YouTube used to be the cool kid on the block, but then TikTok showed up and everything changed. Now, YouTube is looking to compete directly with the short-form, user-generated content app by reportedly launching its own version called “Shorts.”
Shorts will allow people to upload brief videos into a feed inside the mobile app, much like TikTok, and take advantage of licensed music that YouTube Music has in its catalog, according to The Information. Those songs can be used within the videos. TikTok operates by letting people choose from a selection of audio, music and otherwise, and create videos using those sounds. MSNBC’s Dylan Byers added additional confirmation on Twitter shortly after The Information’s report went live.
Take a look at any state-of-mobile report and it’s pretty obvious why YouTube wants a piece of the action. TikTok saw more than 125 percent in growth over the last two years, according to a January report from App Annie. The app has hundreds of millions of users and is a cultural force. The Information noted that TikTok had approximately 842 million first-time downloads from both Apple and Google’s app stores over the last 12 months — a 15 percent increase year over year.
This isn’t the first time that YouTube has developed its own version of a popular feature on another social platform. YouTube also brought over its version of Instagram Stories to the site. Considering its massive user base (more than 2 billion monthly active users) and its deep music licensing agreements, building a version of TikTok isn’t surprising. Facebook has also developed its own version of TikTok — Lasso — which they’ve been quietly testing in markets like Brazil, according to The Information.