Audio-only social media app ‘Clubhouse’ has made a huge impact as one of the most-downloaded apps of 2021 with no signs of slowing down. Users report being drawn to the live conversation element on the platform, especially at a time when people are craving connection. There’s also a lot of buzz surrounding the potential for rapid growth and high engagement that come with being an early adopter. But can a newcomer like Clubhouse – an app that still requires an invitation to join – continue to draw users away from more established platforms?
Not since Snapchat invented the concept of ‘Stories’ back in 2013 has their been such a popular new widespread technological feature. Because of the massive impact Clubhouse is making in the marketplace, many of the more established social media apps are quickly developing copycats, competitors, and audio-only features that will be seamlessly included in existing platforms.
Here are a few of the major Clubhouse competitors being released in 2021…
Twitter launches ‘Spaces’ on Android, iOS, and Desktop
Twitter has accelerated the launch of their Clubhouse rival, ‘Spaces’ on both iOS and Android, releasing their update in a matter of weeks rather than months. After launching an initial beta test of Spaces in December of 2020, Twitter opened the new feature up to both Android and iOS users in March (something Clubhouse has yet to do at the time of writing this article).
Additionally, Twitter just announced they’re making Spaces available on Desktop, again, something Clubhouse is not yet doing. With a built-in pool of millions of Twitter users, established historical user data, and more accessibility, Spaces appears to be giving Clubhouse a serious run for its money.
Screenshots leaked of Facebook’s live audio feature
In February, it was reported that Facebook was building a Clubhouse competitor that would be seamlessly integrated into their existing platforms. Recently surfaced screenshots of the beta product show that the live audio broadcast experience will likely be built into Facebook’s Messenger App and/or into their Rooms feature (their Zoom competitor that launched in May of 2020).
Instagram will likely be included in this update which will be particularly interesting as many Clubhouse users connect with each other on Instagram due to the lack of person-to-person messaging on the audio-only app.
LinkedIn confirms development of audio feature for creators
LinkedIn is also throwing their hat in the ring and has confirmed they’re developing a built-in audio feature to rival Clubhouse. In a statement to Techcrunch, a LinkedIn representative said, “we’re looking at how we can bring audio to other parts of LinkedIn such as events and groups, to give our members even more ways to connect to their community.”
This update comes as no surprise considering the massive moved LinkedIn has been making in recent months towards becoming more of a social media app rather than a place for resumes and news. With the release of Creator Mode, LinkedIn stories, Live video broadcasting, and newsletters, adding an audio feature seems like a natural fit.
Spotify acquires “Locker Room” audio app
It’s not just the traditional social media platforms that are throwing their hats into the audio-only ring; On March 30th, Spotify announced that it will be acquiring Betty Labs, the company behind the live sports audio app “Locker Room”. Originally a music-driven app, Spotify has been heavily investing in podcasts in recent months. Now, “Locker Room” will be re-branded and re-launched as Spotify’s Clubhouse competitor where users can have real-time conversations with each other.
In an interview with The Verge, Spotify’s Chief R&D officer Gustav Söderström commented that people are already recording their Clubhouse rooms and uploading them as MP3 files to Anchor, Spotify’s podcast creation and hosting software. “We might want to make that more seamless,” he teased.
Slack CEO’s bold announcement
Perhaps the boldest announcement of an app creating a Clubhouse competitor came from Slack’s CEO Stuart Butterfield who revealed his company was creating a copycat while speaking to Clubhouse CEO Pete Davison in a live conversation with other tech executives…on Clubhouse. Butterfield came right out and stated, “I’ve always believed the ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ thing, so we’re just building Clubhouse into Slack, essentially.”
The social media world has a long history of making copycat technology. There’s no doubt that the audio features being rolled out will be as good, if not better, than what already exists on Clubhouse. The true test will be if the other social media powerhouses can lure users away from the fast growth and feeling of exclusivity provided to them by newcomer Clubhouse.
Let the audio games begin!
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This article was originally featured on TaggerMedia.com on April 06, 2021.