Its been a year since Facebook made a hefty investment in live video, today Facebook is adding an live audio streams option for its users. The feature will initially be being made available to publishers, is made to work hand in hand with the existing video streams with a lower-bandwidth option. Don’t expect your local radio stations to have it yet, as Facebook has opted to initially partner with Britain’s LBC radio, the BBC World Service, Harper Collins, and authors Adam Grant and Britt Bennett. But come 2017, live audio streams will be made available to everyone, Facebook said.
Unlike Android users who will be able to close the app and continue to listen, live stream experience on iOS will not be similar. iPhone users will be required to have Facebook open on their mobile devices the entire time, according to Facebook — a feature that seems likely to limit engagement among listeners.
Facebook Live Audio feels like a relatively minor component of Facebook’s suite of tools for media companies. But publishers would still likely rush to embrace it if audio streams performed well in the News Feed.
I’m personally curious to see how media houses and people in Uganda will use this feature, especially when it comes to live audio of police confrontations might be less conspicuous, and thus easier, to broadcast than video streams.