What about the Clubhouse audio app? “It was hype, but the competition has caught up with them”

The hype around chat app Clubhouse seems to be over. The social media platform was very popular during the lockdown, but has lost many of its users with us. And that has to do with two things: the cafes are open again and the competitors are coming up with similar applications.

During the lockdown, Clubhouse seemed to be the place to be. The social media app, where you can follow lectures in rooms and talk to others, grew into a real hype at the beginning of this year. Even Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk thought it was worth giving a lecture on it. Result: many people found their way to Clubhouse.

Everything happens live

But that rapid growth now seems to be coming to an end. “The novelty is gone,” said Chris Demeyere, social media specialist at Punchline. “When Clubhouse came up at the end of last year, it was still new. The app was unique because you could hear people doing it live and you could chat with friends. You could also end up in a conversation with people you looked up to. For example, I was in a lecture with Gary Vaynerchuck (a well-known marketer, ed.) and Kanye West. If you were selected, you could even ask a question. That’s something other apps didn’t have.”

According to Demeyere, the live aspect made Clubhouse something that attracted many people. The app grew very strongly, although initially it could only be downloaded by people who had an iPhone. Only much later, in May, an Android version was released. 

For example, I was in a lecture with Kanye West. If you were chosen, you could even ask a question

The lockdown and closed cafes also ensured that many people sought refuge for an app like Clubhouse. 

“If there are no interesting lectures, you drop out”

But that’s over. Demeyere thinks Clubhouse has ended up in a vicious circle: “If there are no interesting lectures, people will not come quickly. They then drop out. But to give lectures you need an audience. So one cannot do without the other . I just had a look. There was hardly anything to do.”

According to the social media specialist, there are several reasons for Clubhouse’s relapse. Firstly, the competitors have not been sitting still. Twitter has a similar platform with its Spaces. And Facebook and Spotify have announced they are working on a Clubhouse clone. “That will only amplify the exodus,” says Demeyere. “Famous twitterers who were active on Clubhouse are switching to Spaces. There they will reach their followers faster than on Clubhouse.”

If there are no interesting lectures, people will not come to watch soon

In addition, Clubhouse is an app that asks a lot of you. Unlike, for example, TikTok, where you scroll from one video to another, the talk app requires you to actively listen or participate in conversations. According to Demeyere, this is also one of the reasons why people drop out. In the end, the relaxed corona measures ensured that people visited each other again in the flesh and left Clubhouse behind.

“Clubhouse becomes a niche app”

Does Clubhouse still have a future? Demeyere thinks so. “It will continue to exist as a niche app, for people who are really interested in lectures and conversations. Now that they know the app, they will be less involved with Clubhouse and come and watch every now and then. Not like Instagram or TikTok, which are apps that you use several times a day.”

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Meanwhile, Clubhouse is trying to find users in countries where the app hadn’t yet penetrated. The introduction of the Android version in May caused a strong growth in the number of users (from 2 million in January to 10 million in May, ed.) and rooms where the conversations take place (600,000 compared to 300,000 in May, ed.). But the new users are mainly in countries where Clubhouse was not yet active. Now the makers of Clubhouse are trying it in India, a country of 1.3 billion inhabitants.

Demeyere is not surprised that the app is catching on there. “India mainly has Android users. And the country has banned other platforms such as TikTok in the past. Therefore, people there will be more inclined to try something new that is less controversial for the authorities.”

Ethan Hansen

Ethan Hansen founded snewslog which was lately acquired by People News Chronicle.

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