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Youtube’s Shorts were created to compete with the appeal of TikTok’s shorter video format. Undoubtedly, one TikToks other great strengths is the ability to sample audio from the videos of other users. The audio pilfering helps the algorithm suggest related content and is the perfect breeding ground for meme generation and sharing. So it should come as no surprise that YouTube intends to expand its Shorts features. Following in the footsteps of its rivals allowing users to sample sounds from any YouTube content.

As James Vincent reported at The Verge, rumors of the coming feature was disclosed last month by Youtube in a Google community support post. But now it is official. The feature will be available within the expansion of Shorts due to launch in the UK, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela. The current US Shorts market will then get an updated rollout of YouTube’s new audio-sampling tool in the weeks to come.

Shorts videos using the audio sample will contain the link to the original source.
Shorts videos using the audio sample will contain the link to the original source. Image credit: youtube.com

At present, you can sample audio and sounds from a library of licensed music or pinch it from other Shorts videos. The new update will give users access to all YouTube platform content giving endless possibilities and allowing creativity to flow. A new “Create” button within the mobile app below the like and dislike buttons will funnel users to content to create from. A simple click will let users’ sample the video audio. You will also be able to head back to the original YouTube source with the touch of a button as well. 

This feature will allow long-form creators “to benefit by allowing the community to find something interesting in their video,” YouTube’s product lead for Shorts, Todd Sherman, tells The Verge. Shorts users can create something with the sample audio, he says, and the creators of the audio will “get perhaps inbound traffic or exposure from that. From the long-form creator perspective, I think a lot of folks are excited to have their things remixed.”

Though many are excited about the new feature, some original content creators are not entirely happy that their content can now be taken from them and shared so easily. Many YouTubers have noticed a new check-box has appeared when they upload content to their channels. In the settings, the box lets you decide if Shorts users can access your content for audio sampling by way of preparation for the new feature. It is a grey area and at the end of the day, the creators can decide. But many are already taking to their channels to complain. A quick search for YouTube Shorts permissions brings up a whole host of videos with creators expressing their concerns and contempt.  Some with titles such as “YouTube legalized video stealing?” which gives you a pretty good idea of their stance.

The permissions box appeared before the audio sampling became an available tool and for the time being, it has to be manually unticked for all content individually. According to The Verge, YouTube is already busy working on a bulk opt-out method to come in the future.

As the sampling feature is opt-out as opposed to opt-in all YouTube videos are able to be sampled by default, Creators will have to specify any videos that they don’t want to be used by Shorts’ uploaders. This could create problems when it comes to older footage, and forgotten accounts. Over the years many people have uploaded sensitive and personal content to their YouTube channels. Things have also been shared on other channels by people who were not the original poster. YouTube is purportedly aware of potential issues but remains sure that opt-out is the best way forward. They are pretty excited about the rollout of the new feature in spite of concerns. “There is some concern about examples of videos that you might think are personal or sensitive and that’s why creators have asked for the ability to opt-out. But they also seem to recognize that it sort of doesn’t work if it’s very selectively an opt-in,” he says.

Shorts was originally launched in India last September before it hit the US market in March. YoutTube recently announced plans to pay for content creation to get the platform rolling to a point where it can thrive. With a budget of $100 million to be paid directly to creators that use the app.  However, individual earnings can only be speculated about for now. But who knows?

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