If you've picked up a guitar in the last 20 or so years, there's a good chance you know what Ultimate Guitar is. Sometimes referred to as "UG" or stylized Ultimate-Guitar, the popular website is usually the first stop for anybody looking to learn the chords to their favorite songs.
But if you've never used their phone app or perused the website aside from song tabs, you may have missed one of Ultimate Guitar's newest features: Shots.
It's easy to look at Ultimate Guitar Shots and say, "Oh, cool, another TikTok emulator." But there are a few really cool things about Shots that help them stand out.
What Are Ultimate Guitar Shots?
In essence, Shots are short vertical video clips just like TikToks or Instagram Reels. You can watch them on the website, but the best experience is on the phone. The only way to upload a Shot is to use your phone and the Ultimate Guitar app, dubbed "Tabs."
But here's what makes a Shot different from any other vertical video: they're 100 percent dedicated to music performance. When you upload a Shot, you also have to name it based on whether it's an original composition or an existing song. Then you also select what kind of instrument you're primarily playing, whether it's acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, or anything else.
Users can react to your video in a few different ways, as well as comment. Others can also upvote or downvote user comments (similar to Reddit posts). And then there's the typical things you've come to expect from short-form vertical video posting, like sharing to other platforms etc.
Why Should I Care About This?
Great question! If you don't make music, well, Ultimate Guitar Shots aren't really that interesting to you. Move along. Nothing to see here.
But if you do make music, then there's a good chance you're already making short-form videos. They are, uh, kind of the only social media content that really matters right now. Sorry. We don't make the rules, but if the goal is discoverability, pictures, song links, or blog posts don't cut it.
So that being said, Ultimate Guitar Shots are in a lot of ways just another place you can spin the roulette wheel of social media success. If you've already got a piece of content focusing on a song, it doesn't hurt to upload it anywhere and everywhere you can. You just may get featured by the platform and shown to tens of thousands of potential new fans.
But there's on other way to look at Ultimate Guitar Shots a little differently from other platforms.
The Shots Audience Is Different Than The Typical Social Media Audience
When we think about who watches TikToks and Instagram Reels, we tend to get a bit of a misleading image in our head. The truth is, everybody watches them. Well, let's rephrase. Every type of person watches them.
While you may know somebody who doesn't care about social media or pay attention to it, there's somebody out there with very similar interests and character traits who does. So, in essence, you're kind of just trying to find your micro-niche. Because even if you have a TikTok account with 2 million followers, that's still only .2 percent of the TikTok user base.
But people watching Ultimate Guitar Shots are already "niched down" a significant amount. In many cases, they're fellow musicians. They'll have a greater appreciation for what you do. And while they may not be the typical profile of an "average fan," they are still music fans. If you're a musician, just think about your favorite artists. Chances are, you love something about their specific skillset or craft that the average fan may not appreciate.
So while the audience for Ultimate Guitar Shots is already much smaller and niche, you already know they have an appetite for music. If you play your own songs (and make them available on Ultimate Guitar as chords or tabs if you've already released them commercially), there's also a better chance you'll get others interested in learning how to play your songs. And that's the kind of organic fan-building you don't find just anywhere.