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Instagram Tests New Music Feature for Stories Similar to TikTok

November 17, 2019
November 17, 2019 Tumelo Moloi

Instagram has unveiled a new music feature for Stories that highly resembles the format of its Chinese social media competitor TikTok, which according to Sensor Tower, has 1.5 billion monthly users with 122 million in the US. The feature, called “Instagram Reels,” prompts users to create 15-second video clips with music in the background that can be shared directly to Stories.

The Reels feature can be found within Instagram Stories alongside features like Boomerang. According to Tech Crunch, users have the option to record without music, source music through other videos they find on Instagram or search for songs via a provided music catalog. Select videos set to viral songs will have the opportunity to be featured in the “Top Reels” section that will join Instagram’s Explore page.

Instagram director of product management Robby Stein admitted to Tech Crunch that Reels takes a lot of inspiration from TikTok, but he continues to explain how the social media company will set itself apart in this space.

“TikTok deserves a ton of credit for popularizing this format. No two products are exactly the same, and at the end of the day sharing video with music is a pretty universal idea we think everyone might be interested in using. The focus has been on how to make this a unique format for us. Your friends are already all on Instagram. I think that’s only true of Instagram.”

Reels is launching today on iOS and Android, but for now, the release will be limited to users in Brazil. Stay tuned for a wider release date if Instagram decides to expand the launch.

This launch follows news that the US government is investigating TikTok for potential national security risks.

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