YouTube ‘Shorts’ to rival TikTok

The new 'Shorts' feature will reportedly be available in mobile apps by end of this year.

YouTube is working on a feature, called ‘Shorts’, that will allow users to make short videos like TikTok – a video-sharing app by China-based ByteDance. The ‘Shorts’ are expected to be a part of the YouTube mobile apps that will be available by the end of 2020. 

Shorts will let people make short videos, like TikTok. The user would be allowed to add soundtracks by selecting licensed content from the extensive music catalog of YouTube. On the other hand, TikTok, a user-generated content app, lets people choose audio or music from the available library which it maintains by striking deals with music labels and indie artists.

“YouTube is currently planning Shorts, its answer to TikTok, as a feature inside its existing mobile app. Shorts will include a feed of brief videos posted by users inside the Google-owned app and will take advantage of the video service’s catalog of licensed music, songs from which will be available to use as soundtracks for the videos created by users,” Alex Heath, a reporter at The Information, said in a statement after investigating it from two people familiar with the matter.

Dylan Byers, a senior media reporter at NBC News, has also confirmed the news on Twitter. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, also acknowledged the information in a podcast with Byer that will be on air later this month.

“Really short-form video, like 15 seconds… that is a place that is certainly interesting to look at, and for us to think. We have introduced stories on YouTube, and we’ve seen our creators engage with the stories. That would be an example of really short-form content. So we will continue to innovate in all the different format sizes, including really short-form video,” Byers quoted Wojcicki.


TikTok was launched back in 2016 by a Chinese tech company called ByteDance Ltd. It was named as Douyin. The app got boost globally when in 2018 ByteDance acquired a similar popular app musical.ly and launched Douyin as TikTok worldwide. Today, TikTok has reached 800 million monthly active users, and last year it was downloaded approximately 738 million times from the App Store and Play Store. A recent report affirmed that TikTok made $177 million in revenue in 2019, which was five times more than their 2018 revenue. 

sensor tower tiktok revenue

With such growth statistics, Google’s YouTube now plans to compete with TikTok by introducing the ‘Shorts’. It’s not the first time that YouTube made a competitive change. Before that, it also added a Snapchat Story like feature in its app that allows users to post Stories that will expire in 7 days. It is unsure YouTube Shorts will replace YouTube Stories, or it will be an addition on the largest video sharing platform to create short videos. Google was also reported to acquire Firework, a video-sharing startup, back in 2019 to counter the viral TikTok app. Later, we did not hear any further.

sensor tower tiktok installs

Instagram Reels, Vine, Byte, Triller

Besides YouTube, many other social media platforms are also attempting to take on TikTok. Unfortunately, none of them so far able to gain as much popularity as TikTok. 

Facebook released Lasso back in 2018, which was not able to get much attention. Facebook recently has seen regretting its thoughts on TikTok, when Mark Zuckerberg said it [TikTok] is almost like the Explore Tab for stories that it has on Instagram. However quickly realizing, Facebook Inc has announced Instagram Reels short video app with remixing tools, something we view as heavily copied from TikTok. Instagram Reels has got limited released in November in Brazil.

The once-popular Vine app founder Dom Hofmann produced a new successor app called Byte and released it at the beginning of 2020, but it has not yet achieved much success to compete with TikTok. Another entertainment platform Triller is also getting into partnership with major music labels. 

The battle to compete TikTok now seems to be interesting. It will be fun to see how YouTube incorporates Shorts, as well as how the new short video sharing apps boom goes on. Maybe it has to strategize a way to keep the balance between long-form and short-form videos.

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Featured image: Getty

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