When Twitter was launched Spaces, its live audio feature, Reesha Howard was eager to start broadcasting. She already had a YouTube channel, so she was used to sharing her personality online, but Spaces came up with a new way to vary her voice. She has rapper Soulja Boy’s DM; did he want to do an interview in his space? Shockingly, he said yes. Then she hosted a game show for The Game. She spoke to Charlese Antoinette, the costume designer for Judas and the Black Messiah, a few days before Antoinette won an Oscar. “I consider myself to be the official queen of the Twitter spaces,” Howard says. Not bad for someone who only had 87 Twitter followers a few months ago. Today, thanks to its listeners, it has around 4,000.
Decades ago, if you heard someone’s voice live on the internet, it often meant online radio show. Then podcasting came on the scene, and anyone with a mic and laptop could upload their conversations to the web. Now the rise of live audio applications, run by Clubhouse’s to burst Success This past summer is reshaping the landscape again, in the same way social media disrupted the blogosphere years ago: Anyone with a smartphone has the tools and the platform to reach millions of ears. With this shift comes an opportunity, both for upstart startups hoping to reshuffle Silicon Valley’s pecking order and for digital content creators hoping to make their mark in the format of the day.
The creators, in particular, are spending a moment. After years of fighting to be taken seriously, they are finally recognized – and paid – by Silicon Valley companies for their work and influence. There are more companies that specifically revolve around support creative economies, from writers on Substack to adult artists on OnlyFans to C-List celebrities on Cameo. Large companies are now investing more in creators, recognizing their role in the company’s bottom line. A platform is only as good as its content, and that content goes to the people who create it.
The major live audio apps have all announced or released features for creators in the past few weeks. Twitter added a tip pot and experience live events with tickets to the spaces. Discord opened an event “scene” last month that looks like Clubhouse, and will also offer new ways for broadcasters to charge money for their events. It also incorporates better discovery features to help Discord users find live events. Facebook has launched an audio creation fund to kick start its Live audio rooms, launching later this summer. And Clubhouse has started paying select creators a monthly allowance of $ 5,000 to host original shows as part of its Creator First accelerator.
While Clubhouse has its fair share of influencers its new program is already focusing on funding more emerging talent. Beyond the monthly allowance, Creator First will provide other resources and promotional opportunities for creators of Clubhouse-specific content. It’s the kind of support, especially early on, that could help people make a living on the app – and which in turn could keep the year-old start-up loyal. “Being on the app has been a huge opportunity for little creators,” says Amanda Dishman, who hosts a Clubhouse room called The Salty Vagabonds Club, dedicated to alternative lifestyles. Dishman, for example, delights audiences with stories of life on a boat. Clubhouse named the show as a finalist for the Creator First Accelerator earlier this month. “I haven’t tried any other audio apps yet, and so far I’m fine with that,” she says.
Clubhouse will need that kind of loyalty to survive. The platform is widely credited with launching the recent audio boom, but its user growth is slowing: the app recorded 922,000 downloads in April, up from 9.6 million in February, according to Sensor Tower. (It might see a boost this month, now that it finally has an Android app.) Many of its users have accounts on other platforms as well. Analytics company App Annie found that 77% of Clubhouse iPhone users also use Facebook and 60% also use Twitter. Clubhouse must prove that its content deserves to integrate a whole new platform into your digital routine. It’s a hurdle that other established apps don’t face when venturing into live audio – a group that includes not only Twitter and Facebook, but also Reddit, Spotify, and LinkedIn.