YouTube Music just stole TikTok’s vibe with Samples

YouTube Music Samples feature
(Image credit: YouTube Music)

YouTube Music is rolling out a new feature that will help users discover music. It’s called Samples and, although it’s definitely an offshoot of YouTube’s Shorts feed, it borrows at least some of its inspiration from TikTok. 

As far as the similarities are concerned, Samples is basically a never-ending feed of short music video clips. If you find a song you like, you can share it with others, or you can tap the Play icon on the side of the screen and it will take you to the full music video. 

Because each clip is relatively short, YouTube says you’ll be able to get “a feel” for an artist without committing to listening to a full song or music video. (So...TikTok?)

According to a post on the YouTube Blog, the Samples tab is beginning to roll out today to YouTube Music users globally and should be available the next time you update the app.

Analysis: Samples is doom scrolling meets music videos  

Despite being a bit facetious about the feature, I think there’s genuine value to helping users find new music and, simultaneously, help artists find new listeners. 

Clearly apps like TikTok and Instagram have been really successful in helping indie artists break through the noise of the music industry and it’s nice to see YouTube, one of the biggest names in streaming music, catch up to its competitors. 

All that said, I’m a bit leery of YouTube’s algorithm. In recent years, YouTube’s algorithm has unearthed some shady misinformation videos and now that could extend to problematic artists and controversial music videos. 

Because it’s just music videos and not, say hoax cancer cures, the potential for damage here is far outweighed by the value the service will add for users, but how content is recommended via YouTube’s algorithms is something we’ll keep an eye on.

Need a new pair of headphones to listen to all this new music? Check out out guide to the best wireless headphones.

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Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.