Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms to launch by mid-year

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Earlier this week we reported on Facebook’s plans to announce a number of social audio tools and services. Said announcements have since been made and one of the services in particular is aimed at competing with the newly popular Clubhouse app. Facebook’s rival is called Live Audio Rooms and is slated for release in the Summer Stateside, being tested out by a selected number of users before making its way to Messenger later in the year.

Users will be able to record their conversations and distribute them via Live Audio Rooms. Down the line, they will also be able to charge for access to these rooms through either a subscription or one-time fee, although pricing options have not been disclosed at this stage.

“We believe that audio is a perfect way for communities to engage around topics they care about. We’ll test Live Audio Rooms in Groups, making it available to the 1.8 billion people using Groups every month and the tens of millions of active communities on Facebook,” the company’s blog post regarding the announcement explained.

“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,” it adds.

While it remains to be seen if Live Audio Rooms will indeed surpass Clubhouse in terms of popularity, adding the feature to Messenger looks a smart move, especially as it is available on both iOS and Android, whereas Clubhouse is on iOS only for now.

That said, a number of companies are also bringing their own social audio tools to the fore, so the market dominance may be difficult to carve out in the coming year.

Along with the Live Audio Rooms platform, Facebook has announced a Sound Collection of tools in order to add more elements to a Story. Added to this is SoundBites, which is aimed at creators in particular, and will also involve a Creators Fund to get people interested, akin to what Clubhouse has done.

Lastly, podcasts are on the way, with access to them being added via a new tab in your Page profile.

“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,” the blog post concludes.

It therefore looks as if social audio will be a significant focus for Facebook moving forward.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.