Back then, when Snapchat released stories, people were loving it! These were photos or videos people posted, which lasted for a day. For Snapchat, which started as a chat service where texts disappeared right after viewing, this was the practical next step. But as with anything becoming popular, people came in, pouring money to buy Snapchat. Facebook offered Evan Spiegel – CEO, Snap Inc – an offer of $3 billion. Spiegel humbly declined. Thereafter, sailed his company to a successful IPO.
At that time, an 18-year-old developer named Michael Sayman joined Facebook. He conceived the stories feature inside of Facebook platforms and put forward this thought in front of the execs within Facebook. And in 2016, Instagram introduced Instagram Stories. “The product was a carbon copy of Snapchat Stories, lifting everything including the name“, according to INSIDER. It eventually found its way to Facebook and even WhatsApp. Later on, every social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn joined the ride with “Fleets” and “LinkedIn Stories” respectively. Even Google brought its news stories! I know right?
Fast forward a couple of years, short one-minute videos took on traction. For not just being small and easy to consume, but for the sheer creativity people used to edit them, it took quite many people to the “Influencer” club. The product we’re talking about is the infamous short-form video platform Tik-Tok. It posed a unique way to consume content. The videos themselves and the recommending algorithm kept people glued to the app for hours and hours.
As this took of big time, like Stories, others also wanted a share of the pie. Enter Instagram Reels, Facebook’s answer to Tik-Tok. It allowed users to create 15 sec videos, edit them and share it on the platform. Users could also access reels under a separate tab. This gained more popularity in India as the government there blocked access to Tik-Tok mid 2020. Thereafter, YouTube introduced a similar product called YouTube Shorts.
While for Tik-Tok, it was all that it did, for Instagram and YouTube, they were an additional feather to their metaphorical cap, which was aptly integrated to their flagship product. This posed a risk for Tik-Tok which then announced a creator’s fund of about $200 million to support its creators.
There was another player who tried to capitalize this market with by combining the best of two worlds(original tv shows and short-form videos), by providing QUIck BItes of 10 minute video-series’. The company was called Quibi. It was headed by Jeffrey Katzenberg – a producer and former chairman of Walt Disney Studios and Meg Whitman, previously president and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. They raised $1.4 billion just before the pandemic, but as people were locked in their homes, they no longer wanted quick bites of shows and series which led to its imminent ending!
Continued from here…
Social Audio Rooms
Amid the lockdown and the pandemic, people were stuck to their phones and scrolling mindlessly in Instagrams and Tik-Toks. Day after day, these platforms saw people flocking into in huge numbers and spent way more than they would have, had people not been locked up in their rooms. It was the time for something new.
Enter Clubhouse – The invite only social audio platform. Which is basically a platform where people can tune in to listen to people speaking, like a live podcast. No chat features or the option to share pics and vids.
To join a clubhouse room, you have to be an iOS user and you needed an invite. That made it all the more exclusive. As Supreme has taught us, Exclusivity = Clout. This made it shoot through the roof. As it started gaining popularity, celebrities started doing their own clubhouse rooms and announcing them on Twitter, which exponentially increased its existing clout.
Now, as in any fad, everyone wanted to start their own Audio thing. And start they did! The following are some of them as according to Natasha Mascarenhas of TechCrunch: –
- Facebook’s Clubhouse rival looks a lot like Clubhouse right now
- Discord is launching new Clubhouse-like channels for audio events
- LinkedIn confirms it’s working on a Clubhouse rival, too
- Swell launches its app for asynchronous voice conversations
- Slack wants to be more than a text-based messaging platform
- Twitter Spaces arrives on Android ahead of Clubhouse
- Spotify is getting into live audio because of course it is
- Career Karma built audio rooms
- China’s Clubhouse clones via Protocol
It is to be noted that though it caters to a niche audience, it had 2-3 million weekly users around December, just 7 months after it launched.
As in the case of Tik-Tok, audio is Clubhouse, Clubhouse is audio, unlike Twitter and others for whom, it is just an added functionality. This makes it important for them to incentivize its creators to keep making content.
In that direction, they had earlier announce an accelerator program to support its creators. It aims to support 20 creators with the tools and resources to produce content.
This week in a blog post, they have announced that they’ve started testing out a monetizing feature called Clubhouse Payments which will allow users to directly pay the creators in a bid keep its creators continue with the platform.
For Clubhouse, they have to keep their creators happy, if they are to scale up and continue to compete with the other players because just inventing a new concept is not enough to sustain in the space.
The following tweet is an interesting take on a plausible future for clubhouse if they continue their status quo.