Facebook To Release Clubhouse Competitor

Facebook To Release Clubhouse Competitor

Facebook will release multiple voice-focussed products, after announcing a push into the social audio space currently filled by the Clubhouse app.

In a blog post, Facebook announced a suite of new products across the audio-led tech space.

Among them is Live Audio Rooms, which will allow users in Groups and Messenger to record their conversations and distribute them, with users eventually able to charge for access through either a subscription or one-time fee.

When Live Audio Rooms launch, fans will be able to support their favourite creators and public figures through Stars, or donate to causes they care about.

However, as Reuters reports, the move into a niche currently filled by the Clubhouse app comes as interest in it hit a decline in downloads on the Apple Store.

The Clubhouse app reportedly suffered an estimated 70 per cent decline in downloads in March from February when it hit a high of around 9.6 million installs.

The app also faces competition from several large tech companies, Facebook included, creating Clubhouse clones.

Facebook will also release a shortform audio generator, called Soundbites, complete with a tool to promote this content. To kickstart Soundbites, Facebook is introducing an Audio Creator Fund to “support emerging audio creators” and get early feedback on the new product experience.

The social media conglomerate plans to take on a bigger role in podcasting, too, with Facebook saying that it will start recommending shows and episodes based on people’s interests and that people can comment on them and recommend them to friends.

The company said 170 million people on Facebook are connected to a page that’s linked to a specific podcast, and more than 35 million people are members of fan groups around podcasts, “but until now you had to leave the Facebook app to listen to these episodes”.

“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,” Facebook said in a blog post.

“And because it’s still hard to discover podcasts you like, we will help you easily find new podcasts and episodes based on your interests, comment on them and recommend them to your friends.”

Podcast creators will be able to reach and connect with new listeners—all directly within the Facebook app.

According to The Verge, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has indicated a partnership with Spotify is forthcoming, which will bring the company’s player over to Facebook.

This will allow people stream music and podcasts from their News Feed. Zuckerberg emphasised that this feature is for music, The Verge reported.

Facebook users will, however, be able to share Spotify podcasts and let people listen without having to leave the Facebook world, after linking their accounts.

Featured image source: Facebook

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