YouTube’s TikTok-style Shorts feature is growing rapidly: up to 30bn daily views and 1.5 billion monthly viewers according to the company’s latest stats. Musicians have played a prominent role in YouTube’s marketing efforts for Shorts so far: Blackpink, Ed Sheeran and BTS for example.
Now YouTube is forging a deeper link between Shorts and its YouTube Music service with a feature called ‘Sounds on Shorts’. It’s a button at the bottom of every Shorts video that shows viewers other clips using the same audio. If it’s music, they can also visit a ‘sound pivot page’ to see what the track is and who it’s by.
What’s new is a playlist called ‘Sounds from Shorts’ to which viewers can now add those tracks for later listening. It works the other way too: YouTube Music users can manually add tracks to the playlist so they’re available to use in their Shorts clips later.
However, it’s really the discovery piece that YouTube is highlighting around all this, and that’s important. The music industry is already well aware of the direct link between TikTok virality and plays on streaming service. Except it’s not a link, as such: people have to come out of TikTok, fire up their music-streaming app of choice, and then search and save a track to their libraries or playlists.
YouTube’s pitch is that because it owns both a short-video service and a music streaming service, it can reduce the friction and make this discovery dynamic even more powerful. However, with rumours still buzzing about the potential for TikTok to launch its own sister music-streaming service, this may not always be a unique selling point.
Still, it’s another sign that YouTube has a firm focus on making Shorts work for artists and the music industry. In his blog post earlier this week announcing YouTube’s latest payout milestone, its music boss Lyor Cohen also noted that “we’re creating long-term monetization solutions for Shorts, and we’ll have more to share on this soon” with the industry.
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