Business News Digital

Instagram Reels rolls out around the world

By | Published on Thursday 6 August 2020


Facebook’s Instagram has rolled out its Reels tool, which is basically an attempt to take on TikTok by, well, ripping off TikTok, in much the same way it took on Snapchat by ripping off its rival’s Stories feature. Rip off fun times! I guess when you have a winning strategy, why change it?

Reels makes it easier for people to create fifteen second videos complete with music and other effects, all within the Instagram app, to then share with friends and/or the world. Which is to say, in official speak, it’s “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram”.

Given TikTok’s world domination you might think Instagram has left it too late to roll out it’s TikTokky style new function, which it began piloting in Brazil last year. But, of course, Facebook is hoping it can capitalise on TikTok’s current political woes.

It remains to be seen if politicians the world over stressing about what China-owned TikTok does with its users’ data actually results in further bans for the app.

But even if it doesn’t, consumer concern about all those data issues and/or worries about impending bans might be enough to persuade a decent number of TikTokkers – both content creators and content consumers – to jump ship to rival services.

Certainly the surge in consumer interest in TikTok rival Triller in recent weeks – which has been topping app download charts in multiple countries – would suggest that’s what’s happening right now.

From a music perspective, Reels is part of an ongoing trend of video-sharing platforms bringing music libraries and editing tools into their apps.

Which is interesting in copyright terms, because once an app is doing that it can’t rely on the pesky copyright safe harbour that may have been previously utilised when users were uploading videos with uncleared background or synchronised music in them.

And it may as yet get to the point where video-sharing platforms simply can’t compete without providing such tools, which greatly increases the music industry’s negotiating power.

Meanwhile, as we say, Reels is here. Why not get yourself reeling? Adds Instagram: “Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram, and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take centre stage”. Yeah, whatever.