Photo illustration by Jakub Porzycki /
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Clubhouse’s rapid growth has reached more than six million registered users (active users or those who downloaded the app to reserve their names) as of February 1st. This puts the clubhouse at the center of the cultural phenomenon that is making social audio a peak of popularity.Many years of podcasting apps and platforms never made it.
As Jeremiah Owyang explains in his analysis of Clubhouse, a live audio social app is ideal when video is too much and text too little. Clubhouse’s rapid growth, while still iPhone-exclusive, by invitation only and with no decent website, has made it an absolute winner in a category that had no fewer than 25 competitors – from upstarts like Twitter Spaces or sonar, like chalk, discord, locker room and many more – but in which no one was noticed.
Clubhouse’s invitation-only growth model reminds us of launches we hadn’t seen for a long time: the app first went online in March 2020, but it wasn’t until April that it was released in Apple’s beta test app Testflight. 10,000 users before they are published in the App Store in early October. At the end of November, Clubhouse issued 20 invitations to beta testers on Testflight, which triggered growth and triggered the almost vertical part of the graphic in the form of a hockey stick. After that, an event with actors from The Lion King broadcasting it live on Clubhouse continued the event’s upward growth of an increasingly popular app, the next notable event of which was the appearance of Elon Musk, adding even more traction to it. Much of the recent growth has been driven by Chinese users who still have the ability to use an app that has escaped the attention of the authorities and who can talk about it freely.
There is now a constant sequence of events announced in the clubhouse, as well as all kinds of casual chats with larger or smaller audiences. And there are plenty of other options for those who dare to explore. Obviously, not all is wonderful: there are skeptics, there are those who complain about the bad moderation, there are a lot of boring conversations, and there are many others that are just not worth it. From personal experience, the problems need to be addressed by setting a duration for a room to be active to avoid the feeling that “we will be here all day,” along with moderation, which means that it does not accumulate too Lots of speakers at the top of the screen (those who have already had the chance to step in should come back down as an audience) and may set a time limit per speaker.
We should keep in mind that Clubhouse’s current popularity must be seen in the context of its subscription business model, whose revenue is used in part to incentivize content creators who are able to maintain traction, similar to a model that Ev Williams does ‘Medium resembles. If that is the business model, the company will have to grow very fast to continue when users who are unwilling to pay for a subscription abandon it.
However, this is one of the few truly brilliant adoption phenomena in the tech space in a long time, and it has not yet been bought or copied by any of the big players.
It will be interesting to see how the clubhouse develops. If nothing else, social networks now have what could be a killer app for live two-way speech and open up a new field of communication – like live radio, but with no barriers to entry.