YouTube Shorts gains an edge over TikTok thanks to new music video remix feature

YouTube is revamping the Remix feature on its ever popular Shorts by allowing users to integrate their favorite music videos into content.

This update consists of four tools: Sound, Collab, Green Screen, and Cut. The first one lets you take a track from a video for use as background audio. Collab places a Short next to an artist’s content so you can dance alongside it or copy the choreography itself. Green Screen, as the name suggests, allows users to turn a music video into the background of a Short. Then there’s Cut, which gives creators the ability to remove a five-second portion of the original source to add to their own content and repeat as often as they like. 

It’s important to mention that none of these are brand new to the platform as they were actually introduced years prior. Green Screen, for instance, hit the scene back in 2022 although it was only available on non-music videos.


The company is rolling out the remix upgrade to all users, as confirmed by 9To5Google, but it’s releasing it incrementally. On our Android, we only received a part of the update as most of the tools are missing. Either way, implementing one of the remix features is easy to do. The steps are exactly the same across the board with the only difference being the option you choose.

To start, find the music video you want to use on the mobile app and tap the Remix button. It’ll be found in the description carousel. Next, select the remix tool. At the time of this writing, we only have access to Sound so that’ll be the one we’ll use.

YouTube Short's new Remix tool for Music Videos

(Image credit: Future)

You will then be taken to the YouTube Shorts editing page where you highlight the 15-second portion you want to use in the video. Once everything’s sorted out, you’re free to record the Short with the music playing in the back.

Analysis: A leg over the competition

The Remix feature’s expansion comes at a very interesting time. Rival TikTok recently lost access to the vast music catalog owned by Universal Music Group (UMG), meaning the platform can no longer host tracks by artists represented by the record label. This includes megastars like Taylor Swift and Drake. TikTok videos with “UMG-owned music” will be permanently muted although users can replace them with songs from other sources.

The breakup between UMG and TikTok was the result of contract negotiations falling through. Apparently, the social media platform was trying to “bully” the record label into accepting a bad deal that wouldn’t have adequately protected artists from generative AI and online harassment.  

YouTube, on the other hand, was more cooperative. The company announced last August they were working with UMG to ensure “artists and right holders would be properly compensated for AI music.” So creators on YouTube are safe to take whatever songs they want from the label – for now. It's possible future negotiations between these two entities will turn sour down the line.

If you're planning on making YouTube Shorts, you'll need a smartphone with a good camera. Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best iPhone for 2024 if you need some recommendations.

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Windows 11 gains back File Explorer features that shouldn’t have disappeared

As Microsoft works on the first major update to Windows 11, codenamed Sun Valley 2, there's already some improvements to the File Explorer for Windows Insider users.

As of Windows 11 Insider build 22557 and above – which allows you to sign up to features in testing that are not ready for a final release, you can have OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud service, integrated to the top right of a window, so you can see which files are synced and are being uploaded.

Alongside this, folder previews are seeing a return, so you can look at what the folder contains without having to double-click it. You can also pin files to an Explorer window, as well as folders as before, making managing your content a lot easier than before.

It's yet another example of Microsoft listening to feedback, such as drag and drop coming back to the taskbar, alongside folders to the start menu. But these features to File Explorer arguably shouldn't have disappeared in the first place, and would have avoided some unneeded irritation to users.

Analysis: Restoring features like a yo-yo isn't a great experience for users

Sometimes the little features make a big difference when you use a PC or Mac every day. Dragging and dropping to the Windows 11 taskbar is another example of a feature being in Windows 10, being absent in the launch of Windows 11, and being brought back in a forthcoming update.

Apple has introduced and removed features for a later date before, but arguably only when there's been public beta programs for major software updates. A bunch of new features to the Files app and iCloud in iOS 13 were held back and weren't seen in a final version 5 months after they debuted.

But Microsoft does this with public releases, and it's getting to the point of wondering – why?

Windows 11 Sun Valley 2 improvements

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Folder previews and the drag and drop function of the taskbar are features that didn't need to be removed in the first place. They're the little features that help the user in their workflows, whether that's for a day job or gaming.

But on the flip side of this upcoming build, seeing OneDrive integration into the File Explorer window, alongside pinned files are new features that are going to be welcomed by plenty of users. Its functions can help highlight the files that are most important to you, and it's encouraging to see Microsoft focus on the smaller features of its existing applications.

However, if a Windows 12 does appear, one of the best efforts the company could do is to simply not remove the useful features that have no justification in doing so. Build on them, redesign them, but removing them in public releases will only irritate users.

Via Windows Latest

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