Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has officially joined the battle for social media audio with the launch of its Live Audio Rooms in the U.S. –a realm dominated by Clubhouse and Spotify. Mark Zuckerberg’s company wants to compete full-throttle by offering users live group chat and podcast features.
Fierce Competition Anticipated
According to The Verge, Facebook’s new app arrives barely a couple of days after Spotify released Greenroom. It also comes three months after the launch of Stage Channels by Discord, and four months after Reddit Talk. Seven months prior, Twitter had made Spaces available for download, and 15 months earlier Clubhouse was making its debut.
Further, both LinkedIn and Slack are preparing their own versions of a similar app, at a stage where Clubhouse downloads and overall impact among consumers are fading.
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Live Audio Rooms’ dealbreaker in the audio streaming space is that it will offer enough space for up to 50 people to speak and interact at the same time, with no limitation on the number of listeners –as opposed to Clubhouse.
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Launch and Features
On Live Audio Rooms, users will be able to listen and join live conversations with personalities, experts, and influencers about subjects of their interest. According to The Verge, Mark Zuckerberg’s company has confirmed the availability of Live Audio Rooms on both the Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps.
As part of the launch campaign, the company has so far allowed U.S. personalities to use it, with the intent of making it available for all users in the coming months.
By offering podcasts to users, Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms has raised the bar against both Clubhouse and Spotify, since users will be able to listen to podcasts on both a mini-player or a full-screen player that offers several playback controls –also allowing users to listen off-screen.
According to USA Today, platform admins can allow or restrict moderators, group members, or other admins to create an audio room. In public groups, both members and visitors can listen to the audio room, but in private groups, only members can listen.”
Facebook apps director Fidji Simo told USA Today: “The audio market is fundamentally very fragmented. Each platform is doing something very specific, be it live audio or podcasts (…) We are still in the initial phase of this product.”