The short-video space is well and truly heating up, with TikTok’s growth inspiring competition from Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and other services, not to mention the plethora of short-video startups in India scrapping for attention.
Music has been key to this sector right from the start, so our industry is following all this with keen interest. The latest development is news of Meta’s grand ambitions for the Reels feature that began on Instagram, but is now crossing over to its other services. Facebook included.
Reels have been on Facebook for a while, but this week the feature is rolling out in more than 150 countries in the social network’s iOS and Android apps. And this being Facebook, ads are going to be a key part of the rollout: banner and sticker ads that can be placed as overlays on Reel videos, with the video creators earning a share of the revenues.
Meta is also running a ‘Reels Play bonus program’ that pays people up to $35k a month if their videos are popular enough, and will soon begin testing Facebook’s ‘Stars’ tipping feature for Reels on Facebook too. Meanwhile, Reels will now be promoted in more places across Facebook: in its feed, in its video-focused Watch tab, and in its stories section.
New creation features like remixes, a longer 60-second maximum length, and tools to ‘clip’ video from longer videos to create Reels only emphasise the hyper-competitive nature of the short-video space in 2022. Meta’s services, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and the rest are adding new features and ways to earn money (creator funds included) at a rapid pace to try to gain an edge on one another.
With music licensing deals underpinning all this, the competition should be good for rightsholders and musicians, although there is also a lively debate to be had about how transparent these deals are, in terms of knowing exactly what music is being used, and dividing the royalties paid by these services fairly between musicians.
That said, musicians are short-video creators too, so the blitz of activity around turning views into revenues – whether that be from ads or tips economies – could also be a positive trend. Concerns remain about the potential ‘Content Burnout’ for musicians trying to be across all the platforms, but Meta’s push for Reels should at least make its format more appealing to explore.