Live audio chat is here to stay

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Timing is everything. Facebook launched Live Audio feature 10 years ago, where audio-first content like podcasts were brought to the News Feed with the ability for anyone to join the conversation.

Clubhouse‬ wouldn’t be happening without the pandemic (more spare time, don’t have to look good, multitask), Airpods (ease to listen to audio), and growing indie creator economy (building audiences directly). It has grown from 1,500 in May 2020 to 10M users in Feb 2021.

Radio didn’t replace concerts, podcasts didn’t replace radio, and live audio would not replace podcasts. It will however take market share and influence our consumption habits and preferences.

Think about it more like evolution in audio format, rather than a standalone business (Clubhouse) taking it all.

Snapchat did not invent disappearing vertical video messages and stories, however, it did popularize it and won Gen Z hearts with it. Nevertheless, there’s now an even larger audience on Instagram Stories, Whatsapp Status, Twitter Fleets etc.

Clubhouse will have a special place for some communities, but live audio chat will become a feature on many:

1) Spotify for music and podcasting communities audio chat. Spotify just acquired Locker Room (by Betty Labs), which was sports fans focused audio chat.

2) Twitter for news and topical audio chat. A beta product called Spaces launched in Dec 2020.

3) Slack for work audio chat. An announcement was made last week that they already have a live audio channel in the beta.

4) LinkedIn for business network. An official mockup was shared earlier with a beta launch coming soon as part of LinkedIn Creator mode.

5) Facebook and Instagram have said to be working on a similar product (more of a relaunch for Facebook).

+ Just to name a few other Clubhouse clones incl. Chalk, Space, High Fidelity, Fireside, Soapbox, Scrubhouse, School Night, Rodeo, Sonar. 

++ There’re also platforms enabling you to embed live audio chat to any website and app: Jam Systems

That’s a lot of audio coming your way soon.

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