Facebook is planning to start rolling out its podcast product next week, on June 22nd, and, eventually, add a feature that’ll allow listeners to create clips from their favorite shows.
According to an email sent to podcast page owners and viewed by The Verge, hosts can link their show’s RSS feed up to Facebook, which will then automatically generate News Feed posts for all episodes published moving forward. These episodes will show up on a “podcasts” tab that doesn’t appear to be live yet, but that the company teased in a wider announcement about audio initiatives in April. (You can see it below.) Podnews first reported the date earlier this month, and at the time, Facebook confirmed with The Verge that a limited number of page owners would have access. However, emails are still being sent to additional page owners, suggesting the rollout might be wider than initially anticipated.
“Facebook will be the place where people can enjoy, discuss, and share the podcasts they love with each other,” the company says in this email.
Podcasters who publish on the platform will also be opting into Facebook’s podcast terms of service, which you can view here. It’s a relatively standard agreement, although it doesn’t have clear limits around what exactly Facebook can do with the podcasts distributed on its platform. For example, it grants Facebook the rights to make derivative works, which may be necessary for distributing shows in certain formats, but also might alarm podcasters who are protective over their IP.
Along with the option to distribute their show through Facebook, podcasters can decide whether to enable clips, which the company says will be created by listeners and last up to one minute in length. These “may help increase visibility and engagement.” Presumably, these will be easily shareable outside of the podcaster’s page. Short-form clips have been a key way for Twitch streamers to share moments from their lengthy streams, and Facebook seems to hope the same idea can apply to podcasts.
It’s unclear how Facebook is determining what pages belong to podcasters. My page, for example, received the option to publish Why’d You Push That Button?, a show I co-host. I have only published links to webpages that have the show embedded, however, not the actual link to my podcast episode or RSS feed. I’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and will update if I hear back.
Broadly, though, this update comes as the company begins a legitimate push into audio. Mark Zuckerberg hosted the first Live Audio Room in the US yesterday, and in April, the company also announced plans for a feature called Soundbites, which will live within the News Feed. The idea behind Soundbites is to give users a “sound studio in your pocket” and allow them to create short, shareable clips.
With podcasts, Facebook is seemingly banking on the fact that podcasters already use the platform to foster conversation with their listeners and to promote their shows. Directly publishing to the platform might make it easier for them to accomplish those goals while also giving people a reason to never leave the Facebook app. It’s also possible Facebook sees potential in podcast advertising, which Spotify has focused its efforts on as it launches exclusive shows and its own ad network.