photo: Phil Desforges

Instagram has rolled out a series of new features for its Stories format, making it easier to share music recommendations and set up countdown timers.

Music is now getting a deeper integration into Instagram.

Now, the question sticker can now be used to respond to questions with music.  Tapping a response will play the song.  Users can choose to share a song or their own story.

When choosing to share a song, the app opens the camera for the user to take a picture or video with music in the background. Some new camera effects have been added that respond to the music that is playing.

The official Instagram blog says question stickers are an attempt to organize Q&A interactions better.  Quests can easily get lost in chaotic stream chat, but now questions will be shown on screen for all viewers.

Questions can be asked during the Live video and askers can share photos and video from their camera roll to live video as it streams.

These new features should help with interactive streams where audience participation is encouraged.

Aside from the new music sharing features, Instagram finally added a countdown sticker to the app. Friends can tap the countdown to follow it or share their own stories, or receive notifications when the countdown ends.

Instagram’s new focus on incorporating music into the app may be an attempt to edge out TikTok.

Facebook already launched a TikTok competitor called Lasso, but many of the features in that app may make its way over to Instagram in the future.  Instagram Stories itself is a rip-off of Snapchat’s Story feature.

Instagram seems to be where all of Facebook’s stolen ideas end up as an amalgamation of several different apps.  The ability to share music is stepping into TikTok’s territory only slightly, but expect more features from TikTok to appear soon.

The updated app is now available on the App Store and Google Play.