Seeing the increasing use of audio on its platform, Facebook is giving more attention to its audio creation tools, as well as opening up avenues for social interactions in the audio realm. A recent news item describes new tools to assist users with creating recorded audio, a Facebook podcast platform and the launch of Live Audio Rooms.
Facebook’s new set of audio creation tools promises users a “sound studio in your pocket.” The app will take advantage of audio technologies and AI to allow background noise reduction, audio mixing, speech-to-text, voice morphing, etc. Facebook also offers collections of music and sound effects to enhance the recordings.
A new concept called Soundbites will launch soon for testing in a small group. Soundbites are described as “short-form, creative audio clips for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven’t yet imagined.”
Facebook will also be testing Live Audio Rooms, hoping to make it available to all by summer. Live Audio Rooms is Facebook’s version of Clubhouse, where people engage with their communities of interests. It will first be rolled out in Groups, where 1.8 billion people have already built communities. It will also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans. Then, Live Audio Rooms should launch on Messenger this summer.
With Live Audio Rooms, fans will be able to support their favorite creators and public figures through Stars, Facebook’s digital currency. Users can also donate to causes they care about. Soon after launch, Facebook will offer other monetization models, such as the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription.
The company notes that more than 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. It aims to keep those users in the app by allowing letting them listen to podcasts directly, both while using the app or when it is backgrounded. The feature will also make recommendations based on a listener’s interest and allow for comments and sharing with friends.
“We think a lot of magic happens at the intersection of audio formats, as well as at the confluence of text, audio and video,” said Fidji Simo, head of Facebook App. “Additionally, we’re going to offer captions on all these audio experiences to make them accessible to all. And if you have the sound off or prefer to follow along with text, you will be able to access this universe of content on your terms. Similarly, if you’re on the go, we will also make it easy to listen to most videos in the background. Over time, all these different formats will live in a central listening destination on Facebook where people can find new things and new people to listen to.”