Instagram wants more people to go live at once, so today, it’s launching Live Rooms. The feature, which will be available globally, allows four people to video chat in a live broadcast, compared to the previous limit of two. Instagram’s blog post today says it hopes the feature encourages people to start a “talk show or a podcast,” host a “jam session,” or collaborate with other creators.
Going live with more people means the rooms could attract larger audiences. The followers of everyone participating will see the live room and, depending on their notifications, be pinged about it. (Anyone blocked by the active participants won’t be able to join the live, though.)
The easy comparison to make here is to Clubhouse, the buzzy social audio app that lets people go live in rooms. More than 10 people can speak at once, and rooms can reach up to 8,000 people before they’re full. Facebook is reportedly building a direct competitor, but Instagram Live could capture some people who might be interested in Clubhouse but can’t access it currently — it’s invite-only and only available through iOS devices.
But unlike Clubhouse, Instagram Live requires people to be on-camera, which comes with the added pressure of looking good and being in a photogenic environment. Clubhouse is thriving because it only requires a phone and lowers the audio expectation. (People regularly chat when they’re in the car, out on a walk, or just in a loud place.) Still, Live Rooms will likely do well on the platform as people fall back on their already-established followers and bank on the high energy more people in a room can create.