Late last month, Discord introduced Stage Channels, a Clubhouse-like feature that allows Community servers to broadcast audio conversations to a group of people without everyone talking over one another. Now the company plans to make finding those broadcasts and the servers that host them easier.
In June, Discord will roll out a feature called Stage Discovery. You'll see it as a new interface within the app that will highlight some of the Stage Channels that are broadcasting at that exact moment, including those from servers of which you're already a member. You can tap any one of them to start listening without leaving the Stage Discovery interface. However, if you decide to click through, you'll find Discord has made a small but, in its view, significant tweak to the Stage Channels interface. At the top, you'll find a new icon you can click or tap to join the community that put together the discussion you're listening to currently.
Discord is positioning Stage Discovery as another tool servers can use to grow their numbers. "Audio events are great, but they're a window into Discord's communities," says Jesse Wofford, a senior product marketing manager with the company. "We don't want you endlessly scrolling through Stage Discovery. The goal for us is that you look at these audio events as a way to find a new community."
The introduction of Stage Channels and now a new tool to find those conversations comes following a year of significant change for Discord. Thanks in large part to the pandemic, the company has seen people flock to its platform. In 2020, year-over-year user growth doubled, and now Discord says it has more than 150 million active monthly users and 19 million active servers. Last year, Discord also started rebranding itself, an effort it's continuing today, to distance itself from its previous identity as a mostly gaming-focused app. Moving forward, you'll see the company continue to invest in features that allow it to play to a more diverse audience. As just one example, it's working on adding support for ticketed audio events sometime later this year.
At the same time, the company is aware of the perception that it's moving away from the narrow focus that made it stand out in the first place but feels like it has built its platform in a way that allows you to engage with it however you want. "It's something we think about every day," Wofford says. "Ultimately, you're opting into these communities. Even if a million more people join Discord tomorrow, your experience is still what you choose it to be."