Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has revealed a range of audio products that his company will be releasing over the coming weeks and months. Below is information about each of these products. However, the plan to integrate Spotify’s music into Facebook was not mentioned. Speaking with tech journalist Casey Newton, Zuckerberg said that he wants Facebook to allow audio creators to make money when the products go live.
Facebook invites you to talk and listen on Facebook.
According to sources, the social network will announce a number of products that won’t be available for some time under the “social audio” umbrella on Monday. These include Facebook’s version of Clubhouse, an audio-only social networking site that grew quickly last year. They also include a push for podcast discovery and distribution thanks to Spotify.
Facebook offers audio plans that include:
- It launched Rooms, a videoconferencing product that was previously audio-only, one year ago, after the pandemic.
- a clubhouse-like product that allows groups of people to listen to and interact on a virtual “stage.”
- a product that allows Facebook users to record short voice messages and then post them in their News Feeds. This is similar to what they can do with pictures, text, and videos.
- an app that connects with Spotify to discover podcasts Spotify has made significant investments in podcasting in the last few years. I don’t know if Facebook plans to do anything beyond simply flagging podcasts and sending them to Spotify. It’s worth noting that Spotify and Facebook were first linked 10 years ago, when Facebook was pushing “frictionless” sharing, which meant your Facebook friends could see everything you were reading, listening to, or watching. This was quickly abandoned.
I’m not sure when Facebook will announce the products. I believe that Rooms, which is videoconferencing without video, will be the most popular product to go live immediately. Sources indicated that other products might not be available, even in beta, until later in the spring.
The announcements, all in all, are intended to show CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s belief in the ability of his users to communicate with one another using voice and audio. This idea has been embraced by many executives in Big Tech, including Mark Zuckerberg. Twitter has already launched Spaces, a version of Clubhouse. Apple may also announce a new subscription podcast service as part of its product rollout.
Zuckerberg will speak to Casey Newton, a technology journalist and Vox Media contributor, on Monday at noon ET. Newton stated this weekend that they would discuss “this wild moment in tech and media” and noted that Facebook is “increasingly concerned about newsletters, live sound, and other technologies.”
Recode asked Facebook for this non-comment.
Zuckerberg made it clear that he was interested in Clubhouse. Clubhouse was launched at the start of the pandemic and has seen rapid growth over the past year. Zuckerberg has had multiple chats with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. Clubhouse has announced a new round of funding that values the company at $4 billion, just months after it received $1 billion in funding.
However, some observers speculate that Clubhouse’s ephemeral chats with large audiences of up to 5,000 people may struggle to regain the excitement they enjoyed in 2020 and earlier in the year. This was when most of the world was locked down and seeking distractions. Clubhouse’s download speed seems to have slowed with its novelty. It hasn’t updated its user numbers since February, when it claimed to have 10,000,000 users.
If you’re looking for a thoughtful review of Clubhouse’s product challenges, you can read this thread by tech investor Shaan Puri. TL;DR – It is difficult to create audio-only, live content that engages current users and brings in new ones.
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