Facebook is jumping on the audio entertainment and messaging bandwagon. On Monday, it 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. That will provide access to songs and podcasts directly within the Facebook app.
“Our ambition has always been to make Spotify ubiquitous across platforms and devices — bringing music and podcasts to more people — and our new integration with Facebook is another step in these efforts,” a Spotify rep said in a statement to Variety.
Separate 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.”
Facebook also is rolling out a test of Soundbites (pictured above), short-form audio clips “for capturing anecdotes, jokes, moments of inspiration, poems, and many other things we haven’t yet imagined,” Simo wrote.
With Facebook 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. Those 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.
In addition, Facebook will take on 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 plan to release Live Audio Rooms on Facebook Messenger this summer to let users chat with friends.
The company said it will launch Live Audio Rooms to public figures on the platform to “host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans,” Simo wrote. Those include NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, EDM artist Tokimonsta, artist and director Elle Moxley, and Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin. The idea: to let influencers “can share ideas with new audiences and create a forum for discussion, without the added pressure of being on camera,” according to Simo.
At launch, audio creators will have multiple monetization options, according to Facebook. 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.
Finally, Facebook users will 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.
“Just like we did for photos and videos, we want everyone to have tools that are powerful enough for the pros, but intuitive and fun — like having a sound studio in your pocket,” Simo wrote.
(Pictured above: Facebook Soundbites creation tool)