Facebook Social Audio Tools

Facebook made it official last week with the announcement of a range of new audio social options.

While these tools have been in the works for a while, they are seeking to tap into the Clubhouse-led trend. Clubhouse is a social networking app that lets people gather in audio chat rooms to discuss various topics. Wait you say, aren’t we already doing that on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others? Yes, but Clubhouse is strictly AUDIO chat, think of podcasts.

Facebook is launching an audio-only version of its Rooms feature in Facebook and Messenger, which will enable people to start up audio rooms that their connections can join which will be highlighted at the top of News Feeds and chats within each app.

Facebook audio rooms

As you can see, hosts are highlighted at the top of the screen, and listeners tuning in shown below. Users will be able to make their rooms public or private, while they’ll also be discoverable in a separate Rooms tab.

Creators will also be able to monetize their Rooms, via Facebook’s Stars donation system, while it’s also working on additional monetization models, “like the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription”.

In addition to this, Facebook says that creators will also be able to turn a live conversation into a podcast for everyone to listen to later, providing more ways to use the content.

As part of the initial rollout of audio rooms, Facebook will test the option in groups, with users able to set up audio rooms within their groups specifically, which could be a great way to spark engagement among like-minded people. And given that groups are used by over 1.8 billion people every month, that could make this a highly valuable add-on, with people now able to drop in and listen to chats among group members on topics they’re already regularly engaging with.

Facebook rooms will initially be made available to public figures, with a broader rollout coming in the summer.

In addition to this, Facebook is also launching a new tool called ‘Soundbites’, which will enable users to create short-form audio clips using a range of effects and tools.

The new tool will showcase Facebook’s various advances in audio tech – as explained by Facebook:

“Through our advances in AI, we can make audio quality magically great – even if you record on a busy street corner. You will be able to use music from Facebook’s Sound Collection in the background of your story to set the tone. And with the ability to mix audio tracks, a growing collection of sound effects, voice effects and filters, it should be a lot of fun too.”

The option will eventually enable users to post their own audio clips to Facebook, in a whole new format.

Facebook Soundbites

Facebook says it will start testing Soundbites over the next few months

Facebook’s also looking to tap into podcasts more specifically, with the launch of new podcast listening and discovery tools in the app.

Facebook podcast discovery

As explained by Facebook:

“Within the next few months, you’ll be able to listen to podcasts directly on the Facebook app – both while using the app or when the app is backgrounded. And because it’s still hard to discover podcasts you like, we will help you easily find new podcasts and episodes based on your interests, comment on them and recommend them to your friends.”

The option will give Facebook more specific connection with the evolving podcast space – which somewhat aligns with its investment in newsletters also, ensuring it has a stake in every rising digital connection process.

Clearly, Facebook sees significant potential in these new offerings, and while they will start in limited roll-out, their arrival flags the next stage for Facebook’s audio push, which could become a significant element in the broader Facebook experience.

That now means that Twitter and Facebook are directly challenging Clubhouse, while LinkedIn and Reddit are also working on their audio social options.

Sources: Facebook, SM Today


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