distribute new music and to get buzz for artists’ new songs and back catalog. They are the ones contacting us with ideas for contests and events, which they push through their social media channels.”
Fusic’s funding comes from a group of angel investors, but venture capital funds are getting wind of the app and what it could mean for the music and selfie businesses. “We are sitting on a real game-changer here,” said Sade-Sternberg. “I really believe this could be the next Instagram. Who wouldn’t want a selfie music video with their favorite singer?”
Click below for a playlist of users Fusing with Mariah Carey’s “You’re Mine (Eternal)”: