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Facebook unveils big audio push, adds podcasts, live rooms to take on Clubhouse

ANI | Updated: Apr 20, 2021 14:49 IST

Washington [US], April 20 (ANI): Tech giant Facebook is jumping on the audio entertainment and messaging bandwagon. On Monday, the company announced that it is adding podcasts, live audio rooms, and other audio-only features.
As per Variety, on Monday, the tech giant outlined a road map of features, including integrating Spotify's music and podcast player, that it's planning to bring to the Facebook app.
Facebook plans to launch Spotify's audio player, a project called 'Project Boombox', starting next week. It will provide access to songs and podcasts directly within the Facebook app.
Apart from the Spotify partnership, Facebook also plans to add the ability to stream podcasts natively on the platform. The social media giant said that overall, more than 170 million Facebook users already follow hundreds of thousands of podcast pages on the platform and more than 35 million people are members of fan groups around podcasts.
With the addition of podcasts, Facebook will "help you easily find new podcasts and episodes based on your interests, comment on them and recommend them to your friends," Fidji Simo, head of Facebook App, wrote in a blog post announcing the new features.

"And podcast creators will be able to reach and connect with new listeners -- all directly within the Facebook app," Simo added.
Facebook also is rolling out a test of Soundbites, short-form audio clips "for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven't yet imagined," Simo wrote.
With Soundbites, the company will introduce an Audio Creator Fund "to support emerging audio creators and get early feedback on the new product experience."
Initially, Facebook will test Soundbites over the next few months with a small number of creators. These include comedian Drew Lynch, accessibility advocate Lolo Spencer, Nigerian American entrepreneur Tobe Nwigwe, Molly Burke, a motivational speaker who is blind, and author-comedian Josh Sundquist.
Facebook will also take on the buzzy live-audio app Clubhouse with a test of Live Audio Rooms in Facebook Groups. That will roll out initially as a test and slated to be available to all Facebook users by the summer. It also plans to release Live Audio Rooms on Facebook Messenger this summer to let users chat with friends.
Live Audio Rooms will let fans support creators and public figures through its Stars digital-tipping feature, or donate to causes they care about. 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," Simo wrote.
Facebook users will also be able to use music from Facebook's Sound Collection in the background of a story along with the ability mix audio tracks, sound effects, voice effects and filters. (ANI)