Short-form video app YouTube Shorts has expanded its beta version into 100 countries where YouTube is available.
The TikTok rival app lets users create short, catchy videos from their mobile phones, and will be available to everyone in South Africa from 14 July. It was first launched as a pilot in India in September, where TikTok is banned. The app was rolled out in the US in March and in Canada, Latin America and the UK in June.
YouTube says it will add a new set of features on Shorts to existing and new markets, and plans to launch more tools aimed at creators and artists.
Users will have the ability to add text to specific points in a video, automatically add captions, add basic filters and clips from a phone’s gallery to recordings made with the Shorts camera, and sample audio from other Shorts and videos across YouTube.
“We want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts,” YouTube Shorts global product manager Todd Sherman said. “As we continue to build Shorts alongside our creators and artists, we’ll be adding more features for users to try.”
The Google-owned company currently boasts more than 2 billion logged-in users playing music on its service every month. Since Shorts was launched, it has partnered with 250 labels and publishers, including Universal Music Group’s labels and publishing companies, Warner Music Group, Warner Chappell Music and Sony Music Entertainment and Publishing.
At the launch in the US, YouTube’s global head of music, Lyor Cohen, said: “YouTube has helped artists from all generations showcase their catalogue of work for music fans around the world. YouTube Shorts is the next big frontier of a fast-growing platform that is centred on connecting artists and fans, around the love of music. I’m excited to watch the creativity of the YouTube community remix old favourites into new ones while discovering new music from artists they will undoubtedly end up loving.”
A recent report published by analytics company App Annie revealed that as of May 2021 TikTok had surpassed YouTube in the US and UK for average time spent per user, per month.
The news follows a recent deal between Shorts and DIY distribution platform TuneCore and its Paris-based parent company Believe, which have partnered with YouTube to provide music for Shorts.
TikTok recently enabled users to create videos of up to three minutes in length, up from 60 seconds. Meanwhile, YouTube has been exploring various ways to monetise Shorts and reward creators for their content, including its recently announced $100m Shorts Fund, which will be distributed over the course of 2021-22.