Clubhouse, the social media platform that originally gained traction for its live audio rooms, is pivoting to a more messaging-like experience with a new voice-only group chats feature. The live chatrooms are not completely sidelined – they still exist but are less prominently showcased.
Detailed in a company blog post, the update allows users to start voice chats by recording a message that they can then share with friends. The friends can respond with their own voice recordings, creating a threaded voice conversation.
The app’s interface has been revamped to focus on this new feature. Upon opening the updated app, users are prompted to start a new chat, and these chats dominate the home tab. This shift seems to be Clubhouse’s strategy to regain user engagement, which has waned since the pandemic and the rise of X/Twitter’s Spaces feature.
Clubhouse isn’t the only one having problems sustaining the live chat business model. Spotify closed its “Live” feature in April after paying €57 million for Betty Labs to compete with Clubhouse in 2021.
Clubhouse states in its blog post: “You kick off a chat by recording a voice message, and then you can send that chat around to your friends. They can then hop in and add their own voice recordings to create a kind of voice collage / conversation.” The company also notes that live rooms “will continue to be a central part of Clubhouse.”