Today Matthew Leske, product manager for Hangouts On Air, announced a new Studio Mode for higher-quality audio. From his Google+ post:

Since we launched Google+ a little over a year ago, we’ve seen a thriving community of musicians connect with fans in really cool ways. In particular: singer/songwriters like Daria Musk bands like Suite 709 and many others are using Hangouts On Air to perform live for global audiences, and jam with fans face-to-face.

We wanted to make these live hangout concerts sound more like the stage, so today we’re rolling out Studio Mode. As a musician, all you need to do is start your Hangout On Air, click settings, and switch from Voice to Studio Mode.

Studio Mode optimizes your individual audio for music instead of conversation, and no else needs to change a thing! Check out the video with +Suite 709 to hear the difference (and for the full effect, listen with your favorite pair of headphones).

Honestly, I feel like I should care about this, but I’m not sure why. I’ve largely ignored Hangouts – I hate video conferencing, and prefer my social interactions in 140 character nuggets. But if bands can use this to connect directly with their audiences, then that’s awesome.

Here’s a video from Suite 709, a band based right here in ATX, highlighting the new mode.