Instagram Live Mimics Social Audio Platforms With Sound-Only Option
Instagram Live introduced new features on Thursday that enable the live stream to imitate Clubhouse and other social audio platforms. Users now have the option to mute their microphones and switch off their video, two features common to pretty much every social audio service.
Social audio chat rooms don’t have video, and the group empowered to speak can mute themselves as they choose. While Instagram Live was created for a more unfiltered experience to watch and hear, the additional choices let the live streamers go for a different feel for their show, one familiar to those who have tried Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, or any of the other social audio platforms popping up this year. For instance, with only audio streaming, it’s easier for someone running an Instagram Live stream to pay attention to comments and questions from viewers and respond more quickly. The streamers may also feel more comfortable about spontaneously beginning a show, according to Instagram.
“We want to build on our Live product and offer even more ways for our creator community to drive serendipitous, engaging conversation with each other and their audience,” an Instagram spokesperson told Voicebot in an emailed statement. “By giving people the option to mute their audio or turn off their video, hosts will have the added flexibility for their livestream experience, as the added functionality could help decrease pressure to look or sound a certain way while broadcasting live.”
Zuckerberg Streams Test
Though the feature rolled out for everyone on Thursday, the new features were field-tested earlier in the week when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did an interview with Instagram’s head, Adam Mosseri, via Instagram Live. The additional elements build on the Live Rooms feature Instagram launched in March as a kind of talk show experience. Live Rooms let up to four people to broadcast at the same time, doubling the previous limit, and monetized with digital badges people can purchase.
Instagram is playing with the new features even as Facebook prepares its own Clubhouse-esque social audio platform called Live Audio Rooms. Those rooms aren’t set to appear until the summer, however, and will be focused on celebrities and influencers. They will have some extras Clubhouse doesn’t offer right now, however, including real-time captioning and fees and ticketing priced by the room’s creator for people who want to get in.