New audio features
Facebook on Monday officially announced that it is preparing a number of new audio features for its main app and for Messenger, which include Live Audio Rooms-like Clubhouse audio chats, the creation of short editable Soundbites audio clips, and Spotify integration as part of Project Boombox.
The new Clubhouse app, available only on iOS (the Android app will be released this summer), has gained a lot of popularity with themed audio chats attended by celebrities such as Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Twitter (TWTR) reportedly even wanted to buy Clubhouse for around $4bn, the amount the startup was valued at after recently raising funding (up sharply from its market valuation of $1bn in January).
Facebook is beginning testing Live Audio Rooms audio chats and plans to make the feature available to everyone in the Facebook app by this summer.
Facebook already offers Messenger Rooms for free video calls for up to 50 people, competing with Zoom Video (ZM) and Teams from Microsoft.
Facebook's enormous ability to access server capacity and use cloud services, as well as advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence features, allows the company to make the product better than Clubhouse by equipping it with more features.
For example, Facebook says it will provide audio chat recording capabilities, bring in celebrities for PR, and offer monetisation options. Until now, the ability to include music in its publications in the Facebook family of apps has been fairly limited and the company has long sought a partnership with the streaming music industry leader.
The companies have not disclosed on what terms their partnership will operate, but the integration of Spotify music and podcasts directly into the Facebook app is great news for users.