YouTube Shorts, a short-video product designed for the market dominated by TikTok, is now being rolled out in beta form across the US and will be available to everybody in the country over the next several weeks.
The product, announced back in September, will offer a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones, the company said while announcing the beta launch on its blog.
“Starting today and over the next several weeks, we’ll gradually expand our Shorts beta to the U.S. We plan to introduce more features as we continue to build Shorts alongside creators and artists,” the blog posted on March 18, 2021, read.
The soft launch comes after several months of pilot in India. YouTube said the number of Indian channels using Shorts has more than tripled since December. According to the company, YouTube Shorts player has now surpassed 6.5 billion daily views globally.
The beta product trialled in India had foundational creation tools such as a multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together, the ability to record with music, and control speed settings. YouTube said it is now brining more features to Shorts as part of the beta launch in US, including the ability to add text to specific points in video and an option to sample audio from other Shorts so users can remix it into their own creation.
Users will be allowed to use audio from videos across YouTube in the coming months, which will open up a trove of billions of videos to users. “This means you can give your own creative spin on the content you love to watch on YouTube and help find it a new audience — whether it’s reacting to your favourite jokes, trying your hand at a creator’s latest recipe, or re-enacting comedic skits,” the blog post said. Creators will have the power to opt out if they don’t want their long form video remixed.
For the beta launch in the US, YouTube have partnered with over 250 music labels and publishers whose songs are now available to be used in Shorts videos. These include Universal Music Group’s labels and publishing companies, Sony Music Entertainment and Publishing, Warner Music Group and Warner Chappell Music, Believe, Merlin, 300 Entertainment, Kobalt, Beggars, Empire, OneRPM and more.
To increase the visibility for creators, the Google-owned company has introduced a row on the YouTube homepage for Shorts where users can swipe vertically from one video to the next. YouTube is also testing adding a tab on mobile that makes it easier for users to watch Shorts with a single tap.
It is working on Shorts content integration with YouTube content wherein users will be able to find the full video of Shorts on YouTube and vice versa easily. On YouTube, there will be a single button to use a particular audio for Shorts video creation or explore how others have used it on Shorts.
“As more people create and watch Shorts, we expect that our systems will get even better, improving our ability to help you discover new content, trends, and creators you’ll love,” YouTube said.
The company said it has paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies in the last three years and is currently exploring monetisation options for Shorts creators.
“Shorts is a new way to watch and create on YouTube, so we’re taking a fresh look at what it means to monetize Shorts and reward creators for their content. We are deeply committed to supporting the next generation of mobile creators with Shorts, and are actively working on what monetization options will look like in the future.” It said.