Instagram introduces music for photo carousels and more

Instagram announced that it will allow users to add music to their photo carousels, bringing an audio-visual blend to users’ feeds and allowing them to flaunt their musical preferences.

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Pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo took centre stage in showcasing this feature. She uploaded a photo carousel paired with her new single “bad idea right?”, giving her fans not just a visual, but an auditory treat as well.

This musical venture follows another recent innovation by Instagram introduced in June, where users were given the ability to share snippets of the tracks they were listening to via the Instagram Notes feature.

Collaboration seems to be a theme for Instagram this season. The platform is extending its collaborative potential by allowing users to co-create a post or a Reel with up to three friends. These multi-authored posts and reels will be visible to the collective audience of all collaborators. This collaborative tool, termed the “Collabs” feature, isn’t entirely new; it was first piloted in 2021 after an initial global test.

Instagram has also given a facelift to its “Add Yours” sticker feature which debuted in 2021. Now, it’s poised to engage users in challenges or hashtag-driven content. Creators can spotlight reels made by their followers. These highlighted reels carry a “Creator pick” label and become visible when other users tap on the creator’s “Add Yours” stickers. To encourage participation, a message urges users to “Create a Reel with this prompt for a chance to be chosen as a creator pick.” Creators can choose up to 10 reels linked to a specific sticker. Those selected will be notified of their content’s special recognition.

Parent company, Meta, is evidently ramping up engagement efforts for reels. As per Mark Zuckerberg, reels skyrocketed to 200 billion daily plays and achieved a revenue run rate of $10 billion, as he noted in last month’s Q2 2023 earnings call.

However, there’s more to Instagram’s evolving dynamics than meets the eye. Last year saw a pronounced emphasis on videos by the platform. By June, the declaration was made that “Video posts are now shared as Reels.” But, this move was met with criticism, especially from celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s head, assured in a reel that photos would remain integral to the platform, claiming it’s “part of our heritage.”

Despite such reassurances, it’s clear Instagram is steadily distancing itself from its primary identity as a “photo-sharing app”. The integration of music with photos is just one of its many experiments, signifying a keen interest in multimedia content.

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