Why is Clubhouse is Splitting Up?

Ariel Ariel
Aug. 12

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #126 - Unity's Dilemma.... Check out the full article for more insights.

Clubhouse, the OG audio-only social network that exploded in 2021 and started a new (but short-lived) trend, has announced it'll be changing its platform to focus on groups instead of being a single place for everyone.

Paul Davidson, Clubhouse's CEO, tweeted that the evolution of the platform is to be a bunch of small houses, or groups, which will fit the listeners more.

What I'm hearing here is that Clubhouse had lost its relevance and needs to reinvent itself in order to justify the massive investment that it took when it was at its peak.

Clubhouse downloads

And the data backs it up quite nicely.

According to our estimates, Clubhouse has been losing momentum consistently this year. It started 2022 with around 180 thousand weekly downloads and ended last week with 79 thousand downloads. Less than half.

Even that January total is a far cry from May of 2021, when Clubhouse added 2.7 million new users in a single week. Its all-time best. Instead, it added just 3.4 million new downloads in all of 2022.

Definitely lost its relevance, if it ever had any.

Rant aside, I do see some potential merit in this move!

If we learned anything by looking at the rise of TikTok, it's that compensating creators is a big component of a platform's success these days. YouTube does it well and that's why it's so successful. Same for TikTok.

Even though every other platform already added audio rooms, and Twitter basically ate Clubhouse's lunch, there's still some potential for Clubhouse to enable monetization for creators at a scale Twitter hasn't reached yet (in terms of monetization, not total audience).

But to do that it needs to make it very easy for people who come into the platform to find stuff they're interested in. Splitting up the monolith is a must for that to happen.

Maybe if it spent as much time thinking about its business model as it did about its icon things would be different...

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Tagged: #social-media

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