YouTube and Genius launch a music-focused twist on the 'stories' format

Song Stories

YouTube has launched yet another take on the 'stories' format, teaming up with song lyrics and info site Genius to create a new type of presentation specifically for music.

Song Stories pieces together interviews and YouTube content including music video clips and concert footage, plus facts and lyrics from Genius. The content is presented as cards, which you can click through as you listen or watch as a kind of slideshow.

“A song is so much more than an audio file," said Ilan Zechory, co-founder and president of Genius. "We’re constantly working to deliver users interesting and delightful information to make the music experience richer. Genius and YouTube, the two biggest sources of musical deep cuts and rabbit holes on the planet, are natural collaborators on this mission.”

The format works best in the Genius mobile apps (for iOS and Android), but you can also check it out on the desktop site.

It's not the first time Genius has partnered with a major music site. In 2016 it launched Behind the Lyrics – special playlists that allow artists to share facts with listeners, including the inspiration behind their work.

Tell me a tale

Stories – collections of bite-size videos and other media optimized for smaller screens – are enormously popular right now. With Song Stories, YouTube is joining Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and its parent company Google in trying to pull users down their own personal 'rabbit holes', grabbing their attention and encouraging them to stay longer.

YouTube is investing heavily in the format, and is currently testing an unrelated feature called YouTube Stories that lets creators compile sets of short videos that appear at the top of their subscribers' feeds.