Following through on a plan announced last month, YouTube Shorts has launched in beta in the U.S.
The launch of the short-form answer to TikTok begins today and will reach the entire country over the next few weeks.
In a blog post, Shorts product lead Todd Sherman noted progress in India, where the platform launched last year. The number of Indian channels using Shorts creation tools, he said, has more than tripled since the beginning of December. The YouTube Shorts player has racked up 6.5 billion daily views globally.
Established tech companies have been mounting responses to the spectacular and sudden rise of TikTok over the past couple of years. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is privately held and has released only limited data on its users. But legal documents during its battle with the Trump administration revealed that TikTok’s active user base grew from 11.2 million to more than 100 million between 2018 and 2020. Facebook-owned Instagram has launched its own short-form platform, Reels.
Music, a specialty for YouTube, will be a centerpiece of Shorts. Sherman said U.S. creators will have access to millions of songs from more than 250 labels and publishers, including majors like Universal, Sony and Warner.
The short-form platform will be integrated into the overall YouTube experience, the company said. If a user hears a music clip and wants to hear the full track, for example, they will be able to navigate to it on YouTube. The YouTube home page will also have a dedicated row of Shorts.
There is no indication of the length of the beta period or the road map for the rollout from here, but the blog post affirmed a long-term commitment.
“We know that it will take us time to get this right, and we’re just getting started,” Sherman said. As Shorts continues to expand and more short-form videos are created, he added, “we expect that our systems will get even better.”
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