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Will chatrooms stay popular?

Will chatrooms still be popular after the pandemic?

Clubhouse launching of chatrooms with just unrecorded conversation became a success. Now, approximately one year later, almost all the big players on social media have introduced what more or less looks like copies of the original chatroom. Will the chatrooms keep their popularity also when the world is opening up after the pandemic?

There are many theories why social media audio chatrooms became such a success. Some say it is explained by the timing as Clubhouse launched the chatrooms in the middle of the pandemic with people forced to stay at home and not socialize. So, a chatroom with lots of people was very attractive. Others said it’s because a room with just talk is restful compared to the back-to-back business video calls during the pandemic.


Clubhouse launching was also a clever playing on vanity as you can only join “on invitation”. Tesla’s Elon Musk was there and so was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (who by the way obviously became so jealous that he introduced his own chatrooms just a few months later). The magic with |”on invitation only” is that if you get one, you are one of the few selected. An old marketing trick that has worked for decades. And those who are lucky to get an invitation, can only invite one more guest, not all their cousins. This preserves the exclusivity around the chatroom.

To start with, Clubhouse gave the impression that chatroom was just a social contribution in a time of isolation because of the pandemic. However, it did not take long for the marketing people to see the enormous potential in well filled chatrooms with for instance influencers as hosts.


And Clubhouse gently introduced a way of tipping those who host a chatroom as a first payment model. The chatroom copycats were not late to follow this time either. We now see a variety of how to monetize a chatroom.

Clubhouse announced cooperation with payment system Stripe to allow users to pay chat hosts etc opening up for creators to monetize Clubhouse participation. Facebook and Twitter, who both have launched similar services,  also open up for developers and hosts to get paid for their contributions to the chats.

The Clubhouse app was first introduced to iOS by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth in March 2020 with a beta launch for Android in May 2021.

Conversations must not be recorded or shared without explicit permission. There has been some discussion about bullying, racism etc. Some countries, with a less good reputation for free speech, have banned and blocked the app.


The latest in the row of Clubhouse competitors is streaming music service Spotify that has launched what is called Greenroom.

The idea is that musicians and content creators should use Greenroom to stay in contact with their audience via live audio. The Greenroom succeeds chat app Locker Room created by startup Betty Labs that Spotify bought earlier this year.

Spotify said Greenroom is available on iOS and Android devices in more than 135 countries.

“Since bringing the Locker Room app into the fold, we’ve been working to expand its capabilities, with the goal of creating a live audio experience that will delight creators and listeners everywhere. And we wanted to do it with a Spotify twist that operated as an extension of the app already loved by 356 million listeners”, the streaming music company said.


Spotify just a couple of months earlier had bought the company behind the sports-focused audio app Locker Room to help speed up its entry into the live audio market. Today, the company is benefiting from this deal by the launching of Greenroom, a mobile app that allows Spotify users worldwide to join or host live audio rooms, and optionally turn those conversations into podcasts.

“We are excited to join forces with Spotify and continue building the future of audio – we’ll invest more in our product, open the experience to Spotify’s audience, diversify our content offerings, and continue expanding the community we’ve built,” said Betty Labs founder and CEO Howard Akumiah when Spotify bought the Locker Room.

Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Discord, Reddit and Slack have earlier launched services that are direct competitors to Clubhouse. Reddit has announced announced Reddit Talk for its sub-reddit communities. Slack’s CEO Stewart Butterfield used his own participation in a Clubhouse chatroom to announce the launching of a chatroom-like service. Telegram late 2020 introduced Voice Chat for unlimited number of persons who can speak, ask questions and make recordings.


Twitter launched its Spaces, a service similar to Clubhouse chatrooms, that is available on desktop and mobile web browsers, Android, and iOS. Twitter Spaces was opened for Android users in March 2021, before the Android version of Clubhouse app was complete. Hosts on Twitter Spaces can sell tickets for people who want to participate in paid chats.

Twitter announced that users hosting live audio chats on its audio service Spaces will be able to charge a fee for people to join.

Twitter said that during a number of months, a limited group of users will be able to sell tickets to access their Spaces conversations They will themselves decide about the price for tickets and how many tickets they are willing to sell.

Hosts will keep the majority of the revenue, while Twitter will earn a “small amount,” the company added.


“Hosts put time and effort into creating space for conversation, connection and fun. Now, we’re working on a way for hosts to be rewarded for the experiences they create by getting monetary support, while providing listeners with exclusive access to the conversations they care about most”, Twitter said in a blog post.

Facebook’s audio services were announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It includes a number of studio features and audio chatrooms.  Creators, including hosts in the chat rooms, will be able to charge fans who want to attend the chats.

Fidji Simo, Head of Facebook App, said “We’ll also bring Live Audio Rooms to public figures so they can host conversations with other public figures, experts and fans. In addition to bringing this to Facebook, we also plan to release Live Audio Rooms on Messenger this summer so you can easily hang out with your friends, too.”


“When Live Audio Rooms launch, fans will be able to support  their favourite creators and public figures through Stars, or donate to causes they care about. Soon after launch, we’ll also offer other monetization models, like the ability to charge for access to a Live Audio Room through a single purchase or a subscription.”

“Podcast creators will be able to reach and connect with new listeners — all directly within the Facebook app.”

It now remains to be seen if the chatroom buzz is a time limited effect of the isolation and lack of social life during the pandemic. Will they stay attractive also when the roll-out of vaccines start having good effect and pandemic restrictions can be lifted?





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