Twitter’s social audio feature Spaces continues to expand its test group, but currently if you miss a live session, you miss the conversation for good. That, however, might change soon. In an interview with The Verge’s Nilay Patel on his Decoder podcast, Kayvon Beykpour, head of consumer product at Twitter, says the company plans to build a way to natively record conversations.
“I think it should be a choice,” he says. “If you think that the conversation was worth playing back, you ought to be able to do that. I personally am a little bit more bullish on two things. One, obviously the host should be able to save it and do whatever they want. Maybe you host a Space, you save it, then want to go edit it. You should be able to do that.”
He goes on to say that the idea of recording and sharing clips gets trickier when participants want to share audio without the host’s explicit consent.
“I also think that the notion of letting the audience pick sound bites and share them as clips could be really, really powerful,” he says. “Now, the challenge with that is you have a sort of a really challenging consent issue because you have the host’s intent in mind of, does the host want this conversation to be preserved or shared? [Then] there’s the speakers, who are a different actor than the host. Their consent is really important.”
Currently, Twitter does record conversations and retains them for 30 days, but only for moderation purposes. The hosts can download that data for as long as Twitter has it, as well as a copy of the transcription (so long as the host had them turned on during the session). Its competitor Clubhouse, on the other hand, only keeps conversation recordings when a room is live, in case a rule violation comes up, but then deletes the data once the room ends.
The idea that Twitter might let users natively record sets Spaces up to be a direct funnel to podcasting. It also changes the energy of a Space from an off-the-cuff conversation to one that might sound more professional. The functionality might be similar to the forthcoming audio app from Mark Cuban and Falon Fatemi called Fireside, which will also allow people to record their conversations. The app, which The Verge checked out last week, even builds music into the live shows so that the recordings sound more like a podcast. Fireside itself will eventually allow people to distribute their recordings natively through RSS feeds.
Twitter doesn’t seem to want to align Spaces that closely with the podcasting ecosystem, but the team does appear to recognize that people want their conversations to be preserved and distributed outside of Twitter itself.
You can hear the full Decoder conversation below in which Beykpour discusses more of Twitter’s new features, including Super Follows.