A report published by Bloomberg suggests that Twitter had the firm intention of taking over the social network in vogue during the pandemic: Clubhouse.
For how much? For Twitter, at least at the time of the talks, Clubhouse was worth $4 billion. It was certainly one of the most viable options for the ephemeral and live audio app to raise money; especially when its monetization system is not yet fully defined. In any case, after the boom that the social network underwent at the end of 2020 and its expansion to other languages during the first months of 2021, the audio format has taken the lead. It was inevitable that it would attract the attention of the major social networks.
Thus, the 10 million downloads (approximate) that Clubhouse had generated were enough of a lure for Twitter and its purchase proposal. A proposal that did not last long. According to leaked reports, which do not clarify who was the first to approach whom, the relationship between the parties had cooled since the first joint talks. Right now, everything points to the fact that both Twitter and Clubhouse have gone their separate ways and have not sat down at the same table again.
There is no shortage of evidence and no shortage of reasons. The idea of Twitter taking over Clubhouse could have killed the essence of the latter in a short time. And without its essence, it would make no sense in today’s social networking landscape. However, the good thing is that, at least, Clubhouse now knows how much it is worth to the majors.
In the case of Clubhouse, the intention to close a financing round was leaked a few days ago. With an unknown amount, it did transpire that this would leave Clubhouse with an approximate valuation of 4,000 million dollars. A few days later, this value makes sense as it coincides with what Twitter would be willing to pay for the social network during its talks.
The funding round would answer one of Clubhouse’s biggest problems at the moment: how to maintain the social network’s appeal and sustain itself without a clear business model. For the former, Clubhouse announced the launch of Tips; a sort of Patreon for its content creators that gives them the possibility of making a profit from their activity within the application. Clubhouse demands too much attention from users and it is not clear how this relationship will evolve in a post-pandemic world. The latter is still up in the air.
Attracting and keeping its users is, in short, one of the objectives and needs for Clubhouse’s survival. Especially now that all the major social networks have opted for a well-known strategy: if you can’t buy them, copy them. What once happened with Snapchat and its exclusive ephemeral videos is now a reality on all platforms. Stories are in each and every one of the most used social networks; and with more or less success, they are part of them.
Now it is the turn of audio, which has been the trend since the rise of podcasts. Slack is already working on its own version and LinkedIn and Facebook are exploring possibilities. Twitter, however, is in the lead. Audio Spaces is its own version of a Clubhouse within the application; and for the time being, there are no plans to monetize it in the short term. With the launch of this option within Twitter, which has been in the works for months, many analysts are wondering about the reason for the purchase of Clubhouse. Defined as absurd by many, others would point to a strategy of taking on unexpected competition. If TikTok got out of hand, this would not happen with Clubhouse.