Thanks to early adopters like Oprah, Elon Musk, and Drake, Clubhouse quite literally shot to fame in 2020. While meeting up in real life wasn’t possible, the audio app offered us a fun new way to connect online. But as we are on our way towards getting our lives back to normal, the question arises whether Clubhouse is truly the next big thing or just a pandemic pastime?

By now, you’ve probably already heard of Clubhouse. The audio app quickly rose to fame after being debuted in April 2020, almost simultaneously with the pandemic’s start. Required to stay inside, we craved more entertainment than ever – especially if it allowed us to connect and interact with each other.

This is exactly what Clubhouse does; it’s an audio-only app that allows users to have live conversations and form communities around topics that interest them. Think of it as a podcast, except it’s real-time, and you can even jump in (if permitted by the host).

Members only

Unlike other social media, Clubhouse isn’t all about popularity and engagement metrics. Its primary focus is building communities around conversations. There are so-called ‘rooms’ with moderators, speakers, and listeners who all tune in for live talks. Nothing can be pre-recorded, and nothing is permanent. This gives the app a huge FOMO (‘fear of missing out’) aspect, leading people to spend hours on it, hopping from one room to the next.

A couple of things further increase Clubhouse’s FOMO aspect.

First, it’s an invite-only app as it is still in its beta phase, meaning it’s still being tested and not available to the public yet. Thus, not everybody can get it: you can only join if you get invited by another user. This reinforces the app’s exclusivity. In its early days, invitations were even being sold for up to hundreds of dollars on sites like eBay and Twitter.

On top of that, the app boasted big usernames in its first couple of months. People like Oprah, Elon Musk, and Drake admitted to being fans of the app and were actively using it. This made it possible for people to talk to huge celebrities and have actual conversations with their idols.

Lastly, Clubhouse is – literally – exclusive to iOS users. Although they announced that they were working on the version for Android – the most used operating system in the world -, Android users are still waiting.

All of the above explains why the app shot to fame. In January 2021, there were 2 million users; at the time of writing this article, there are 10 million. Logically, copycats are lurking as well: Twitter reacted by launching ‘Spaces,’ and Facebook announced their ‘Soundbites’ feature.

But what goes up…

Similar to video, audio apps have become increasingly popular during the pandemic. During a time where actual social contact was cut off, we turned to the online world to connect.

Clubhouse became the digital equivalent of an after-work or happy hour at the bar, as it filled the void of meeting like-minded people in real life. It was the ultimate networking event during the pandemic. The app allowed people to communicate, build communities and expand connections all from home. Clubhouse truly is a social platform.

But of course, at some point, all social media face the same problem. Insert ‘dun dun dun’ sound effect.

…must come down

Its biggest appeal might also be its downfall: literally anyone can start a room and take the floor. And recently, there have been more and more reports of polarizing conversations. Just like any social platform, Clubhouse has fallen victim to cases of racism, anti-Semitism, and hate speech in general. Shady marketing groups and money scams are popping up like mushrooms as well. And the app hasn’t even gone public yet.

This is a huge problem. Without a moderation system and quality control, chaos can – and will – ensue.

For now, the app is still growing, though at a much slower pace. However, keep in mind that the army of Android users is still waiting to join. In the near future, this will bring more users, and with it – inevitably – more abusers.

As stated above, all social media platforms fall victim to this. The difference is, with Clubhouse, there is currently no accountability.

Pandemic pastime or meaningful medium?

This leads us to this question: will the app survive its beta phase? Clubhouse cured some loneliness caused by the pandemic, but as the number of vaccinated people is growing, will the app be able to keep track? Was it just a pandemic pastime, or can it grow into a meaningful medium?

The way we see it, the potential is definitely there. Clubhouse is proof that a live, interactive audio experience can be a powerful tool. When done right, it can be the world’s go-to audio platform for fascinating and educational conversations. If not, it might become a breeding ground for hate.

It’s up to Clubhouse to take this opportunity and run with it, because the way they handle this issue is the thing that will make or break the app.

One thing is sure: we’ll be watching listening.

Interesting for brands and influencers alike

We can hear you thinking: how can I use Clubhouse to my advantage?

Yes, the app is currently ad-free – and they have shared that they’re not interested in monetization through ads -, but don’t let this scare you off. It actually offers amazing opportunities to get creative with influencer marketing.

Because Clubhouse is based on meaningful conversations on any topic under the sun, it’s the place for an influencer to define their niche and establish themselves as the go-to expert. You can host talks, answer questions and even involve your listeners in the conversation. 

This, in turn, is interesting for brands because it gives them a direct connection to an active community. Through the influencer, brands can reach a very specific target group of attentive listeners. It’s basically a marketer’s dream come true.

Clubhouse thus offers brands considerable opportunities to increase brand awareness and reach target audiences and influencers the chance to strengthen their community and diversify their income. 
Given that the efforts to monetize Clubhouse are in full swing, we’d say now is the time to start exploring your options; check out the options of sponsored rooms, tips, pay per hour, and more!