Clubhouse shifts from live audio to voice messaging

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Clubhouse, the app that once dominated the social audio space, is undergoing a major overhaul. The company announced that it is changing its core feature from live audio rooms to voice messaging groups, in an attempt to revive its dwindling user base and compete with other platforms.

What is Clubhouse 2.0?

Clubhouse 2.0 is the new version of the app that focuses on voice chats, which are similar to group Instagram stories that users can contribute to with their voice. Users can start a chat by recording a voice message and then share it with their friends or friends-of-friends. Others can join the chat and add their own voice recordings, creating a voice collage or conversation.

The app has been redesigned around these new chats, which are the first thing users see on the home tab. Clubhouse says that chats are meant to foster more intimate and personal connections among users, rather than passive listening to strangers. Users can also send private voice messages, which Clubhouse calls voicemails or VMs.

Why did Clubhouse pivot?

Clubhouse was one of the most popular apps of 2021, when it attracted millions of users and celebrities to its live audio rooms, where anyone could join and talk about various topics. The app was valued at $4 billion and had exclusive invitations for new users.

Clubhouse shifts

However, as the pandemic restrictions eased and people returned to their normal lives, Clubhouse saw a sharp decline in its engagement and downloads. The app also faced competition from other platforms that launched their own social audio features, such as Twitter Spaces, Facebook Live Audio Rooms, Spotify Greenroom, and Discord Stage Channels.

Clubhouse co-founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth admitted that they had made some mistakes in scaling the app and decided to lay off half of their staff and pivot to building Clubhouse 2.0. They said that they wanted to make Clubhouse more like a messaging app, where users can talk with their friends and make new ones.

How will Clubhouse 2.0 work?

Clubhouse 2.0 is now available on iOS and Android devices. Users can create or join chats with their contacts or discover new ones based on their interests. Chats can be public, private, or hidden, depending on the user’s preference. Users can also mute or block other users if they don’t want to hear from them.

Clubhouse 2.0 also allows users to customize their profile picture, bio, and chat cover image. Users can also earn badges for being active in chats or inviting new users. Clubhouse says that it will introduce more features and improvements in the future, such as stickers, emojis, filters, and themes.

Clubhouse 2.0 still supports live audio rooms, but they are less prominent in the app. Users can start a live room by tapping the microphone button and swiping it to the “tap to go live” option. Live rooms can be public or private, and users can invite speakers or listeners. Clubhouse says that live rooms will continue to be a central part of Clubhouse, but they will be more focused on events, shows, and podcasts.

What are the challenges and opportunities for Clubhouse 2.0?

Clubhouse 2.0 is a bold move by the company to reinvent itself and stay relevant in the social media landscape. The company hopes that by shifting from live audio to voice messaging, it will be able to attract more users who want to have more casual and spontaneous conversations with their friends or new people.

However, Clubhouse 2.0 also faces some challenges and risks. The app may lose some of its original appeal and identity as a platform for live audio discussions and debates. The app may also struggle to differentiate itself from other messaging apps that already offer voice features, such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Clubhouse 2.0 will have to prove that it can offer a unique and engaging experience for voice communication that can retain and grow its user base. The company will also have to deal with potential issues such as moderation, privacy, security, and monetization.

Clubhouse 2.0 is a big bet by the company, and it remains to be seen if it will pay off or not.

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