On Monday (April 5), invite-only social media app Clubhouse took its first step in allowing creators to monetize their late-night conversations.
Announced via a blog post on the Clubhouse website, ‘Payments’ will soon allow all users to donate to creators directly, with 100% of earnings going into their pockets.
For the uninitiated (or uninvited), Clubhouse is part-chat room, part-TED talk, where users join rooms to participate in conversations or be an audience member. There are no ‘likes’, no DMs and no written comments. Only speech.
Clubhouse has quickly become the go-to conversation platform for celebrities, politicians and aspirational keynote speakers alike.
Audiences are just as likely to hear Scooter Braun discuss the future of the music industry as they are hip-hop star 21 Savage host a quiz show. Drake and Elon Musk have quickly adopted the platform, using it as a way to speak directly to fans in their own words.
Thanks to the exclusivity of being invite-only, a bevy of celebrity endorsers and the move to online conferences, concerts and events over the past year, Clubhouse’s popularity has skyrocketed during the pandemic.
Despite being iPhone-exclusive, the app has topped at least 8 million downloads since October. According to MarketWatch, Clubhouse was valued at $1 billion in its most recent round of funding.
The move to direct-to-creator payments suggests Clubhouse is adopting a system similar to the live video service Twitch, where streamers earn ‘tips’ in real-time.
It’s proved a lucrative model for Twitch creators like Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel, who reportedly earns $1.8 million in annual revenue with over $1.5 million of that coming purely from channel subscriptions.
Whereas Twitch is largely focused on eSports and gamers, Clubhouse could prove to be its music industry equivalent.
The firm’s long-term success is uncertain, however. It’s yet to be seen how loyal creators and their audiences will be post-pandemic.
It also faces competition. Spotify recently acquired the social audio app Locker Room in a bid to compete and Facebook is currently testing its own version called Hotline.
While Clubhouse is currently being cited as ‘a music Mecca … and a hot mess’, its rise shows little sign of slowing anytime soon.Music Business Worldwide