July 15, 2024
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YouTube is introducing the ability for users to incorporate or “remix” a music video in their short-form videos, called Shorts, as the company continues to challenge TikTok. Given that YouTube has something that TikTok doesn’t, which is a vast library of official music videos, it makes sense for the platform to leverage it to advance its short-form video ambitions.

The move is especially significant as it comes a few weeks after Universal Music Group pulled its song catalog from TikTok, removing the ability for users to add music from popular artists like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande in their videos.

There are four tools that Shorts creators can use when remixing a music video on YouTube. The “Collab” tool lets you display the music video right alongside your own video. For instance, the tool lets you create a Short where you are dancing along to the choreography of a music video while having the music video play alongside your own video.

The “Green Screen” tool lets you use the music video as the background to your Short. This format could be used for reaction videos. A lot of people upload videos of them reacting to a new music video for the first time, and this format makes that process easier. The “Cut” tool lets you take a five-second clip of a music video and add it to your short, while the “Sound” tool allows creators to take just the sound from a music video and use it in their Short.

YouTube Shorts' new music video remix capabilities

Image Credits: YouTube

To get started with the feature, you need to go to the music video you want to remix into a Short and tap the “Remix” button and choose one of the four tools. You won’t be able to remix just any music video, as YouTube notes that in some cases, an artist or music label may have opted out of letting Shorts creators remix their music videos.

“On YouTube, you can watch the music video on repeat, check out other Shorts that have been created from the same song by fellow fans, and discover deep catalog cuts from your favorite artists and relive those moments by remixing them as your own,” wrote Sarah Ali, a senior director of product management at YouTube, in a blog post. “All of that can happen in one place and it’s only on YouTube.”

Ali outlines that Shorts is offering a capability that isn’t available on rival products like TikTok and Meta’s Reels, giving it an advantage over its competitors.

Today’s announcement comes a few months after Google revealed that YouTube Shorts has crossed 70 billion daily views. The company previously reported 50 billion daily views back in February 2023. Although the difference in numbers shows healthy growth, daily views on Shorts still lag behind Reels. Meta revealed last October that Reels garnered 140 billion daily views across both social networks.

Meanwhile, YouTube Shorts is still chasing TikTok, which remains arguably the most popular short-form video platform.

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