The early and mid-2010s were conquered by an app that no one really saw coming—Vine. The short video sharing platform gave creative users a new outlet and instantly became a smash hit. Though TikTok is currently viewed as “the new Vine,” it isn’t as culturally significant as the platform it is trying to emulate.
Now though, the co-creator of Vine is launching the fabled service’s successor. Called Byte, the mobile app launched on Friday for both Android and iOS. Though it has been rumored for a while the launch came out of nowhere.
Better Late Than Never
For fans of Vine, the wait for its successor has been a long, often uncertain one. Ever since the original platform was unceremoniously taken down just four years after being purchased by Twitter, fans have been waiting for a replacement.
Dom Hofmann, Vine’s co-creator and now the creator of Byte, originally announced that he was working on a sequel shortly after the platform’s death. Since then, he has been working on the app for several years in an erratic capacity. At times, it looked like the platform would never become reality. Other times, it seemed that a launch was just around the corner.
In fact, an update from Hofmann in November 2018 claimed that Byte would arrive in the spring of the following year (2019). While he missed that window, it’s better late than never for the platform.
Hofmann announced Byte’s launch with a tweet.
byte's out https://t.co/9XcoEHqmpX
— dom hofmann (@dhof) January 25, 2020
With its release on Friday, users were hit with nostalgia. Byte is very similar to the original Vine. For example, it still has the six-second recording limit that made its ancestor completely unique.
A blurb for the app says, “Byte celebrates life, community, and pure creativity. Nostalgia is our starting point, but where we go next is up to you.”
Yet, it remains to be seen if former Vine users will join Byte. After all, many of them have been appeased by TikTok’s “similar enough” approach to short video sharing. In fact, the app plays host to many extremely popular Vine creators who have reignited their fanbase.
Byte, Not Bytedance
Some might be confused by the new platform’s name. That’s understandable. Bytedance is the name of the Beijing-based company that created TikTok. Although it would be a perfectly executed jab at its competitor, Byte has nothing to do with the booming social platform.
Nonetheless, the two will compete for largely the same audience by hosting the same type of media. Now that both Snapchat and Instagram have started becoming more focused on ads, teens have migrated to these newer apps. If Byte can grow at even a fraction of TikTok’s speed, it will become a success in no time.
One key feature that Byte’s developers seem to be focused on is revenue sharing. Hofmann told TechCrunch that he and his team are exploring different ways to pay creators. He says, “We’re looking at all of those, but we’ll be starting with a revenue share + supplementing with our own funds. We’ll have more details about exactly how the pilot program will work soon.”