Dubsmash Logo

Anyone Else Remember Dubsmash?

I remember back when I was in high school and Dubsmash was the big app on the rise. This app, first developed in Germany in 2014, allowed users to video themselves lip syncing to audio clips from movies, TV shows, or other sources. By 2015, 50 million people had downloaded it. I probably still have Dubs from back in the day saved on a hard drive somewhere that me or my friends made. If I did save those videos, I can promise you they will never see the light of day.

The point is, how did this app not catch on while TikTok exploded in popularity? It’s a good question, especially considering that Dubsmash allowed you to do pretty much the same thing people do on TikTok except five years earlier. Even in retrospect, it’s hard to say why some things catch on and others don’t, but there’s probably a couple reasons the earlier app fell by the wayside.

Why Did Dubsmash Fall Behind?

For one, Dubsmash didn’t really innovate. Early on, the layout was super rudimentary and there wasn’t really a feed feature from what I remember. Nowadays, it’s basically the exact same layout as TikTok, which just goes to show that it wasn’t the one pushing the boundaries for the lip syncing apps.

Secondly, TikTok grew out of Musical.ly, which was specifically geared towards making music videos. I think the appeal of lip syncing to music allowed TikTok to gain a much larger following that they could carry over into their rebrand while Dubsmash never had such a focus.

In 2019, Dubsmash suffered a massive data breach that also served to set them back relative to other apps in the same sphere. They were purchased by Reddit in 2020, and are still on the App Store today. This isn’t an ad or anything. I just think it’s interesting to reminisce on a random phase from high school that was very distinct yet died out within a couple years.


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