All major social networks, including Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, have their own take on how collaborations should work. But most of these features have limitations, such as time limits and the number of creators included in a clip. A new app called By wants to remove all these restrictions to allow collaboration videos of infinite length with multiple creators.
The app is based on the concept of infinite videos called ‘tapes’. A creator can start a band by recording a clip and later add as many clips as they want. They can also enable collaboration for a tape so that other creators can add their own videos on a similar theme. Once the original poster approves these collaborations, they will be added to the tape.
The idea is, in a way, similar to the “Add This” feature that Meta recently rolled out to its short video offering, Reels. Except in this case, users are collaborating on a videotape composed by the original poster, not just contributing to a trend page.
Together says it targets the new app at creators who often want to collaborate with their viewers.
While the app is invite-only for now, toptecheasy.com readers can access it here first: https://along.video/invite/toptecheasy.com.
While watching a tape, users can switch between individual clips by swiping left or right. They can also move to the next tape by scrolling down the vertical feed – just like on TikTok or Reels.
Tapping the clips bar at the bottom of the screen will give them access to a table of contents that makes it easy for them to jump to a particular section. This is useful if someone follows a creator who posts travel vlogs every few days. For example, if users have seen the previous clips, they can go directly to the newest clip.
To get started, creators can record a 60-second clip directly from the app’s camera or import pre-existing footage of up to five minutes. They can add links to a website or tag users in the clip. Link tagging is useful for product reviewer tapes and references to other creator social profiles – no “link in bio” needed here.
Who can collaborate is also in the control of the creator. Creators can disable collaboration, anyone or people they follow — the latter is the default.
Users, meanwhile, can join a tape by tapping the “collab” button that appears next to the carousel of employee avatars on the tape.
The startup was founded in 2020 by Bryn Jackson, a former Github and Figma executive. The Los Angeles-based company raised $2 million in pre-seed last year from investors such as Ludlow Ventures, Fuel Capital, Form Capital, Ev Williams and Hidden Ventures.
The idea for Along came to Jackson after he had a problem with a YouTube video upload that couldn’t be solved without losing comments and views. The problem got him thinking about how internet video had barely evolved over the years. Jackson said he wanted to create a new format that would do away with the idea of Internet video as a static, uneditable file.
The founder says the app doesn’t have a steep learning curve as most creators already know how to make videos in the short format. In addition, the app offers new users introductory tapes and formats to start collaborations.
The company has been testing the app with more than 500 users for over a year to understand how this format might work. Jackson said the greatest learning experience of the early tests was to perfect one function, in this case “collabs.”
“We’ve always seen collabs as one of the many useful side effects of the format we were building, but it turned out that it was easiest for people to stick with both as a fun way to create and a clear reason to to use the platform,” he said.
Langs is free to use for now, and the company is still figuring out its monetization model. The startup aims to launch publicly after a few months of the invite system.
Jackson said the team of four at Along is now working on features like tape reordering for creators and a bookmarking feature for consumers. The company is also thinking about ways to export tapes to other major social platforms.
Since Instagram makes many unpopular changes to its app, many users have tried out alternative social networks such as BeReal, Poparazzi, MedallionYubo, and Living in. Together hopes that the video format can appeal to a young audience that is looking for the next major social media format.
Langs is currently only available on iOS and has a waiting list system. (this link gives access.)