Discord launches Clubhouse-like voice chat feature for audio events

"Stage Channels" are useful for live audio events with many participants and allow for a higher level of management

Discord's Stage Channels interface
Photo: Discord/Stage Channels/Screenshot
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Messaging platform Discord enters the fray for the audience that is now interested in live audio events and launched its own voice chat feature, similar to the Clubhouse app.

Stage Channels, as it was named, allows users to promote live audio events to their audiences with up to 1,000 participants. The new feature was released for use on Wednesday (31) for all platforms – Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

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Discord already offered voice channels, the difference with Stage Channels is that it provides more management resources, as the definition of moderators, who can speak and who is just a listener. The speaker is highlighted, and moderators can add, remove, or silence participants.

Platforms compete for leadership in voice chat services

Discord, which offers voice, video and text chat, was popularized by videogamers and has spread to other groups since its launch in 2015. Its new “Stage Channels” are expected to help Discord communities build engagement.

The platform, which says it has more than 140 million monthly active users, is in discussions to be sold to Microsoft for an estimated $10 billion, sources have told Reuters. Discord and Microsoft declined to comment.

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The success of the invite-only, year-old Clubhouse, which recently reported 10 million weekly active users, has made clear the potential of audio chat services, particularly as people stayed at home during COVID-19 pandemic.

Twitter plans to roll out its live audio feature “Spaces” globally by April. Microsoft-owned LinkedIn said it is testing audio features and Facebook is reportedly dabbling with its own offering.

Messaging app Telegram recently added more features for voice chats and removed their size limits. Slack is also experimenting with social audio features. Spotify said this week it had bought the company behind voice sports app Locker Room.

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