YouTube’s TikTok rival, YouTube Shorts, arrives within the US – TechCrunch
YouTube Shorts, the company’s short-form video experience and TikTok rival, launches in the United States today. This feature allows developers to record, edit, and share short-form video content 60 seconds or less in length, optionally set to popular music. To start with, YouTube has contracts with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Warner Chappell Music, Believe, Merlin, 300 Entertainment, Kobalt, Beggar, CD-Baby, Empire, Peer, Reservoir, OneRPM and others.
Worldwide, YouTube has agreements with over 250 publishers and labels for use in the shorts product.
The YouTube Shorts product itself was first launched in September and has been beta tested in India for the past few months. Since then, acceptance has tripled.
Although you may already have come across the YouTube Shorts shelf on the YouTube home page, the ability to create YouTube Shorts videos has not been available in the US to this day.
The experience of filming content for YouTube short films is very similar to TikTok.
Developers have access to tools that allow them to stop and start short segments of video with a tap of a finger, similar to the leading short-form app. You can also choose the background music or the sound of the video and use a small handful of in-app editing features. These include speed controls at startup to slow down or speed up the audio, a countdown timer, text timing features that allow text to appear on the screen at specific times, and color adjustment filters shortly after startup.
While YouTube Shorts has a nifty tool that lets you choose the part of the song you want to use in your video, it lacks the smarter automatic sound syncing feature that TikTok makes so accessible to beginners. Even at launch, YouTube’s product lacks a large catalog of special effects – such as TikTok’s AR functions or green screen options. Instead, like Instagram Reels, the original goal of shorts is to simply lower the barrier to entry for users who want to create and post short-form video content on an existing social platform.
On the observer side, the TikTok comparisons are even more obvious.
Currently, the experience can be launched via the YouTube Shorts shelf on the YouTube homepage, which has already been live in some markets, and will soon be launched via a dedicated Shorts tab in the YouTube mobile app.
Once launched, it will take you to a familiar full-screen vertical video experience where you can double-tap to like a video, tap the comments, or share the video with others. You can also subscribe to the shorts creator’s YouTube channel if you find its content interesting.
You can also tap hashtags on YouTube shorts to go to a page with other videos with the same hashtag. (This, to be clear, is separate from the other recently announced YouTube hashtag pages that host both lengthy and short form content.)
As with TikTok, you can tap the music icon – a square icon in YouTube Shorts, not a spinning recording like TikTok does – to go to a page with the same sound. This is where you can find all of the other shorts that use this sound and have the option to do the same.
This “sound” can be a clip from a popular song, original audio, or what YouTube calls a “remix”. The latter refers to how shorts creators can take samples from other shorts videos to create their own sounds. And in the coming months, the company will expand this remixing capability to billions of longer-form videos from YouTube. YouTube creators can choose to turn off remixing of their original audio for shorts clips. By doing this, however, they may be able to limit themselves to finding a new audience.
YouTube suggests that developers could remix videos to show, among other things, how they react to their favorite jokes, try a YouTuber recipe, or act out a comedic sketch.
Since its launch in India, the YouTube Shorts player has had 6.5 billion views per day worldwide. However, YouTube wouldn’t say how many developers have adopted the product and how many short videos have been produced. However, the Indian market is not representative of how shorts could play in the US, as the country banned TikTok last year, which has helped improve other short-form video apps.
Of course, YouTube isn’t the first social platform TikTok copies. Instagram and Snapchat did the same thing with Reels and Spotlight, respectively. In the case of YouTube, however, it is even more important to provide short video support to stay relevant in a market where TikTok has become one of the most downloaded mobile apps and a preferred tool for watching video content on mobile devices.
“I think short films and short videos feel like a natural evolution for YouTube,” said Todd Sherman, YouTube, product director for YouTube shorts. “We are the video platform originally created by users. And that was really based on videos made on the desktop – digital cameras, desktop computers, and video editing software. Now we are very interested in taking a step forward in this new world of video that is really typical of the phone, ”he says. “And it’s really important that we build this in partnership with the creative community … and in a broader sense, so do audiences and our partners in the music industry,” added Sherman.
The YouTube Shorts product continues to be considered a beta version as YouTube expects it to repeat the Shorts experience over time and respond to user feedback as new features are developed.
In the long run, YouTube believes that its connection to the larger YouTube platform will set Shorts apart from others in the market.
“There’s a two-way door here that we’re building a short-form video ecosystem on,” Sherman explains. “In the foreseeable future, you can take a step forward in YouTube or even YouTube Music. And then you can initiate the creation of shorts from YouTube too. This bridging of ecosystems is, in my opinion, an important part of it, ”he adds.
So far, however, TikTok competitors have often seen developers simply repurposing their TikTok videos for use on other platforms – rather than developing original content for each of the three areas: TikTok, Reels, and Spotlight.
YouTube Shorts’ video creation tools will be available to US users starting today and will be rolled out to all US over the next few weeks, the company said.