Clubhouse — the invite-only, audio-based, social networking app — was all the rage just a few months ago. Designed to be an exclusive, semi-secretive hang out (Elon Musk used it), Clubhouse allowed people to communicate in rooms that mimicked conference calls, except there was no need to look at a computer screen or stare directly into your phone.
On Sunday, the company announced that the app, which was previously only available on Apple devices, would begin testing on Google’s Android platform in the US — a big leap for a company that has seen its popularity plummet since early 2021.
So while it sounded like the perfect idea to reduce Zoom fatigue and connect people during the pandemic, the initial buzz faded — despite valuation at $4 billion after a Series C round of funding.
Can the expansion to Android help save it?
Let’s look at the numbers: At its peak in February, 9.6 million users downloaded the app. Numbers dropped substantially in March (to 2.7 million) before April revealed a nose dive — just 922,000 downloads, according to Sensor Tower.
The company believes this news could turn it around: “With Android, we believe that Clubhouse will feel more complete,” Clubhouse management said in a blog.
The product will continue to be an invite-only platform, which means those eager to join will have to be on the waitlist despite dwindling interest. On top of that, they now face competition from some of tech’s biggest players.
New competition from Twitter and Facebook
Shortly after Clubhouse started gaining popularity, Twitter unveiled a similar feature called “Spaces,” which lets users charge people to listen to their live shows. That feature expanded to Android users in March, according to Reuters.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company plans to invest in audio features that’s been dubbed a “Clubhouse clone.” The company said in a blog post that the new feature — called Live Audio Rooms — will be available to anyone on the Facebook app or Messenger in the summer.
“We think that audio is, of course, also going to be a first-class medium, and there are all these different products to be built across this whole spectrum,” Zuckerberg said.
What’s next for Clubhouse?
The company has more plans, of course. It will roll out versions of the app for other English-speaking countries and then internationally. They will also gather feedback from the community, fix issues, and add a few final features before rolling it out more broadly.
You can get more details by reading their Sunday blog post. Ultimately, it may be an uphill battle to sustain interest and remain invite-only.
So who might this matter to? As we explained in a previous article:
- Companies seeking access to conversations between titans of the business, culture, and tech worlds. … for inspiration, guidance, and collaboration.
- Anyone looking for career inspiration or to stay on top of the latest trends and witness debates around the world.
- Businesses that want added exposure for their brand, product, service, mission, or idea.
- Those who will be hosting virtual events, collaborating on projects, creating podcast communities, networking with experts in other industries, and building community.