YouTube’s TikTok competitor reaches the US

Youtube has started the US Beta for its TikTok competitor, Youtube Shorts. The short-form video format was first announced in September last year.

YouTube is introducing the beta for its new mobile-first short-form content player, YouTube Shorts, to the US, following the success of an initial beta in India. With a new suite of editing tools that are designed for mobile, the platform saw Indian creators garner more than 6.5 billion daily views on new short-form content. 


YouTube Shorts has a suite of new, mobile-first creative tools. Image supplied.

YouTube Shorts comes with a suite of new creative tools functioning similarly to Instagram Reels. The new creative suite includes a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, and the ability to record with music and control speed settings. These creative tools are still in development throughout the beta, and the US rollout will include the ability to add text to specific points in your video, and sampling audio from other YouTube Shorts, two video editing staples of popular video social media platform, TikTok.

YouTube as a platform is notoriously strict on copyright, with creators reporting copyright claims from even brief samples and background music threatening to torpedo whole videos, or even entire channels. Even a single copyright strike can affect a creator’s ability to monetize their videos, and limit their ability to livestream on the platform for ninety days or more. This runs counter to Tiktok’s highly social, sample-heavy creative model – and it’s something the company is grappling with in developing YouTube Shorts.


READ: Like, Comment, Subscribe: Australian TikTok creators talk about engagement

 YouTube has announced that it is working alongside music partners to provide artists and creators with a significant library of songs to use in their Shorts. The US beta is launching with music from over 250 labels and publishers, including Universal Music Group’s labels and publishing companies, Sony Music Entertainment and Publishing, Warner Music Group and more. 

In the latest beta, creators can also use audio from any of the literally billions of existing Youtube videos, offering creators the opinion to opt out, rather than opt in, to having the long-form video content remixed. 

Some popular YouTube channels and have made bank through sponsorships and Google Adsense. However, monetisation options for YouTube shorts are still in discussion. YouTube’s statement explained: ‘We are deeply committed to supporting the next generation of mobile creators with Shorts, and are actively working on what monetisation options will look like in the future.’

The Australian release date for YouTube shorts is yet to be announced.

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob