Microsoft today announced that Skype will be releasing 10 new Mojis — short, small video clips featuring audio — packing musical snippets from former Beatles band member Paul McCartney.
This builds on Skype’s introduction of Mojis in September, for which it relied on content from partners like BBC, The Muppets, and Universal Studios.
Some of the 10 new Mojis, which are arriving in time for Valentine’s Day on Sunday, are a bit risqué. One shows a smiling octopus holding out furry handcuffs, in addition to flowers, a wine bottle, and a heart-shaped box. In another Moji, a banana slowly peels itself, and the face inside raises its eyebrows suggestively.
“You can imagine how you might share these in a group with someone you love or someone you might be interested in,” Skype group product manager Steven Abrahams said during a press briefing at Skype’s office in Palo Alto, California, earlier this week.
Mojis give Skype something a bit different from other messaging apps. Visually they do look a little like the animated stickers in messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or Line, but audio adds flair to the Mojis. Those developed with McCartney incorporate multiple instruments and are the result of considerable experimentation from one of the world’s most famous musicians.
Skype’s foray into the music world to enhance its Mojis follows an earlier effort to bring in Bollywood movie clips, and it does prompt a question: Will Microsoft be pushing to get more big names to debut original work on Skype, now that major musicians are taking to Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps when they’re ready to share their latest work?
It’s not as if McCartney had no choice but to turn to Skype in order to package his sounds in new ways. On Twitter, McCartney has 2.67 million followers, and he has 6 million likes on Facebook. His followers on those social networks would surely have appreciated the gesture.
“We would love to partner with more artists,” Abrahams said. “We are exploring in multiple directions.”
The Skype app has gotten more than 900 million iOS and Android downloads, and users have already sent more than 500 million Mojis through the app, Abrahams said.
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