Last month, On the edge news of Mark Kuban and Fallon Fatemi’s new Fireside app, which promises to deliver a “next-generation podcast platform,” and today we can provide a better feel for the app’s functionality and interface. It is currently in beta on iOS with a limited number of testers, most of which appear to operate in venture capital or as podcasters. However, their chats are visible to anyone, even non-users, through a browser and from this desktop view, as well as screenshots of the application that On the edge has seen, we can understand what Fireside is trying to achieve.
Overall, the app is best described as a hybrid between Spotify̵
The broad focus, at least based on the conversations taking place in the app, seems to be on how Fireside can help podcasters monetize their work through exclusive calls or, in some cases, hire them at Fireside for all their efforts to podcasting. The app encourages audience participation more than Clubhouse, as users can respond to conversations without being on stage, and can enter comments or questions.
The creators of the app say they have heard that the app will allow them to host their shows and distribute them via RSS feeds to Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other podcast players, which is better aligned with Anchor than Clubhouse. One chat creator says they plan to use Fireside for hosting instead of their usual service.
Looking at the desktop view, user profiles include photo, resume, and number of followers / follow-up. You can also view the rooms that the user has hosted and those in which he has participated. The app records conversations correctly so you can listen to these past chats from the desktop. The application apparently assigns emoticons to archived chats, although it is not clear how they are selected.
After tapping chat, you can press play chat. You’ll probably immediately notice music similar to hold, initially coming from a Fireside bot called waitBOT. The bot says it plays “soothing music for you while you wait for people to join.” You can also see the description of the event as a chiron at the bottom of the screen, as well as information such as how many people listened and who hosted it.
The “jump” button allows you to go to the highlighted parts of the conversation that the host selects. While the speakers are changing during the call, you will see the photo and the name of their profile. Hammer speakers are moderators, while crown speakers are the hosts. Moderators and hosts can automatically silence people and greet people on stage.
Setting up live chat from the desktop is a little less in-depth than recorded conversations. You can only see icons and names, as well as the number of people listening. When someone’s microphone is turned on, their photo is completely opaque, and when it is muted, it is transparent.
From the application itself, which On the edge seen in screenshots, users can “respond” to conversations with emojis and sound effects. People can clap, for example, which appears in recorded conversations and solves a problem that Clubhouse users have encountered: a quiet room and no way to judge how what they say goes.
Audience members can also choose emojis and write a comment without entering a conversation directly. These comments and emojis will appear above the participants’ heads as a thought bubble. Moderators or hosts can then re-enter or address comments during the chat.
If the participants do they want to join the live chat, they can ask to join the stage by touching the emoji on the microphone and submitting a written request.
So far, this is our best view of Fireside. Fatemi declined to comment on this story and we have no better idea when the app could be launched publicly. We will update this story if we learn more.