Clubhouse Business Model And The Rising “Social Radio” Platform

Clubhouse is an “audio-first social app” which hosts audio-only digital events, with a sort of discovery feed where you can find events of any time, organize them as a host, join them as an active participant or just listen to as a listener. Clubhouse doesn’t make money, and it’s backed by venture capital firms.

Value PropositionClubhouse offers a range of value propositions for its users: – Audio Conversations: The platform provides a unique space for users to engage in real-time audio conversations, discussions, and debates. – Networking: Users can connect with like-minded individuals, industry experts, and influencers through audio rooms and clubs. – Content Variety: Clubhouse offers a wide range of content, from educational sessions and entertainment to industry-specific discussions. – Exclusivity: The platform’s invitation-only model adds an element of exclusivity, attracting users who want to be part of a select community. – Interactivity: Clubhouse allows for active participation, Q&A sessions, and direct engagement with speakers and hosts. – Knowledge Sharing: Users can gain insights, knowledge, and expertise from discussions and speakers on various topics.
Core Products/ServicesClubhouse’s core products and services include: – Audio Rooms: The platform hosts real-time audio rooms where users can participate in discussions or listen to conversations. – Clubs: Users can join or create clubs, which serve as communities around specific interests or topics. – Follow System: Clubhouse features a follow system that allows users to keep up with their favorite speakers and topics. – Moderation Tools: The platform provides tools for room hosts to manage discussions and maintain a positive environment. – Discoverability: Users can explore rooms and events based on their interests and preferences. – Monetization Features: Clubhouse may introduce monetization features for content creators, such as ticketed events and tipping.
Customer SegmentsClubhouse’s customer segments include: – Users: Individuals seeking a platform for meaningful audio conversations, networking, and knowledge sharing. – Content Creators: Those interested in hosting discussions, panels, or rooms to share their expertise or insights. – Influencers: Individuals with a significant following who leverage Clubhouse to engage with their audience. – Professionals: Industry professionals looking to network, share insights, and stay updated on relevant topics. – Businesses: Companies and organizations exploring Clubhouse for brand awareness, thought leadership, and engagement. – Event Organizers: Users who organize and host events, conferences, or discussions on the platform.
Revenue StreamsClubhouse generates revenue through several revenue streams: – In-App Purchases: The platform may offer in-app purchases, such as virtual goods or premium features, to enhance the user experience. – Advertising: Clubhouse can introduce advertising options for brands and businesses to reach its user base. – Subscription Services: The platform may introduce premium subscription tiers with exclusive features and content. – Monetization for Creators: Clubhouse can offer monetization options for content creators, such as ticketed events, tips, or revenue-sharing arrangements. – Sponsored Rooms and Events: Brands and businesses may sponsor or pay to host exclusive rooms and events on the platform. – Data Insights: Clubhouse can provide data insights and analytics to businesses and creators for a fee.
Distribution StrategyClubhouse’s distribution strategy focuses on exclusivity, user engagement, and community building: – Invitation-Only Model: Clubhouse maintains an invitation-only approach, creating a sense of exclusivity and scarcity. – User-Generated Content: The platform relies on users to create and host rooms, encouraging user-generated content. – Community Building: Clubhouse fosters communities through clubs and interests, allowing users to find like-minded individuals. – User Engagement: The platform encourages active user engagement through discussions, Q&A sessions, and audience participation. – Content Curation: Clubhouse curates and promotes trending rooms and topics to enhance discoverability. – Partnerships: The platform may partner with influencers, brands, and organizations to host exclusive events and discussions.

A quick look into Clubhouse

Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app. No texts, no video, no images, just audio. It feels like a podcast where multiple people are allowed to speak about a topic or have hangouts without the need to share pictures, videos, or texts – All interaction is audio-based. 

At the same time the format of content looks more like a story, where the content is live and you won’t find it (as of now) in a recorded version. Thus, Clubhouse looks more like a modern version of radio, where though the social part is a key element.

People can freely form digital audio-rooms where the can talk about anything. Those virtual audio rooms, are managed by a few moderators working as hosts, some people can participate in the session by speaking up and many others can just join in to listen to the conversation.

According to the creators, “Clubhouse is a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.”

A brief overview of Clubhouse

Although Clubhouse gained a lot of attention since the start of 2021, it was launched in April 2020.

However, due to the large amount of audio data being processed at a time, the app has been made an invite-only app, meaning that you cannot access the app unless you are invited. According to its developers, it is still at the beta testing stage, and the limits surrounding the app will be removed after a while.

The application is only available on iPhone currently, the android app is now being developed; upon completion, it’ll be launched with the full version of the app. Android users worldwide are way more than iPhone users; therefore, it makes sense to start with the iPhone since it is an invite-only platform.

Due to the policy of Clubhouse to control the number of active users on the platform, it was made an invite-only app, that is; anybody can download the app, but you cannot register unless you get an invite from your friend.

Every user is allocated one invite upon successful registration, although based on activity on the app, more invites are given to some people. Each person is responsible for everyone he invites to the app because every user has the details of the person who invited them on their profile. Hence, it is crucial that you only invite reasonable, responsible people that won’t soil your reputation publicly.

This has immensely helped control the crowd, fake accounts, unnecessary trolls and parodies because of the limited amount of invites, and nobody wants to invite a nuisance onto the app.

The app interface explained

After launching the app, that takes you to the hallway, like a physical hallway where you wait for a meeting, just like “Explore” on Instagram or your “Timeline” on Twitter. So that is sort of an audio feed.

There are many rooms in the hallway, and you can join in public rooms that suit your interests just as you would join different threads of discussion on Reddit through numerous subreddits, like r/Ecommerce r/digital marketing and so on. 

There are many such rooms on Clubhouse where thousands of conversations are going on. With more time on the app, you’ll get better room suggestions to join based on your preferences.

How does a Clubhouse Room look like

Unlike many social media apps that communicate through video or audio, the mode in Clubhouse is more organized.

Each room has a moderator, and each moderator can have a few co-moderators. Any person who wants to contribute has to “raise his hand” to get a recognition to speak; the moderators may as well turn off the option for raising hands temporarily until they wish to turn it on.


“Raise Your Hand” button

This helps to Improve organisation by permitting questions or additions only when needed, making it a very controlled space.

What’s the Clubhouse value proposition?

Clubhouse is a space where unlimited learning gets fostered. Due to the fact that you cannot get registered randomly, it makes it rare to have people who have nothing to contribute to the website, because users are very cautious of who they give invites to.

However, once the invite-only model has exausted we can expect Clubhouse to become as any other social media platform, with user-generated content as a primary format on the platform.

As of now, it gained traction quickly, thanks to its successful launch where it attracted high ranking individuals in the world – billionaires, icons in the tech space, digital marketing experts, celebrities, influencers, ex-CEOs of companies and many more men of substance are in these rooms, discussing their experiences and decisions with people and giving room for others to learn.

Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Hart, Chris Brown, Tiffany Haddish, Ashton Kutcher, and many celebrities in the entertainment space have been active on Clubhouse, having engaging discussions in the rooms. Even Elon Musk visited a Clubhouse room a few weeks ago, where he discussed and shared his views with the people in that room.

Clubhouse has proven to be a platform where knowledge can be boosted, by giving you the opportunity to be in discussions with people you won’t ordinarily have access to; learning from their vast experience and using it to boost your business.

If you are in a room where you don’t enjoy the discussions, you may “leave quietly.”

Commercial applications for Clubhouse

Clubhouse is a new social media platform, as such, it will find its sweet-spot in terms of commercial use cases. Let’s explore some of the ways now people are using Clubhouse for business.

Business meetings

Clubhouse may be used for business meetings. You can create a scheduled appointment with a date and a time, invite your colleagues to the room, and set a reminder for the conference, just like you would in Zoom or Google meets. People who are camera shy or more confident without a video may raise their points more efficiently when a business meeting is done via Clubhouse.

Finally, you can join several clubs in Clubhouse. Clubs on Clubhouse are a smaller community of people who interact and raise topics for discussion, just like a Facebook group. However, it is totally audio-based. Therefore, it is a subgroup where you can have personalized conversations.

You have a brief overview about Clubhouse, how to join, what Clubhouse is all about, and how it can serve as a personal and business development tool while facilitating connection with successful people; hence, boosting your business.

A new way of doing podcasting

Clubhouse does look like a podcasting platform. But it’s way more than that. It improved in a way toward podcasting because it added a social component (user-generated content and interactions) and a format that looks more like radio and stories.

A new format for digital events

For those involved in digital events Clubhouse is extremely interesting because it can be used as a new platform to build up an engaged community of users.

The rise of social radio platforms

Clubhouse looks a lot like the modern version of radio, with a strong component of social media. While radio, as a media, has been adapting to other formats like podcasting. Clubhouse brings that to the next level. A “social radio platform” that fully user-generated, with thousands of digital audio rooms and shows, where any show can be produced, from wider audience topics to niche and microniche level subtopics.

How does Clubhouse make money?

Clubhouse is still in the beta stage, and even though it has been already valued a billion dollars, it doesn’t make any money.

Andrew Chen, from venture capital firm a16z, which invested in the platform, explained:

The team has been building features to make it easier to moderate rooms and clubs, as well as working with creators to develop a business model that rewards the entire ecosystem as Clubhouse’s community grows. I love that this orientation contrasts with the typical ad-based business model that has supported social networks in the past. This centers the experience around community and quality, rather than clicks and volume.

Therefore, a16z is proposing alternative ways to monetize the platform that can be classified as below:

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How can you make money on Clubhouse?

Just like on a social media, podcasting platform or radio you might be able to make money by organizing digital events and therefore via:

  • Gathering sponsors for your events.
  • Lead generation.
  • Brand awareness/Brand building.
  • Community building.
  • Product placements.

Key takeaways

Clubhouse has gained traction quickly as an audio-only social app, working as invite-only in its beta version. It doesn’t monetize yet, but it might explore monetization strategies beyond advertising and more skewed toward enhancing a community of content creators (subscriptions, membership, and more).

Clubhouse is at the same time a radio platform, a social media platform, a podcasting platform, and a business networking app, and an entertainment app, where users can gather to discuss any topic of their choice.

Key Highlights

  • Audio-First Social App: Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app that focuses solely on audio content and conversations. It allows users to participate in digital audio events, discussions, and rooms with a variety of topics.
  • Unique Content Format: Clubhouse’s format is similar to live radio or podcasting, where users can join rooms and engage in conversations with moderators and other participants. The content is live and not recorded.
  • Invitation-Only Model: Initially launched in April 2020, Clubhouse is an invite-only app that restricts access based on invitations. This helps control the influx of users and maintain a sense of exclusivity.
  • Moderated Audio Rooms: Each room in Clubhouse has a moderator who manages discussions. Participants can raise their hand to speak, contributing to a more organized and controlled conversation environment.
  • Value Proposition: Clubhouse offers a unique learning and networking experience, allowing users to engage with high-profile individuals and experts in various fields. It has attracted celebrities, influencers, tech icons, and more to engage in discussions and share insights.
  • Commercial Applications: Clubhouse can be used for business meetings, creating a new way to hold conferences and discussions. It also serves as a potential platform for podcasts and digital events, providing a distinct format for engagement.
  • Monetization Strategies: While Clubhouse currently doesn’t make money, it’s exploring alternative monetization strategies beyond traditional advertising. The focus is on fostering a quality community experience and providing avenues for content creators to earn through events, sponsorships, lead generation, and more.
  • Social Radio Platform: Clubhouse is likened to a modern version of radio with a strong social component. It offers a platform for user-generated content in an audio format, akin to a “social radio.”
  • Community Building: The app encourages community building through clubs, which are smaller groups of users discussing specific topics in audio-based conversations.
  • Future Potential: As Clubhouse develops further, it aims to remove the invitation-only model and expand to Android devices. The platform’s unique audio-based approach has drawn attention and positioned it as a potential disruptor in the social media landscape.

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