YouTube Shorts seeks to wound TikTok with a new path to music discovery

TikTok is by far the hottest social media platform out there, so competitors like TikTok, SnapChat, and YouTube are paying close attention. While Instagram seems to have bet the farm on their Reels feature, YouTube is pushing Shorts, something that’s growing fast and being aided by the participation of musicians.

If you don’t know, Shorts, is very much TikTok-like: shortform bite-sized video. According to YouTube, they’re up to 30 billion(!!!) daily views coming from 1.5 billion monthly users. A big boost is coming from artists like BTS, Ed Sheeran, and Blackpink.

The next step is something called Sounds on Shorts. There’s a button at the bottom of every Shorts video that tells you which other clips are using the same audio. If there’s music involved, you can visit a “sound pivot page” to learn more. You can then create a “Sounds from Shorts” playlist, which is a compilation of all those songs you can listen to later. The idea is to drive Shorts users into the realm of music discovery.

This theoretically should work. We know how a song can go viral thanks to an appearance in a TikTok video. But with TikTok, you have to leave the app and go to a streaming music service to hear the full song. With the new YouTube Shorts features, you can hear the full song without leaving that ecosystem. Discovery comes faster and with less friction.

Meanwhile, TikTok is said to be launching its down streaming music service so it can capitalize on music virality. We’ll see how this works.

(With notes from Music Ally)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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