To compete with Chinese short-video app TikTok, Instagram is launching a video-music remix feature, dubbed Reels, which enables users to create 15-second video clips set to music and share them as Stories. Just like TikTok, users can infuse their video clips with a huge catalog of music, or borrow the audio from anyone else’s video to create their own video.
Reels is launching in Brazil today, a strategic choice on Instagram’s behalf as the app has a strong foothold in Brazil, while TikTok has yet to fully penetrate the Brazilian market.
Reels is powered by Facebook’s enormous music collection secured from all the major labels. Users can choose a song and then record or upload multiple video clips to Stories or send them to friends. If shared publicly, there is a chance it will appear in the Top Reels section of the Explore tab.
Even though Instagram’s parent company Facebook is being investigated for antitrust and privacy violations, now is certainly a good time for TikTok’s competitors to pounce. TikTok has seen huge growth but is facing criticism from regulators regarding privacy concerns.
ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, acquired Musical.ly in 2017 and the deal is now under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. ByteDance turned Musical.ly into TikTok, but may have to unwind the acquisition or make other concessions to US regulators to assuage concerns about potential threats to the country’s national security.