As a new year gift, Facebook Live Audio will come to all of us soon. The company launched their new Live Audio feature with a few publishers and authors, before opening up. Facebook Live video streaming is quite popular now. The new feature could bring podcasts to the news feed, and provide a low-bandwidth real-time broadcasting options to publishers in low-connectivity areas.
‘We know that sometimes publishers want to tell a story on Facebook with words and not video. Our new ‘Live Audio’ option makes it easy to go live with audio only when that’s the broadcaster’s preferred format,’ said Shirley Ip, Product Specialist, and Bhavana Radhakrishnan, Software Engineer at Facebook in a blog post.
‘We also know that publishers sometimes go live from areas that lack strong network connectivity. Though we alert the broadcaster if their signal is low, Live Audio presents another option for connecting with audiences in real time from low-connectivity areas,’ they added.
“From interviews to book readings, we’re excited about the layer of interactivity that Live Audio brings to both the broadcaster and listener. Just as with a live video on Facebook, listeners can discover live audio content in News Feed, ask questions and leave reactions in real time during the broadcast, and easily share with their friends”, their post says.
‘We know that people often like to listen to audio while doing other things; people using Android devices will be able to continue listening to a Live Audio broadcast even if they leave the Facebook app or lock their phones, while iOS listeners will be able to continue listening as they browse other parts of Facebook’, writes Shirley and Bhavana.
When publishers create a stream, they can either use their Page’s cover image as the default Live Audio image in the News Feed, or upload a different one. Notifications will be sent to a Page’s Live subscribers, and some of their most active followers.
Broadcasts have a long limit of four hours so they should accommodate a wide range of content, such as:
- Radio stations could broadcast their programs
- Podcasters could find new online distribution for their episodes
- Authors could do live readings of their books
- Celebrities could do Q&As without worrying about how they look on camera
- News anchors could broadcast audio from disaster zones/ areas of crisis where bandwidth may be too overloaded for video streaming
- Musicians could broadcast concerts or studio sessions
The first publishers with access will be BBC World Service (news radio), LBC (Leading Britain’s Conversation talk radio), Harper Collins (book publisher), and authors Adam Grant (Originals, pop psychology), and Britt Bennett (fiction addressing race).
Facebook writes ‘Early next year, we plan to make this new format more broadly available to publishers and people.’ Anyhow, for average users who have something to say but are camera-shy, Live Audio feature reduces the friction to becoming a broadcaster.
Read the Facebook Blog here– Introducing Live Audio