The Rise of Social Audio: Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, & Reddit to Add Clubhouse-like Audio Features
After TikTok, Clubhouse has taken the stage as the next social media star and it has already won over most of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. What’s more, its popular debut has actually inspired mainstream social mediums like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit to tap into similar audio features.
Clubhouse’s rise isn’t something anyone predicted. Truth is, visual mediums, like video and photography, have conquered the stage and acknowledged applause for the last many years — with platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat serving billions of users. Audio was the ‘black sheep’ of the social family lurking somewhere in the background waiting for its big break and Clubhouse became the poster boy for social audio.
The invite-only app became an instant internet sensation. Even Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t stay off of it. So what is it about Clubhouse? What makes it a hot deal?
About Clubhouse – it’s nothing fancy but…
…it’s a hot deal apparently. It all began in 2020 when two probably bored techies – Paul Davison and Rohan Seth – launched Clubhouse, a new social network based on audio. It quickly gained traction with a slew of popular people such as Elon Musk and Kevin Hart endorsing it as the latest technical mainstay.
About the app – unlike the mainstream socials that are focused on photos and videos, statuses, and posts, Clubhouse does not offer photos, videos, and posts. The home screen is a white-on-beige continuous scroll of conference calls, labeled “rooms,” packed with people you may not know, grouped around topics like police brutality, music, films, designing, technology, or whatever else is on people’s minds as if to illustrate how little time you need to browse it.
Here’s how it works: You can build and enter “rooms” in Clubhouse, where you can organize and invite guests to engage in a panel discussion.
Users may act as moderators; host and manage their own discussions. The audience, the listeners, may tune in or ask to partake, if they have anything to say.
Most of the action takes place in your earphones. Clubhouse is a friendly place for all, and its cultural diversity is among the reasons for its popularity. The only catch to Clubhouse is that it’s an invite-only app, which means that you will have to receive an invitation from an existing user before you could start hosting or joining live-chats
Perhaps this is what makes it exciting? Seeing the impact Clubhouse is making, the mainstream social media players like Facebook and Twitter, and others like Reddit and Spotify have announced to add similar features. Twitter is the first to add a similar feature called Spaces. Facebook, Spotify, and Reddit too have made announcements to add a similar feature to compete.
Facebook has announced to add voice recordings, podcast listening, and Clubhouse-like rooms
Facebook is a bit insecure and possessive of its users. Seeing clubhouse’s rise to success, it decided to create a clubhouse-clone of its own.
Facebook has revealed that a number of audio features will be released soon in the coming months. This includes Live Audio Rooms, its take on the prominent Clubhouse app, which enables users to listen in on live conversations and engage in them. That’s not all, Facebook will also be releasing another cool new feature called ‘Soundbites’, where users will be able to create and share short audio clips.
Users will be able to make a buck out of the Live Audio Rooms or with Soundbites, but it’s uncertain whether this will be open to everyone or only accessible to creators with wide audiences. Users will be able to access podcasts directly from the Facebook app as well.
Twitter launched Spaces live-audio rooms for users 600+ followers
Twitter has launched ‘Spaces’, its latest feature that enables users to join virtual rooms where they can chat in real-time – host audio conversations with others.
In November 2020, the company initiated testing Spaces with a small group of customers. However this y it finally decided to roll out the feature to all iOS and Android Twitter users with 600 or more followers around the world.
Spaces is a forerunner in the rapidly expanding market for live, audio-only conversations. Clubhouse, a start-up that rapidly gained traction among venture capitalists, brought this technology to light last year.
Here’s how the Spaces works: When live discussions are taking place on Twitter, purple bubbles will pop up at top of users’ timelines. Users will be able to enter a Space by tapping on the purple bubbles. Users may tweet or message directly the Space hosts or ask to talk once there.
Users would be able to regulate their Spaces as hosts by inviting others, selecting who may chat, and banning any delinquents.
Twitter will also be introducing another cool feature, called “Ticket Spaces.” With this feature, users will be able to build Spaces that enable others to buy the ticket in order to access it. This was meant to increase users to conduct more live audio conversations on Twitter by allowing them to monetize their Spaces.
A little late to the fold, Reddit has hopped the bandwagon too
Like Facebook and Twitter, Reddit too had been keeping a close watch on the rising social audio feature trend and has added a new feature called ‘Reddit Talk’ that will let users hold live audio chats/discussions in their communities.
Over the last few years, Reddit has been working on numerous tools to improve real-time interactivity, including live-streaming and in-app messaging to help connect users with common interests.
The platform has released the first look at its upcoming audio tool, ‘Reddit Talk,’ which functions similarly to Clubhouse within subreddits and allows users to communicate more easily within the app. Have a look:
Only moderators will be permitted to initiate a live audio session inside their subreddits at first, as Reddit is presently testing the feature. However, the intention is to eventually offer greater opportunities for all members to interact and start audio discussions, with all Reddit users being able to enter a room, tune in, and respond with emojis.
Spotify didn’t want to miss out on the party: acquired Locker Room
Spotify, which recently bought Locker Room, a rival to Clubhouse, appears to be picking onto audio hype. Spotify’s purchase of Locker Room was a sound decision, as it will enable the company to expand and become so much more than a music streaming and podcast site.
The app’s focus will switch from solely sports-related to include a stronger emphasis on music and culture. As a renowned name in the same domain, this will also be a fantastic way to migrate its users to audio social networks.
Locker Room will function in a similar manner to Clubhouse in that it will encourage any user to hold live chats. It distinguishes from this app in that everyone, not just permitted creators, could strike up a debate or a discussion.
Spotify plans to explore various methods of commercializing its audio content. For example, some sessions will be open to the public and others will require payment.
The Future of Spoken Social Media
Will it live on or will it find its resting place in the graveyard of dead trends?
Some people like the idea of an interactive “podcast,” especially when it brings them into the “room” with famous people. When Elon Musk and others entered the fray, Clubhouse provided the “surprise and delight.” If a celebrity of this caliber continues to be active, Clubhouse might have a future. Particularly if these top hitters hosted Training Courses or Seminars.
As far as the growth of social audio apps is concerned, Clubhouse has already started the revolution – Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Spotify are already rushing to add social audio to entertain their users by giving them the option to choose. While Clubhouse itself may or may not stick around or make it into 2022 or 2023, social audio features are already becoming relevant to the present-day user’s needs, and the market for social audio is hot at the moment. The possibility is they will likely stay. One can’t, however, discern the popularity tho, not in comparison with the likes of social video apps like TikTok or Snapchat.
However, if your business is looking to create or upgrade its social video or audio mobile app, we invite you to reach out to CitrusBits for a free consultation. We have extensive experience with Agora and other popular third-party service providers, and we’ve built business-critical mobile app solutions for many enterprises in the US.