These 5 YouTube Shorts Upgrades Will Help You Make Better Content

You can expect a seamless viewing experience, music from major labels, and in the distant future, perhaps Shorts monetization.

YouTube has finally launched Shorts beta, an in-app camera for recording, editing, and posting TikTok-style videos, in the U.S. The rollout was announced on March 18 via the official YouTube blog, along with several Shorts updates.

“Starting today and over the next several weeks, we’ll gradually expand our Shorts beta to the U.S.,” YouTube Shorts Product Lead Todd Sherman writes. “We plan to introduce more features as we continue to build Shorts alongside creators and artists.”

The new features will help creators make better short-form videos. External audio, a text tool, and even Shorts monetization could be just around the corner for many creators.

Our first impression of this news mirrors what we’ve been saying all along. If you weren’t making Shorts before, now is a good time to start. These new Shorts features, which we discuss in the video below, confirm that short content is here to stay on YouTube.

This is it, creators. Shorts are about to get fancier, which means the competition around vertical, less-than-a-minute videos will be steep. Here’s what you need to know about the latest features heading your way.

1. Text Controls for YouTube Shorts

YouTube is adding text controls to Shorts, and it's similar to what you’d see on TikTok or Instagram Stories. This is something most YouTube creators haven't used yet, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with it.

Text controls are an add-on to original Shorts tools (which Indian creators received in the first rollout), including:

  • a multi-segment camera
  • speed controls
  • some music recording functions

2. Add Audio From Other Shorts to Your Shorts

Soon, you’ll be able to add external audio to your Shorts. That means you can sample sounds from other creators’ Shorts as you’re editing your own content in the Shorts camera.

This is a fresh, creative opportunity. YouTube has billions of videos, and you can use the audio from any one of them to put a creative spin on your content.

In the announcement blog post, Sherman suggests the following ideas:

  • “reacting to your favorite jokes”
  • “trying your hand at a creator's latest recipe”
  • “re-enacting comedy skits”

For now, creators can opt-out if they don’t want their videos to be remixed by others. Does that mean everyone is opted in by default and must remove themselves from video sharing if desired? Maybe so, but YouTube hasn’t clarified yet.

3. Add Songs From Major Music Labels to Your Shorts

In other copyright news, YouTube is making music from major labels and publishers available for Shorts use. The platform has strict guidelines around copyrighted music, so this feature may inspire some changes, especially if Shorts monetization becomes a thing. How will music copyright be treated going forward? Will there be a revenue split between YouTube, musicians, and video creators? We'll have to wait and see.

4. Seamless Viewing Experience For Shorts

YouTube wants to help viewers find more of what they enjoy via Shorts. In the coming weeks, you can expect new features for discovering music, video creators, and artists. If you’re a creator looking to get discovered, this news is for you.

On the YouTube homepage, there will be a row of content for Shorts, as shown below.

Also, viewers will be able to swipe up to see one Short after another in some areas of the app. And YouTube is testing a Shorts mobile tab that supports one-tap viewing.

Additionally, music-based creation and listening will improve. If you hear a song you like while watching a Short, YouTube will help you find the full song or music video. There will also be a create button to make your own Short using that audio.

YouTube’s Shorts player is mostly good, especially as a carousel of short content. One thing it’s lacking, however, is a way to switch between watching short and long videos. That’s an update we’d love to see, especially for creators who make longer, more traditional videos.

5. YouTube Shorts Monetization Is a Strong Possibility

Are you ready to make money from Shorts? Well, we've got good news. YouTube recognizes the power of mobile content and is thinking about paying Shorts creators.

“Over the last three years, YouTube has paid out more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies," Sherman writes in the Shorts update blog. "We are deeply committed to supporting the next generation of mobile creators with Shorts, and are actively working on what monetization options will look like in the future.”

Still, Shorts monetization could be months away. The earliest we’d expect it is sometime near the end of 2021. When it does arrive, we’re wondering how YouTube will attribute Watch Time and subscribers earned from Shorts. Will it all go toward the YouTube Partner Program requirements? Will there be a new monetization program for Shorts? It’s hard to predict what will happen next.

Make Your First YouTube Short Today

In late January, YouTube reported 3.5 billion daily Shorts views. Now that figure has doubled to more than 6.5 billion. That’s the equivalent of every person on the planet watching one Short each day.

This may be your last chance to earn some of those views before millions of U.S. creators do the same. Shorts have been getting smaller creators more views, so if you’re interested, create and post your first Short today.