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Can Facebook make audio go viral?

Image released by Facebook showing what Live Audio will look like.  Facebook

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Facebook announced yesterday that it will be launching a “Live Audio” feature with a select group of publishers before opening up to all users next year. This new feature will bring audio content like podcasts to Facebook’s news feed and provide another online broadcasting option for publishers.

Facebook ventured into live streaming last year when it launched its live video service, but that’s proven tough to monetize. Audio itself also faces challenges going viral online.

Kai Ryssdal spoke with Marketplace Senior Tech correspondent Molly Wood about whether Facebook will be able to crack this code.

Here’s one thing she had to say about Facebook’s goals with Live Audio:

I don’t know that the goal is to necessarily make it viral. I think it’s more to make it easily accessible and to make Facebook a bigger destination for people who are looking for essentially what becomes always-on entertainment. Live streaming of anything whether it’s video or audio has been a bit of a tough sell for a lot of traditional publishers because there just isn’t the scale. You can’t assume that enough people will be watching all at the same time. I think Facebook is hoping for a couple things. One: That there are enough people there to click ads. And also that it will become a thing that makes you never want to leave Facebook because when you’re there, either a friend is live, a TV show that you like or some sort of video publisher that you like is live, or there’s an audio program that you want to listen to. 

 Click the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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