Facebook’s New Audio Features Resemble Clubhouse

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Facebook is launching several new audio features. This move toward sound proves that other platforms like Clubhouse and TikTok are enough of a threat for Facebook to need to step up its game. 

There was no better way for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to announce the new and upcoming tools than in an audio chatroom on Discord.

“Audio as a medium just allows for longer-form discussions and exploring ideas,” he said. “You can get into topics that frankly are a lot harder to with other mediums. And audio, I think, is just a lot more accessible because you can multitask while listening.” Zuckerberg said. 

Facebook is mainly focusing on three different audio-based products: Live Audio, Soundbites, and Podcasts.

Live Audio

Similar to Clubhouse, this feature provides a place to discuss particular topics. Live Audio Rooms will be utilized, especially inside Facebook’s groups and pages. 

In 2019, Facebook stated that there were more than 400 million people in groups that they find meaningful. 

Zuckerberg said that there are communities like these organized around interests. Allowing people to come together in rooms where they can talk is vital to unifying communities. 

Monetize: Fans can support creators through Stars, Facebook’s existing in-app tipping feature. Facebook says it will be offering other monetization tools like access to Live Audio Rooms on subscriptions.

Launch Date: Live Audio Rooms are beginning on Facebook this summer and on Messanger, too (for an added hangout experience with friends). 

Soundbites

Think of Soundbites as an audio-only version of Instagram Reels or TikToks. This short-form audio feature will allow users to click through brief sound clips from their favorite creators. 

Monetize: An Audio Creator Fund, similar to the TikTok Creator Fund, is being made available to kick off the launch of Soundbites, and encourage creators to produce content of this type.

Launch Date: Facebook said they will be testing it over the next few months with creators before making it available to the public.

Podcasts

Facebook is making a home for long-form audio.

There are now over 170 million Facebook users who are connected to a Facebook Page for a particular podcast that they listen to in other apps. This is why the platform wants to provide creators and fans with easier access.

A discovery tool will also help users find new podcasts based on their interests. Another upcoming feature will allow podcasts to play in the background so that users can access other apps while listening.

Launch Date: It has already been tested in non-U.S. markets, including Mexico and Thailand. It’s expected to arrive in about a week.

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