TikTok is so popular that Instagram are copying them

Instagram are taking inspiration from the world’s latest massive sensation for new features as TikTok takes the world by storm.

TikTok is a viral social media app that has spread like wildfire throughout the world and now has over 1 billion users. The app lets users create videos between 3-10 seconds long and gets millions of views every day on their user uploaded short-form videos.

The Chinese based app Douyin and its Western counterpart TikTok has filled the vine-shaped hole in peoples lives and gone even further with popularity booming across the globe. With the rapid success of short videos, Instagram are eyeing up the trend TikTok has cornered.

The Facebook owned platform has been testing ‘Reels’ in Brazil. Reels are 15-second video clips that creators can set to music and share as Stories. They can be shared even further with a Top Reels section in the Explore page, where Instagram will collect those clips.

The feature sounds very much like TikTok’s entire platform, however it won’t be at the forefront of the Instagram app. Reels can be shared in private with friends by direct message or in a Close Friends group.

It will use Instagram’s library of music to give creators the option of what to play in their video. Music selections will include many of the music uploaded to RouteNote thanks to our partnership with Facebook.

Whilst the feature has debuted on both iOS and Android in Brazil, their Director of Product Management Robby Stein says there are no plans to launch it further yet.

They are also reportedly working on another feature based around in-app editing with music and videos. Other users will be able to take your Scenes and remix them themselves by adjusting the speed, music, timer, even adding AR effects.

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Apple’s TV subscription service may come with Apple Music

In a little less than a month Apple will take on Netflix and Amazon Prime with their TV service and rumours are abound as to how they will corner the market.

On the first of November Apple are set to launch Apple TV+, their latest entertainment offering. Having already cemented themselves as a top player in music streaming in the past 4 years, they are now looking to compete in the video streaming market.

As the launch approaches there is speculation as to what Apple will do to compete with established services like Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video. Reports are suggesting that Apple are looking at the options for bundling Apple TV with their music streaming service Apple Music for a full entertainment bundle.

Apple have reportedly been in talks with the major music labels to explore their options in an entertainment bundle. According to the Financial Times’ report, one of the major labels is opposed to the idea with concerns that it will lose them revenue by devaluing the music offered on their service.

Apple are offering their TV subscription service for $4.99 with a 7-day free trial. A subscription to Apple TV+ will provide access for up to six people to watch from a range of big budget, original TV shows and films.

To entice new viewers and attempt to snatch them away from established video streamers, Apple will be offering 12 months of TV+ for free with new iPhone, iPad and Mac purchases. It’s a sneaky way of immediately cementing a large user-base that could lead to a range of committed fans before they’ve even paid for a month of the service.

It’s worrying when a company has the money to launch a new service and is in a position to gain potentially tens of millions of users without needing them to pay for the service. Video streaming is the next industry for Apple to try and take over, what other entertainment sector will be left for them to push out independent companies and competitors after this?

Social Blade updates channel’s pages as YouTube changes subscriber counts

Social Blade have updated their channel pages as YouTube introduces “abbreviation” of their subscriber numbers.

If you want to know the ins and outs of how any channel on YouTube is performing then Social Blade is the site for you. It allows you to search any channel to view how it’s ranks against other channels in subscribers, video views, performance in it’s category on YouTube and much more.

They have just added country rankings so that you can quickly see exactly how a channel compares to the rest of YouTube creators in their country.

For example now we can see that RouteNote and Outertone artist Tobu is the 3rd biggest channel in his home country of Latvia!

This is an excellent new feature that, with just a glance, helps users to quickly view just how well a channel is performing and its popularity. New graphs in the User Summary section at the top of a channel’s Social Blade page give a great overview of their performance in views and subscribers over the past week.

Social Blade have had to change how some statistics are shown due to a recent change in YouTube’s subscriber counts. After a channel reaches 1,000 subscribers YouTube they will “abbreviate” the public subscriber count.

Social Blade spoke on the change and how it affects their counts, writing: “While we’re not happy that YouTube has chosen to go forward with these changes despite the overwhelming opposition from the community we have adapted the site to support them. We want to thank the community for all of their support over the past few months surrounding this issue and to let you know we’re not going anywhere.”

YouTube want you to film yourself to appeal demonetisation

YouTube are testing a new feature that will let channels immediately appeal against demonetisation by sending YouTube a video.

There are few things more gutting as a YouTube creator than having your video demonetised when it’s raking in the views. YouTube want to help creators in their Partner Program resolve the issue more easily with an interesting new solution that they’re testing, according to an email shared on Reddit and confirmed by YouTube.

YouTube want creators who have been demonetised to send them in a video of themselves explaining their videos and why they feel their video should be allowed monetisation. YouTube’s team will review the video and decide within 7 days whether to re-instate the video’s monetisation or not.

At the moment creators have to wait 30 days in order to re-apply for monetisation after being kicked from the Partner Program. Whilst YouTube are only testing this new appeal process for now it will likely be celebrated by channels on YouTube allowing for a much smoother and more immediate resolution to what is, for some people, a livelihood.

Whilst YouTube may be easing up the appeal process for some creators who lose their partnership, they won’t be extending this hand to “harmful or hateful content”. The testing is only being rolled out to a very small group of creators for the time being anyway.

The testing comes after YouTube updated it’s rules last October to crack down on content they feel was trying to game the system for monetisation. Some creators have found the new measures harsh in its demonetisation of content, particularly when the process of appeal is so long.

This should be a welcome change for creators that is hopefully implemented wider following a successful test.

YouTube’s Super Chat just launched in 19 countries

YouTube’s Super Chat is coming to a whole bunch of new countries for the first time to make live streams even more interactive.

YouTube’s Super Chat was introduced in 2017 to give creators new ways to earn during live streams. The feature allows viewers to tip the streamer as they’re watching and in return their comments will feature more prominently with a colour or will be pinned for a period of time in the chat.

Super Chat comments cost as little as $1 and as much as $500 and can offer a unique way for fans and creators to interact. Users can spend a maximum of $500 a day and $2,000 a week on Super Chat comments. With YouTube Premium users get $2 of Super Chat every month.

It was first launched fairly widely to 40 countries and 2 years later 19 more countries are now being added as part of their first expansion for the feature.

The new countries with YouTube Super Chat are:

Belarus, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Luxembourg, Malta, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, South Africa, and Uruguay.

YouTube are remastering hundreds of iconic music videos

YouTube have teamed up with Universal Music Group to “change the way you see music” for hundreds of videos.

Since the first piece of music got an accompanying video a cultural phenomenon has spread across the world. The art of music videos has come a long way from its TV debut to sitting at our fingertips on smartphones.

YouTube are recognising their importance in the eyes of the music lover and respecting those eyes with high quality upgrades. For hundreds, thousands even, of music videos on YouTube the only version available is a grainy rip straight from the TV feed.

In partnership with major label Universal Music Group, YouTube are updating nearly 1000 music videos with high quality and remastered versions. In the past week they’ve added 100 music videos with new audio and video quality and plane to release new titles each week over the next year.

YouTube’s global head of label relations, Stephen Bryan said: “It’s really an honour to partner with Universal Music Group and change the way fans around the globe will experience viewing some of the most classic and iconic videos. The quality is truly stunning. It’s our goal to ensure that today’s music videos – true works of art – meet the high quality standards that artists’ works deserve and today’s music fans expect.”

The new videos will replace the old videos seamlessly transferring their URL link, view counts, and the videos likes. Videos remastered this week include Billy IdolBeastie BoysBoyz II MenGeorge StraitJanet JacksonKissLady AntebellumLady GagaLionel RichieMaroon 5Meat LoafNo Doubt/Gwen StefaniSmokey RobinsonThe KillersKissTom Petty and more!

Executive vice president of digital strategy at UMG, Michael Nash said: “We’re excited to partner with YouTube to present these iconic music videos in the highest audio and video quality possible. Our recording artists and video directors imbued these videos with so much creativity; it’s great to enable the full experience of their vision and music. These videos not only look amazing on any screen now, they will be enjoyed by music fans for decades to come.”

There will be lots more “remastered” music videos being upgraded over the next year so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

Hilton Hotels the latest major company sued for not licensing music

You’d think the people running one of the biggest hospitality companies in the world would understand simple licenses… It seems not.

Hilton Worldwide are facing a lawsuit after the unlicensed use of music in videos published to their YouTube and Facebook channels. BMG Production Music are behind the lawsuit saying that they warned Hilton they were using music they hadn’t licensed yet they continued to infringe.

BMG Production Music are in the business of creating music specifically for the use in media, for example: a hotel advert. Their New York lawsuit claims that the massive hospitality and hotel company Hilton used several of BMG’s productions without licensing. They were warned and yet continued to use unlicensed music.

The videos in question were posted to Hilton’s YouTube channel and Facebook page as promotions for the company. The videos featured background music from BMG’s almost 250,000 track library which they claim spans “all musical genre”. They report 20 infringing videos from Hilton.

BMG’s complaint reads: “Despite being notified that they were using BMG’s Copyrighted Music and/or Unregistered Music without authorization or license, and despite months of exchanges of correspondence with TuneSat, the Defendants ultimately began willfully and intentionally ignoring TuneSat’s correspondence and continued to use the Copyright Music and Unregistered Music without authorization or license from BMG.”

It’s the latest story to come out of what seems to be a recurring theme; big companies using music without the correct licenses. You’d think companies on the scale of Hilton would have enough money and business-sense to understand that licensing is a legal obligation. So does it come down to a lack of respect for music? Do these companies not see music as having a legitimate legal standing?

Like a few months ago when the biking company Peloton used music from major artists, allegedly without licensing the use of it. In both cases the companies were made aware of the infringement and continued. It seems strangely hard for companies to get around the fact that if you’re profiting from the use of music, the people behind the music either need a cut or to give permission.

BMG are looking for compensation in the way of actual damages ($600,000 estimated) or for $150,000 per infringed piece of content. How many company’s need to lose a major amount of money in a lawsuit before this “mistake” stops happening?

YouTube’s subscription notifications are now better for viewers and creators

The long anguish of YouTube notifications not showing when or what users want has been, in some part, fixed… hopefully.

If it hasn’t happened to you directly, you’ve no doubt heard about it happening to others. You click subscribe to a channel, you think “I love this channel! I can’t wait to be notified about their next new video by YouTube.”, then you wait and you wait and you wait. Either you hear about it after the fact, or your notifications never show it at all.

It comes down to a confusion between subscriptions and notifications by many users. Many expect that once they’ve subscribed to a channel they will be notified of all their content, when in fact it’s only some – if any – they will get a ping for.

YouTube are clearing this up with a new look and a new name for their default notification setting. When you subscribe the notification setting that automatically applies is now called ‘Personalized’ and shows a re-designed bell icon to differentiate it from the ‘All’ notification setting.

The ‘Personalized’ setting means that notifications work on a custom basis that YouTube determines depending on the user, their watch history, popular videos and how they use notifications. Simply selecting ‘All’ as the notification setting for a channel will ensure you’re kept up to date with all of their content as it comes out.

This re-design also adds a drop down menu for notification settings when users click the bell on mobile. The settings still work in the same way nor does it affect the subscriptions feed, which has always showed all videos from your subscriptions in chronological upload order.

YouTube say that they’ve been through a series of tests and user research regarding subscriptions and notifications to see what works best. They have tried setting the default as ‘All’ for notifications but found users overwhelmed and ultimately turning them off completely.

New subscriber notification metrics for creators

With the updates, creators are also getting two new metrics in their YouTube Analytics. With the new data creators will be able to understand the percentage of their subscribers that are getting notifications and can help them to strategise their approach.

The first metric will show creators the percentage of their subscribers who have turned on ‘All’ notifications so that they can see how many people are getting told of every new upload. The second metric does the same except also shows how many selected ‘All’ for your channel notifications, but also have their device settings enable to receive notifications from YouTube. This is because users may not get notifications from the app due to device settings, despite being set to receive them on YouTube itself.

You can let YouTube know your thoughts on the new notification settings on the Google Support Forum where 
they announced it.