As explained by Facebook's NPE team:
"Since May we’ve been building our experimental app, Collab, with a group of music enthusiasts, so they could make music together when they couldn’t physically be together. Now, as we hunker down at home for the holidays amid a pandemic that continues to keep us apart, we invite you to come make music with us. Starting today people in the US can download Collab for iOS from the App Store."
As noted, Collab is one of the various experimental apps released by Facebook's NPE - or 'New Product Experimentation' - team. The NPE team tracks usage insights and trends, then looks to create apps which align with them, in order to, hopefully, build the next Snapchat or TikTok before somebody else can.
In this way, Facebook could lead the charge on the next big social media shift, without having to either buy a competitor or copy their functionality. Those actions have lead to the company being subject to several antitrust investigations, including a new one launched just last week by a coatition of 46 US attorneys general and the FTC.
If Facebook could tap into the next big thing before anybody else, it could avoid many headaches, which is pretty much what the NPE team is designed to do.
As you can see from the above example, Collab is a sort of TikTok for musicians, enabling users to mix together 15-second video clips, in order to, essentially, create new music. Users are able to upload their own short recordings, or they can swipe through to discover existing clips, then put them together to form new compositions.
That seems more niche than TikTok, but you can also imagine that many wannabe producers will be keen to try and put together new sounds based on clips they find in the app.
Which could then lead to copyright headaches, if someone wanted to try and use the clips they find in an actual track. The length limit could reduce copyright concerns, but you can see it leading to some issues for musicians in future, now that the platform is open to all US users.
But still, it's an interesting experiment, and the NPE team clearly believes it has potential. Otherwise they would have just cut it, as they have with some of their other test apps.
US users can find out for themselves by downloading Collab today on iOS.