The social media aspect of music and video exploded in 2020, with Clubhouse attracting users worldwide. The audio chat app Clubhouse’s meteoric rise hasn’t just attracted users’ attention, which is currently some 10 million. The significant increase in members has not gone unnoticed. Both Spotify, a music app in its own right, and Facebook have seen the rise in Clubhouse membership and have been quick to follow. Facebook is building an audio chat product similar to the popular young app Clubhouse. Facebook is known in Silicon Valley for being willing to clone its competitors. Instagram in 2016 copied one of the marquee features of rival Snapchat, called Stories.
What is Clubhouse
Clubhouse is a social networking application that has gained attention by providing a space for people to gather in audio chat rooms to talk about various topics. Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app. The company describes itself as a new type of social produce where individuals can tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people. The membership allows you to move from chat to chat and listen to different subjects, somewhat like being at a cocktail party. This app is like a networking event meets live party and provides both public and private options. You can make the rooms as exclusive or inclusive as you want and mimics real-life interactions. There are no options to record conversation, which is one of the app interaction rules. While the company cannot stop people from recording using external devices, the process is frowned upon.
Now that Clubhouse has defined a format, it needs to defend it. The company now faces its biggest challenges yet, however. The pandemic is waning, as vaccines are getting rollout out across many countries worldwide. People might be more interested in real-life socializing instead of conversations facilitated through their phones. They will also need to defend their product against other social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn, Discord, and Spotify.
Who uses Clubhouse?
Clubhouse has a large, diverse audience but what has made it popular is the interest from celebrities. Sources say that you might hear Oprah, or Chris Rock, in some of the chat rooms. They might even host chats. The celebrity interaction and your ability to participate in conversations with famous and influential people are what have made Clubhouse popular.
The app focuses on people it considers an elite clientele, which has helped it become exclusive and in extreme demand. It became a status symbol of sorts for Silicon Valley types after its launch. To get into the clubhouse you need to be invited, and the whole invite-only thing was taken pretty seriously.
The Popularity of Clubhouse Has Not Gone Unnoticed
As 2021 rolled around, the popularity of Clubhouse was countered by another social media and music company. On March 30, Spotify announced that it is acquiring Betty Labs and making an investment in a live audio app called Locker Room. While the goal is not to specifically copy Clubhouse, the acquisition of Locker Room will allow it to operate a competitor app. Similar apps have proven extremely popular during the pandemic lockdown.
Locker Room is a social audio app intended to allow sports fans to chat about various sports. Spotify plans to expand this programming to an enhanced live-audio experience for a broader range of creators and fans, covering not just sports but music and other topics. Spotify has also pushed into podcasts. Venturing into social chat apps is yet another way for Spotify to build on its broader audio-first vision.
Companies are quick to copy in the social media space. Stories made Snapchat a success. It pioneered the idea of specific content and brought some semblance of authenticity back to social media. But it didn’t take long for the functionality to come to the same competitors like Facebook. Clubhouse now faces the same issues. Snapchat doubled down on its Android app to make its business work, made the app more approachable to new users through a redesign, and aggressively pursued content partnerships.
The Bottom Line
Clubhouse experienced robust popularity as the pandemic took hold and socializing was restricted. The question for the company is whether they will continue to generate a buzz when people can go out and about. The concept combines networking with a cocktail party vibe. You can move from one conversation to the next. To use Clubhouse, you need to be invited which also makes the process exclusive. Many celebrities use the app and jump into a conversation with a star gave Clubhouse a cache. Unfortunately, no good idea goes unnoticed. It did not take long for companies like Facebook to create their version and Spotify to purchase Locker Room with the idea of expanding their conversations beyond sports.
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