The success of Byte is still in question

By AMANDA KARP
On February 10, 2020

Photo courtesy of tik tok logo, ByteDance

When Vine was shut down in 2016, its users wanted to find something that would replace it and provide similar content to the 6-second video sharing app. Four years later, users’ wishes have finally been granted, with the release of Byte.

Released on Jan. 24, Byte quickly surpassed TikTok in downloads on the Apple App Store. TikTok, previously known as Musical.ly, became one of the biggest hits of 2018, as it allowed users to create looping videos up to a minute long.

The app “ended Friday as the No. 1 free iPhone app on the U.S. App Store and is still in the top spot,” Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights of the research firm Sensor Tower, said in a Jan. 26 article for TIME.

“Dear friends,” a message by the developers, Team Byte, wrote on the Apple App Store said. “We’re bringing back 6-second looping videos and the community that loved them.”

With more than three thousand reviews and a 4.5-star rating on the Apple App Store, Byte was poised to truly be the second coming of Vine.

“This is Vine and TikTok in one and you can customize it in any way you want and it is so cool,” said Luke Shugert in a review on the Apple App Store. “I love to design things and this [app’s] design is amazing and so clean. You can choose your own colors and even your own app icon on the home screen.”

Vine launched the careers of many successful YouTubers, from David Dobrik, Liza Koshy, Danny Gonzales and Cody Ko, among others.

However, despite the critical acclaim Byte has received on the Apple App Store, some social media users questioned if Byte can succeed when TikTok has taken such a hold in popular culture.

“Man it's kind of unfortunate that Byte came around during the same period we managed to find an appropriate substitute for Vine because Tiktok is absolutely murdering it,” tweeted user @WendySnowRadish on Feb. 8. 

“Byte ‘comedians’ are worse than Vine and TikTok ones. [I’m] deleting the app,” tweeted user @maxbridgland on Feb. 2. “It will never bring the glory days of Vine back.”

With such mixed reviews across social media and competition from TikTok, Byte may fail in the same way that Vine did, unable to secure enough revenue for itself and content creators. 

“Nostalgia is our starting point, but where we go from here is up to you,” Team Byte wrote.

Though the massive amounts of downloads in its first week seemed to point to success for Byte, people seem happier to leave the idea of Vine in the past, reliving it through the various compilations that can be found on YouTube. 

 

akarp@ramapo.edu

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