It was the app of the moment… just a few months ago. Clubhouse, the social network of ephemeral audio rooms that promised to revolutionize conferences and that had agglutinated a significant investment, it has fallen in downloads dramatically until (finally) launching its version for Android, which may become its last refuge for growth in Asian countries.
Born with a system that promoted FOMO or fear of missing out in March 2020, with only availability on iOS and access by invitation, Clubhouse soon made headlines for rooms where Elon Musk, Drake or Oprah Winfrey appeared to speak normally. The parent company behind Clubhouse -which took off in Spain a year later, last January- Alpha Exploration Co., was seen as one of the most promising … until the copies began to come out like mushrooms.
After that is its slowness to reach the immense Android market (they did it in May), enough time for Twitter with Spaces, Spotify with Greenroom, Telegram with Voicechats, Discord with Stage, and even Slack or Reddit released functionalities that were not similar, but traced. The last to join was Facebook, which also tries to revive -for the moment in the United States- its immense but dormant number of users with the booming audio market. Seven ‘copies’ in total in just over a year of life.
Clubhouse proposed – sorry, it proposes – a marriage between the rise of podcasts and the immediacy of Twitch, but the limits of patents and intellectual property do not seem to exist in technology. As happened to the storie format of Snapchat to Instagram and then replicated a thousand times, or Foursquare at the time that other apps and services included geolocation, Clubhouse seems now that it will fight not to become a new MySpace of the moment. His latest bullet, entering the Asian market with force with Android.
9 million downloads to 900,000 (before Android)
Clubhouse registered a 922,000 downloads worldwide in April, a brutal drop from 2.7 million of installations in March and the figure of 9.6 million in February, according to data from SensorTower, which however has not obtained information after its launch on Android.
The app has been trying to make movements to favor user retention. In April, the platform partnered with Stripe to allow users to send money to Clubhouse speakers. The company said the tool is “the first of many features that will allow creators to get paid directly,” a claim that has been floating around for months.
India now seems to be the last nail to hold on to. Since its debut on May 21 on Android, Clubhouse has found millions of fans in the country, where most of the US app downloads occurred in the first half of June, according to Quartz data.
Clubhouse’s popularity in India, your last chance?
When Clubhouse launched on iOS in March 2020, it grew rapidly in the United States and caught the attention of app users around the world. But in countries dominated by Android, it was literally like it didn’t exist. And that removes most of the Asian market in one fell swoop.
In the first 22 days of June, more than 5.2 million Indians downloaded Clubhouse. Between June 1 and 22, a whopping 80% of Clubhouse downloads came from India, which is already among the app’s top markets, where it has also coincided with a time of heavy lockdown following outbreaks of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
At Clubhouse they know the potential of such a crowded market. On June 2, co-founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth hosted a Clubhouse conversation translated into Hindi in real time.
The 7 plagues (copies) of Clubhouse
There is no doubt that Clubhouse has managed to gain a foothold. But time is running out. And surely they have already given too much advantage.
Twitter debuted its Clubhouse rival Twitter Spaces late last year., as a test. At first, only iOS device users could use the service, and only a limited number of them could host their own rooms.
Clubhouse allows dozens of speakers to speak at the same time and gives users a choice between hosting public or private rooms. The number of Clubhouse users in a single room is limited to 8,000, something that at the moment the new applications do not come close.
Spotify, meanwhile, launched Greenroom after the purchase of Betty Labs, creator of the sports-focused social audio app Locker Room, for an undisclosed amount, which he has finally released in a separate app.
Monetization, the other nod
Across countries, Clubhouse has launched its three-month Creator First program, in which Clubhouse will assist creators with production, creative development and promotion, and provide financial support through brand partnerships.
Unlike other social platforms, meeting rooms Clubhouse doesn’t have engagement metrics like “likes”, “comments” and “shares”Perhaps that is why the social network has announced that it is studying the possibility of allowing users to link their Twitter and Instagram accounts to achieve greater visibility.
Will we talk about Clubhouse in a year? Place your bets.