Facebook’s expected audio services have been announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It includes a number of audio features including audio chat rooms that will be a direct competitor to audio social app Clubhouse. And creators, including hosts in the chat rooms, will be able to charge fans.
The company is building audio features where users can engage in real-time conversations with others. The feature could be used within groups on Facebook, Zuckerberg said. He also announced an upcoming product called Soundbites, which are short-form audio clips that users will be able to listen to in a feed.
Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook App presented more details in a blog post. Facebook will start testing Live Audio Rooms and expect it “to be available to everyone on the Facebook app by the summer.”
“We’ll also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans. 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.”
“When Live Audio Rooms launch, fans will be able to support their favourite 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.”
“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. “
“These audio creation tools will enable you to create Soundbites — short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven’t yet imagined.”
He said Facebook will 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.
“While we’re big believers in the power of short-form audio, we also know that some stories and conversations deserve more airtime. 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.”
“Podcast creators will be able to reach and connect with new listeners — all directly within the Facebook app.”