05 May 2021
Audio has become the preferred mode of communication and interactions among internet users in recent times, especially after the popularity of the audio-only app Clubhouse. This has led to internet companies looking to integrate audio in their respective offerings, Reddit Talk being the latest example. Facebook was widely rumored to be developing its own take on audio and now, it has officially detailed those plans.
Facebook has announced a host of new features aimed at capturing a portion, as much as possible, of the audio space. It has officially revealed Live Audio Rooms which surfaced in recent reports. It will allow users to create audio rooms for groups of people they are interested in hosting with. It is currently being tested with selected Groups and celebrities but will expand to everyone this summer. It will work pretty much the same way as Clubhouse but will also become available through Messenger later this year. It will help users host private audio rooms for their family and friends.
The second audio feature announced by Facebook is called Soundbites. It wil allow users to share audio clips pretty much the way they share video clips on social media. It is actually described as Instagram Reels but with a focus only on audio. It is available only to a limited number of creators for the time being but will be expanded to everyone in the near future.
We know that all video sharing platforms provide users with a set of tools and features so that they can share unique and engaging content with ease. Facebook is hoping to do something similar with its set of audio creation tools that are described as having "a sound studio in your pocket". These tools are under testing for quite some time and very soon, everyone will be able to use them from within the main Facebook app. These include the ability to improve audio quality using AI, choosing background tracks/sounds through Facebook's Sound Collection, use a mix of audio tracks, sound effects, voice effects, filters, and more.
Since any conversation around audio is incomplete without the mention of podcasts, Facebook has something for that too. It is now working on offering native support for listening to podcasts. It will be offered via the main Facebook app that will allow users to listen to their favorite podcasts even when the app is in the background. It will be leveraging its AI power and the information that it already has about you to make personalized recommendations.
Facebook has further revealed that users will be able to turn their Live Audio Rooms sessions into podcasts and share their excerpts as Soundbites. It is also exploring ways for creators to earn money through audio content in the long run. The users will be able to support their favorite creators by donating money or sending "Stars". The creators will also be able to charge a one-time or a subscription fee in exchange for providing content through live sessions. As for Soundbites, Facebook has set up an Audio Creator Fund to help them money in the beginning.