Facebook announced a suite of tools and Social Audio offerings to engage Facebook members in new ways. Among the offerings is a competitor to Clubhouse, which has made audio the hot social media trend.
The audio tools and features will roll out over the coming months.
Sound Studio Tools for Soundbites
Facebook stated that it has invested in audio technologies like speech-to-text and sound morphing in order to bring pro sound studio power in a user friendly UI that’s easy for every day users.
The goal is for people to create audio stories using advanced AI technologies that make it possible to create in public spaces as well as from the home.
According to Facebook:
“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”
The audio tools forms a foundation for the suite pf social audio products Facebook is unveiling.
Soundbites: TikTok for Audio?
Soundbites is a short form audio format. Short form anything generally means “snackable” content that is consumed on the run or for killing time.
Facebook describes it like this:
“Imagine, comedian Drew Lynch, sharing his short rants and food reviews… Lolo Spencer, an accessibility advocate, reciting daily affirmations and her favorite inspirational quotes; …Molly Burke, a motivational speaker who is blind, recording empowering stories about overcoming adversity…”
Short form snackable audio content initially sounds like TikTok for audio. But the examples Facebook talks about sound like a condensed version of a days worth of programming on NPR for short attention spans.
Facebook also announced the belated introduction of natively listening to podcasts on the Facebook app. Podcasting was a hot trend over the past few years but has taken a slight dip because of the pandemic as less people are commuting and listening to podcasts.
Screenshot of What Podcasting Will Look Like in the Facebook App
This feature will also be introduced to the Facebook app within the coming months.
Live Audio Rooms – Clubhouse Competitor
Facebook is introducing what it calls Live Audio Rooms. This is Facebook’s version of Clubhouse that will be available through the Facebook and Messenger apps by the end of summer.
Live Audio Rooms will be introduced through Facebook Groups.
Screenshot of Facebook Live Audio Rooms
Facebook describes the experience as unlocking audio:
“…we hope that unlocking audio will be as inspiring and fun as Groups already are.
As part of this initial rollout — and because we know communities aren’t built just in Groups — we’ll also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans.
We’re making live audio both accessible and discoverable so that public figures …can share ideas with new audiences and create a forum for discussion, without the added pressure of being on camera.”
Live Audio for Messenger will be a way to hang out with friends.
Facebook states that nearly 2 billion people use Facebook Groups, which may give Facebook a strong lead in social audio.
Facebook is focusing on making their suite of audio products accessible. Soundbites will be able to come with subtitles, which is where their text-to-speech technology will presumably play a role.
Facebook is Paying Creators
It was also announced that Facebook will be building in ways for creators to make money with their audio products.
“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.”
Facebook’s announcement is more than a reaction to Clubhouse. There’s more to Facebook’s version of social audio, including the ability to earn an income.