Clubhouse outlasted its copycats — but should keep the Champagne on ice

Meta, Spotify, and Reddit are all retreating from social audio, and it’s hard to blame them.

Two years ago, Clubhouse was the darling of social media. “Darling” isn’t even sufficient here, really — they got Oprah to do an exclusive interview.

Clubhouse logo

The audio chatroom app attracted top talent, registered ~10m users, and raised $310m.

But life comes at you fast on the internet, where success often breeds success — for other companies, who produce their own resource-rich version of your most unique features.

Clubhouse spawned audio hangout products from Meta, Reddit, and Spotify, among others, and…

Clubhouse is actually still here; its rivals are not

Some credit is due here: Clubhouse remains in operation, officially outlasting its deep-pocketed challengers.

  • Reddit talked its last Talk last month.
  • Meta’s social audio products were just wiped off the Facebook app.
  • This week saw Spotify Live (née Greenroom) shuttered as a stand-alone app.

Twitter Spaces, another product of the Clubhouse boom, may or may not have life in it, depending on how Twitter’s chief executive feels today.

If only that’s where the story ended

There’s still hope inside Clubhouse — they’ve changed strategy, waving off “broadcasting” to focus on smaller, private groups.

  • For a social platform, it’s relatively lean at ~100 employees — and claims to have “years of cash in the bank,” per Bloomberg.

But every time we’ve checked the app this week, it’s been quiet… eerily so. And there’s good reason — according to CBS News, Clubhouse is down to 200k monthly users.

Plus, it’s hard to ignore the leadership exodus. Gone over the last year, per The Information, include the heads of: Strategic Partnerships, Monetization, Global Marketing, International, News, Sports, and Brand Development. Ouch.

Some great publications have pondered the idea that social audio is already dead. They may have a point.

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