Clubhouse is open to all, but...

Ariel Ariel
2 minute read 7/30/21

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #72 - It's All About the Money. Check out the full article for more insights.

Clubhouse, the audio-twitter, has been making big moves over the last few months. First, it rolled out an Android app, and last week, it officially left the private beta and made it available to everyone.

Expanding to Android scored Clubhouse a big win in terms of downloads, so naturally, you'd expect opening up to the public will have an even bigger impact on downloads.

Did it?

Downloads of Clubhouse

Well... No. Not really. It barely moved the needle.

Downloads on July 22nd, the day after the announcement, grew to 91K across the App Store and Google Play globally, according to our estimates. That's only a tiny bit higher than the 75K downloads recorded on the 21st, which were also a bit lower than the 83K downloads the app recorded the previous Sunday.

That peak, also, was very temporary. Downloads sloped downward as the week progressed. On Wednesday, Clubhouse saw 56K new downloads. About a half of last week's peak.

Wait, what?. Everyone expected Clubhouse to be a runaway success once everyone can access it. But there are a few things to consider. The first is that audio-first social media is in its infancy. The numbers Clubhouse saw so far were nice but not really comparable to any of the incumbents. The second is that there's something special to exclusivity, and not just how it impacts demand but also how it impacts expectations.

When I'm invited to a beta, my expectations are pretty low. I'm excited by the special access I have and am ready to tolerate things that aren't 100% polished. I'm already ready to click around a bit more and spend more effort getting value out of the product.

Out of beta, I expect things to work perfectly. If you've used Clubhouse before, you probably know that it doesn't. Nothing is broken, but the experience isn't awesome. The way you discover rooms is too simple, there's a lot of weird audio spam, and because it's all real-time, you have to be there to enjoy it. That's tough, especially when you consider it's morning here and night somewhere else.

I stick by what I've been saying the last few times I covered Clubhouse in the newsletter. To become a serious destination, it needs to figure out a way to reward its creators.

Oh, and in case you're thinking, what about adding text-based DMs? I specifically skipped over that because I think it's a basic enough component that's necessary for the app and not something to write about. No one's going to download Clubhouse to DM...

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

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