Facebook R&D Team launches BARS: A short video content creator for Rappers to take on TikTok

Facebook BARS Rap App
Facebook launching app to create short rap music videos. Pic credit: Facebook NPE via The Verge

Facebook’s Research and Development arm, the NPE Team, has launched an experimental app called BARS. The musically inclined app allows musicians and singers, be it amateurs or pros, to create short rap videos.

Social media giant Facebook is releasing an app that will let users post and share videos of them rapping. The app will provide the relevant thumping beats or music that rappers prefer.

What is Facebook NPE’s ‘BARS’?

Facebook’s internal R&D group, called the NPE (New Product Experimentation) team has launched an app that basically allows users to create short, 60-second videos. However, these aren’t ordinary videos spread across a variety of topics or genres.

The BARS app offers a platform for would-be, amateurs, enthusiasts, and semi-professional singers, to create rap music videos. The app’s users or content creators can select from any of the hundreds of professionally created beats.


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Users can write their own lyrics and record a video. Alternatively, BARS can also automatically suggest rhymes as users are writing out lyrics. It can also intelligently offer different audio and visual filters to accompany videos.

It is promising to include an auto-rhyme dictionary. The feature would be available to users who mark themselves as “Beginners” in the app’s sign-up.

Users who mark themselves as “Advanced” or closer, will get a Freestyle mode, which gives them eight random words to work into a 16-bar off-the-cuff rap. Currently, there are only three levels: Beginner (less than a year of experience), Intermediate (between 1 and three years of rapping experience), and Advanced (over four years of experience quickly rhyming words).

BARS also has an autotune feature that quite a few singers might appreciate. Additionally, the app has a “Challenge Mode”, which is available for “Advanced” users.

The Challenge Mode tests rapping skills with auto-suggested word cues. This feature appears to have a game-like appearance and feel to it.

Is Facebook challenging TikTok with BARS?

Facebook’s NPE team has offered BARS as a music content creation platform. BARS is a short music video social media platform.

Moreover, the creators have indicated that aspiring rappers helped create and launch BARS as a closed beta. However, with 60 seconds of video time, BARS is clearly competing with TikTok.

TikTok is one of the most popular short video content social media platforms. After the insane growth of TikTok, nearly every tech and internet giant is trying to come up with a platform that offer the platform’s appeal.

Google’s own search engine, YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram, dozens of copy-cat apps, etc. are now offering short video content creation and sharing. Facebook’s BARS is clearly an attempt to adopt TikTok’s biggest market: rising musicians who mainly have social media to create and distribute their content.

Interestingly, BARS resembles TikTok in terms of its user interface as well. It has a two-tabbed vertical video interface. Instead of TikTok’s “Following” and “For You,” BARS has “Featured” and “New” feeds.

BARS has the engagement buttons on the lower-right corner of the screen with the creator name on the lower-left. TikTok has the same arrangement.

Instead of TikTok’s “Heart”, BARS has “Fire”. Viewers can tap the Fire emoji multiple times. Scrolling is obviously vertical. However, the BARS app has placed the important “Follow” button under the top-right three-dot menu.

The new platform is now in closed beta with an invite-only method for accepting content creators. The platform already has some content from NPE Team members, which includes aspiring rappers, former music producers, and publishers.

Facebook users in the U.S, and that too using iOS iPhone, will have first access, as the social media giant is opening access to BARS invites in batches. The company will offer updates and news about invites through Instagram.

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