Over the last few years, visual mediums, like video and photography, have dominated the social media space — with platforms like YouTube and Instagram having billions of users respectively.
Meanwhile, audio was lurking in the background waiting for its
chance to dominate the social media scene.
The rise of audio wasn't something many saw coming. The boom of this medium can largely be attributed to the ‘quarantine boredom’ that many consumers dealt with during periods of lockdown.
Audio social apps are intriguing to users because it is a unique and contemporary means to connect with your peers. The intimacy tied to the medium is also a major reason why audio social apps flourished in 2020 and continue to thrive going forward.
Clubhouse could be considered as the audio app that started it all. Since its launch in March 2020, the application has garnered a massive 8.1 million downloads
The app operates like an audio chatroom where users can listen to or participate in live conversations. This can be a means to connect with friends and family, share opinions with strangers or gain insight from experts.
Clubhouse is a space that is open to everyone
, and this diversity and inclusivity is why it has been such a hit with users.
However, all of this comes with a catch. Clubhouse is an invite-only application, which means that an existing user has to send you an invitation in order for you to be able to access it. The app is also only
available on iOS.
Despite the excitement surrounding Clubhouse, it is not free from scrutiny. Many are wary of the lack of regulation on the app and how this can contribute to the spread of fake news and hateful conduct in online spaces.
Additionally, the app has also fallen victim to privacy and security issues, with the Stanford Internet Observatory outing that user data could be accessible by the Chinese government
Although there are a few bumps in the road, Clubhouse has given audio a new lease on life and its future looks bright.
Spotify seems to be catching onto the audio buzz as it recently acquired a competitor to Clubhouse, Locker Room.
The acquisition of Locker Room was a clever move from Spotify, as it will allow the app to branch out and expand the brand into more than just
a music streaming and podcast platform.
Additionally, this will be a great way to convert its audience onto audio social platforms as an existing brand in the same field.
Previously a sports audio application, Locker Room is set to undergo a rebrand and change in name
since Spotify acquired it. The content on the app will shift from purely sports-related to an additional focus on music and culture.
Locker Room will operate in a similar fashion to Clubhouse, allowing any user to host conversations. It differs from this app in this sense as anyone can start a conversation, not just approved creators.
According to Spotify, the app will experiment with different ways of monetising its audio content. For example, some discussions will be free for everyone to access and some you will have to pay for.
Locker Room will join Clubhouse as a direct competitor for applications like Discord or Twitter Spaces.
Twitter plans on throwing its hat into the social audio game with Twitter Spaces, set to launch near the end of April 2021.
The product is currently in the testing phase and has been since November 2020, meaning that there are only beta testers able to create Spaces, although anyone with the Twitter app can listen in on a discussion.
Once the application has its official launch, any user with a public account will be able to host their own discussions. If you see a purple circle around a profile picture, that user is hosting a ‘Space’. If you are interested in joining, you simply need to tap on the host’s photo.
There is also the option for hosts to tweet their Space out to their followers. To join this, you would just need to tap on the purple box within the tweet.
Starting your own Space will work similarly to creating a Fleet: all you have to do is tap on your profile picture, swipe until you see the spaces option and then tap on the ‘start your Space’ option. Twitter Spaces appear to outperform Clubhouse
in the following areas:
- Spaces are available via the Twitter app, which is accessible on iOS and Android. For now, Clubhouse is only available on iOS.
- The audio quality on Spaces is better as it is built on Periscopes existing infrastructure.
- Audiences can react during Spaces with emojis; this feature is not available on Clubhouse.
- Spaces are more accessible as anyone with the Twitter app can listen, you do not need an invite to join.
Although the platforms are quite similar, it will be interesting to see if Spaces outperform the booming Clubhouse once it launches. The possibility of this is likely as it is an added feature on an existing (and popular) platform instead of being an entirely new application altogether.
For more information, visit www.amasocial.co.za
. You can also follow amaSocial on Facebook
or on Instagram