“Reels” will let Instagram users combine music and video in the same way TikTok does
Instagram is officially coming after TikTok, with the Facebook-owned app launching a new feature on Tuesday allowing users to combine videos and music in short 15-second clips — just like the wildly popular Chinese app.
The feature, dubbed “Reels,” is first being tested in Brazil on iOS and Android, an Instagram spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap. Reels will let users create clips, add music or audio from someone else’s video, and adjust the speed of each video. Users can then share their clips to Stories or send them to their friends via direct messages; users will also be able to post their Reels to a new section on Instagram’s explore tab called Top Reels, where the company will highlight eye-catching clips.
“We’re excited to test Reels, a new Stories format that gives our community a way to create entertaining, short-form videos with music. Instagram Stories has always been a home for expression and we believe this new format has huge potential to enable more creativity for people,” Robby Stein, Instagram’s director of product, said in a statement.
TechCrunch, which was the first outlet to report the news, also has a Reels demo video you can check out below.
The similarities between Reels and TikTok are unmissable. And it’s easy to see why Instagram and Facebook would want to go after it: TikTok is remarkably popular both in the U.S. and abroad, particularly with younger users. TikTok has 124 million users in the U.S. and 1.5 billion globally, according to data shared by Sensor Tower. (Its popularity has drawn the attention of regulators, however, with the U.S. government recently opening a national security review into ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company.)
Instagram hasn’t been afraid to copy from its competitors in the past, either. Instagram lifted several features from Snapchat, including Stories, its most famous one. Those features have helped spur Instagram’s rapid growth in recent years, with Instagram Stories now boasting more than 500 million daily users; Snapchat, meanwhile, recently reported it has 210 million daily users.
It’s unclear if or when Reels will hit the U.S., but a successful international test would all but guarantee it reaches the States eventually.