As YouTube, a longtime destination for lengthier videos, looked to satisfy users’ desire for short-form video and observed social platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat rolling out their own copycat TikTok features, YouTube began rolling out Shorts in India in September 2020, where it began surpassing 6.5 billion daily views. In March 2021, YouTube brought Shorts to the U.S. According to exclusive data from Tubular Labs, views for short YouTube videos increased by 153% from January to the beginning of August.
Shorts’ popularity and audience has only grown since then. Now that the feature is available in more than 100 countries, its videos are exceeding 15 billion daily views, said Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer at Google’s parent company Alphabet, on the company’s second-quarter earnings at the end of July.
In May, YouTube announced a $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund to monetize creators and entice them to use the new format using original content, with thousands of creators eligible to claim payments, ranging from $100 to $10,000 based on viewership and engagement, every month. The fun began last week, and creators will begin receiving their first payouts this month.
For YouTube Shorts’ first major global campaign, it’s no surprise that the platform is highlighting the popular music available to users. YouTube has long been known as the top internet source to follow artists and watch their latest music videos. YouTube has licensing agreements with industry heavyweights such as Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music and others and have long celebrated musicians as a core part of its platform. It’s Shorts feature continues to celebrate those artists.
"With Shorts, we are focused on building another valuable way for artists to grow their audience and reach new fans on YouTube," says Ropert.
Conversely, as TikTok matured in the U.S. market, the app had its own struggles around music licensing, even to the point where the National Music Publishers’ Association threatened to sue it over copyright infringement, that is, before forming its own deal with the app. Still, TikTok users can also create videos to the popular tunes from all artists highlighted in YouTube’s new Shorts campaign, as the app now has deals in place with many of the same companies that YouTube does, such as Universal Music Group and Sony.