Facebook unveils suite of audio products including Clubhouse rival

The social media giant is building is a set of new audio creation tools in addition to launching podcasts on the Facebook app and testing Live Audio Rooms

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 23, 2021 11:21 AM  | 4 min read

The social audio networking space is going to heat up with Facebook announcing a suite of products to take on the fast-growing social audio app Clubhouse besides other audio platforms. Facebook App Head Fidji Simo revealed that the social media giant is building is a set of new audio creation tools in addition to launching podcasts on the Facebook app and testing Live Audio Rooms, which is seen as a rival to Clubhouse. 
"The first thing we’re building is a set of new audio creation tools. Just like we did for photos and videos, we want everyone to have tools that are powerful enough for the pros, but intuitive and fun — like having a sound studio in your pocket. We’ve been investing in audio technologies — such as speech-to-text and voice morphing — for a long time and will make them available in an audio creation tool directly inside the Facebook app," Simo said in a blog post.

The audio creation tools will enable users to create Soundbites - short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things. "We’ll start testing Soundbites over the next few months with a small number of creators and refine the product with their input before making it available to everyone. To start, we’re collaborating with creators to experiment with different concepts."

Till now, users had to leave the Facebook app to listen to podcasts despite the fact that 170 million people are connected to hundreds of thousands of podcast pages on Facebook, and more than 35 million people are members of fan groups around podcasts. However, that will change soon with Facebook enabling access to podcasts on the platform.

"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. And podcast creators will be able to reach and connect with new listeners — all directly within the Facebook app," Simo said.

Facebook will also start testing Live Audio Rooms and make it available to everyone on the Facebook app by the summer. The Live Audio Rooms feature will be tested in Groups and will be made available to the 1.8 billion people using Groups every month and the tens of millions of active communities on Facebook. "In addition to bringing this to Facebook, we also plan to release Live Audio Rooms on Messenger this summer so you can easily hang out with your friends, too," Simo noted.

Simo also said that the creators will be able to turn a live conversation into a podcast for everyone to listen to later. "We also want to give creators and fans tools to share the best excerpts from live audio or podcast and publish them as Soundbites to encourage more discussion. Additionally, we’re going to offer captions on all these audio experiences to make them accessible to all."

Facebook will be introducing multiple ways for audio creators to build their businesses while pursuing their passion. When Live Audio Rooms launch, fans will be able to support their favorite creators and public figures through Stars or donate to causes they care about.

"Soon after launch, we’ll also offer other monetization models, like the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription. Finally, to kickstart Soundbites, we’re introducing an Audio Creator Fund to support emerging audio creators and get early feedback on the new product experience," Simo stated.

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