Just a year after launching its podcast service, Facebook is getting out of the business and ending its short-form audio platform. Last April, Facebook launched its podcast service alongside Live Audio Rooms and short-form stories called Soundbites. The company’s entry into the new market came when podcasts — and audio services in general — were going from strength to strength, with the entrance of Clubhouse promising to revolutionize the sector.
Meta was seemingly all-in on the hot audio market last year, signing deals with creators and sponsoring one of the biggest podcast conferences in the country — Podcast Movement. However, for all its positivity and investments in the sector, Meta’s podcast business failed to take off the way it would have expected, and the company’s interest in the industry dwindled significantly. As a result, Meta is now laser-focused on the metaverse, which has been taking up most of its attention over the past year.
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According to a new report from Bloomberg, Meta will stop people from adding more podcasts to Facebook this week before eventually ditching the service entirely on June 3. A Meta spokesperson officially confirmed the news and added that the company will also discontinue its short-form audio product Soundbites and remove its central audio hub in the “coming weeks.” As for why the company is moving away from podcasts after just one year in the market, a spokesperson told The Verge that the decision is part of the company’s plans to “simplify our suite of audio tools on Facebook.” They also said that the decision reflects the company’s efforts to offer its users “the most meaningful experiences.”
Facebook Moving Away From Podcasts
Following the removal of podcasts, Soundbite and the audio hub, the only audio feature that will remain on Facebook is Live Audio Rooms. According to Bloomberg, it will be integrated into Facebook Live, giving users the option to broadcast with just audio instead of the usual audio and video. The report further claims that Facebook has no intention of letting users know about its decision to do away with podcasts on the platform. In a note to publishers, the company said that it would be up to them to let their listeners know about the impending cancellation.
The rebranding of its parent company to Meta in late 2021 best illustrates Facebook’s embrace of the metaverse. The company is also focusing on short-form videos as part of its plans to protect its bread-and-butter social media platform from the threat of TikTok. While Reels may not be as popular as the Chinese short-form video service, it still represents a major success for the company. Recent reports suggest that it accounts for more than 20 percent of people’s time on Instagram.