Facebook Launches New Audio Features, Competing With Clubhouse And Integrating Spotify

Facebook officially announced on Monday that it is preparing a number of new audio features for its main app and for Messenger, which include Live Audio Rooms like Clubhouse, short editable Soundbites, Spotify integration with Project Boombox.

On Monday on the official Facebook Blog (FB) Fiji Simo, the head of the Facebook app announced a number of new audio features coming soon to both the main app and Messenger.

The demand for audio formats in social networks is growing

The media have long written that Facebook is developing new audio formats: audio chats and podcasts, the demand for which has skyrocketed amid the pandemic. So, the giant of social platforms imitates its competitors if it sees that their functions are liked by consumers.

The new Clubhouse app, available only on iOS (Android app coming out this summer), has gained popularity thanks to themed audio chats attended by celebrities such as Tesla CEO (TSLA) Elon Musk and Gen. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Twitter (TWTR) reportedly even wanted to buy Clubhouse for about $ 4 billion, the amount the startup was priced at after recently raising funding (a sharp rise from a market valuation of $ 1 billion in January).

Eventually, Twitter created a similar audio chat feature called Twitter Spaces. Microsoft’s LinkedIn and Slack Technologies (WORK) (MSFT) are also preparing to launch their own audio formats.

In a blog post on Monday, Facebook pointed out, “More than 170 million people are already connected to hundreds of thousands of podcast pages on Facebook, and over 35 million people are members of fan groups around podcasts, but until now you had to log out of the Facebook app to listen these episodes ”.

So, Facebook, not accustomed to missing out on new opportunities, is preparing to launch the following formats:

Facebook begins testing Live Audio Rooms audio chats and plans to make the feature available to everyone on the Facebook app by this summer.

Facebook already offers Messenger Rooms for free video calls for up to 50 people, competing with Microsoft’s Zoom Video (ZM) and Teams.

Facebook’s huge capabilities in accessing server power and using cloud services, as well as advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence functions, allow the company to make a product better than Clubhouse, providing more opportunities.

So, Facebook says it will provide the ability to record audio chats, attract famous people for PR, and also offer monetization options.

Audio creators will be able to make money – Facebook writes: “After the launch of Live Audio Rooms, fans will be able to support their favorite creators and public figures through Stars or donate to those things that they care about. We will also offer other monetization models shortly after launch, such as the ability to charge for access to the Live Audio Room through a one-time purchase or subscription. ”

Until now, the ability to include music in its publications in the Facebook family of apps has been rather limited, and the company has long sought a partnership with the industry leader in streaming music.

The companies have not disclosed on what terms their partnership will operate, but integrating Spotify music and podcasts right into the Facebook app is great news for users.

“We have always strived to make Spotify ubiquitous across all platforms and devices by bringing music and podcasts to more people — and our new Facebook integration is another step in that effort,” a Spotify spokesperson told Variety.

With the addition of podcasts, Facebook “helps you easily find new podcasts and episodes based on your interests, comment on them and recommend them to your friends,” wrote Fiji Simo, Head of Facebook App, on his blog. “And podcast creators will be able to find new listeners and connect with them – all right in the Facebook app.”

Facebook will also provide its users with audio streaming or audio recording as they are currently editing photos, videos, or using elements of an augmented reality mask in video streaming.

The company called it “a sound studio in your pocket”, as the new features will allow “to remove extraneous noise in the background of the voice,” as it now applies image filters. This will allow you to broadcast audio even on a busy noisy street.

“We have been investing in audio technologies such as speech-to-text and voice conversion for a long time and will make them available in an audio creation tool directly in the Facebook app.

You can use music from the Facebook Sound Collection as a background for your story to set the tone. And with the ability to mix soundtracks, a growing collection of sound effects, voice effects and filters, it should be a lot of fun too, ”says the company’s blog.

The downside to these new capabilities may be that Facebook will need to work even harder to follow the content. Due to hate speech, racist posts, and political and other misinformation on its platform, Facebook has received huge criticism from both users and regulators. In addition, following the scandal of the murder of black criminal George Floyd by a police officer, the company was boycotted under the name #StopHateForProfit and many advertisers temporarily refused to buy ads on Facebook platforms.

A copy of the Clubhouse idea will likely also be added to the list of antitrust investigations against Facebook, which is accused of “abuse of dominance in the market of social platforms.”

Democrats in Congress said the company has a “copy, acquire, kill” policy that creates “unfair competition.”

To listen to how noise reduction will sound in audio broadcasts and sound effects follow the link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=469179824317643

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