Facebook Bars
Credits: Facebook NPE

Rappers and creators, rejoice! Facebook has announced that it’s NPE team will launch a new app called Facebook BARS to give creators and viewers a new platform to create and enjoy content, especially raps, in various formats. This move comes in light of Facebook’s efforts to take on TikTok, the popular Chinese short-video-making platform.

Using the new app, users will be able to post and share videos of them rapping over beats that are provided by the app itself (much like TikTok). Available on the Apple App Store in the US, BARS lets its users create short 60-second videos and post them on a vertical scrolling feed (again, like TikTok) where people can watch it and mark it as “fire,” –the BARS equivalent of “likes.”

BARS is created for would-be rappers to focus on and experiment with the content, “rather than investing heavily in equipment and production”. The app promises “studio-quality vocal effects,” including actual Auto-Tune. According to reports, the app also promises an auto-rhyme dictionary for those who mark themselves as “beginners” in the app’s sign-up page. For those who choose the ‘Advanced’ level, Bars promises a Freestyle mode, which gives users eight random words to work into a 16-bar rap.

“Audio production tools can be complicated, expensive, and difficult to use. With BARS, you can select one of our professionally-created beats, write lyrics and record yourself dropping bars,” Facebook said in a statement on Friday. “BARS auto-suggests rhymes as you’re writing to keep your flow going. You can also jump into Challenge mode and freestyle with auto-suggested word cues. Choose from a variety of audio and visual filters to take your creations to the next level,” they added.

BARS, created by Facebook’s internal R&D group, the New Product Experimentation (NPE), is the second launch by the NPE team in the music realm, coming after the debut of music video app Collab in 2020.

And in case it has not been made clear enough already, the app’s user interface is strikingly similar to TikTok’s. It is a two-tabbed vertical video interface — “Featured” and “New” feeds instead of TikTok’s “Following” and “For You.” BARS also places the engagement buttons on the lower-right corner of the screen with the creator name on the lower-left.

The creation of BARS was further fueled by the pandemic, which shut down access to live music where rappers could experiment. NPE Team member DJ Tyler, said, “I know access to high-priced recording studios and production equipment can be limited for aspiring rappers. On top of that, the global pandemic shut down live performances where we often create and share our work.”

If users are excited to try this new app at once, they will be disappointed. The app was launched today into closed beta and is unavailable for Indian users at the moment. However, Facebook said that it would open up invites in batches for the app, starting in the US.