Facebook has been pushing its Facebook Live broadcasting service for quite some time now as the company is seeking to encourage users to share precious moments from their everyday lives online, but also convince content creators to see Facebook as a viable publishing platform. Apart from a robust marketing campaign, this effort also resulted in a wide variety of new Facebook Live features. Among other things, the Menlo Park-based social media giant recently introduced new video filters and formats for its streaming service. Earlier this month, the company also debuted Live 360, a feature enabling users to stream 360-degree content. Today, Facebook announced yet another Live format, Live Audio.
As the name suggests, Live Audio is a feature that allows users to broadcast audio to their Facebook friends and subscribers. Facebook's product specialist Shirley Ip and software engineer Bhavana Radhakrishnan explained that the company noticed how many Facebook Live users prefer to only stream audio. Due to that preference, these users were forced to come up with creative solutions to circumvent the limitations of this service. Among other things, they resorted to streaming static images accompanying their audio and even using the Facebook Live API to come up with an audio-only broadcasting service. That's the main reason why the social media giant decided to develop Live Audio. However, another advantage of this feature is its ability to allow for broadcasts in areas with limited connectivity where video cannot be streamed in a reliable manner.
Interestingly enough, Live Audio will work just like a mobile radio service. In other words, users will be able to leave the Facebook app and continue to listen to broadcasts while doing other things. Much like Live 360, the Live Audio feature is still in an experimental phase. In the coming weeks, Facebook will test this functionality in collaboration with a number of popular broadcasters like BBC World, Adam Grant, and Harper Collins. After some testing and debugging, the feature will roll out to more publishers in early 2017. Given that release plan, it's expected that everyone will have access to Live Audio by spring. More specific release windows should be announced in the coming weeks. In the meantime, prepare for an influx of audio broadcasts on Facebook and rest assured that this certainly isn't the last addition to the company's popular streaming service.