During the COVID-19 pandemic, Clubhouse emerged as a hit social audio platform, capturing the attention of celebrities, venture capitalists, and everyday users looking for a way to connect and be entertained.

However, despite its initial success, Clubhouse quickly faded into obscurity.

Launched in early 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Clubhouse is a drop-in audio app that allows users to join “rooms” and have discussions.

The app’s invite-only structure, combined with A-list celebrity participation, made it immensely popular.

Users could join “rooms” to listen to and take part in conversations on topics that interested them, often featuring well-known figures like Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk.

However, the buzz around Clubhouse soon died down, leading many to wonder what happened to the platform and whether it still existed.


Clubhouse initially gained attention due to its exclusivity and invitation-only system. However, the app has since opened up to the public, allowing anyone to join.

To use Clubhouse, users must download the app, select their interests, and connect with other users and social media accounts.

The app features various Clubs and Rooms based on topics or interests, both public and private.

Users can also explore the Hallway to see updates from followed users and join or start their own Rooms or Clubs.

The Rise and Fall of Clubhouse

Clubhouse experienced rapid growth during the pandemic, with a valuation of $4 billion at its peak.

However, the founders later admitted the company had expanded too quickly.

In April 2023, Clubhouse laid off 50% of its staff, partially attributing the decision to the complexities of remote work and the pandemic’s end.

Despite its initial success, Clubhouse struggled to maintain its momentum as the novelty wore off and users shifted their attention elsewhere.

It is worth noting that Clubhouse faced a variety of issues that impacted user experience and sparked criticism.

One major concern was around audio quality.

As Clubhouse is an audio-focused app, poor audio could be disruptive and diminish the overall experience.

Users would frequently accept speaking invitations in noisy environments or with inadequate signal and microphone quality. Despite these issues, speakers were often allowed to continue speaking, leading to a less enjoyable experience for listeners.

Additionally, the app took on a more professional tone, resembling conference calls and stage panels rather than a relaxed social media environment.

Initially, this appealed to content creators, but over time, it became a box-ticking exercise with little return in terms of audience engagement or collaboration opportunities.

Furthermore, the app faced allegations of racism, antisemitism, and misogyny, attracting mainstream attention. These serious accusations raised further concerns about the moderation and safety measures on the platform.

Tech Giants Launched Their Clubhouse Clone But With Less Success

In an attempt to replicate Clubhouse’s success, tech giants began developing their own audio-focused platforms.

Leading online retailer Amazon introduced Amp, a live “radio show” platform that allowed users to act as DJs, playing songs from Amazon’s licensed catalog fee-free.

It also offered users the opportunity to discuss various topics while curating their own music selections.

Despite Amazon’s ambitions for Amp, the app faced challenges from the start and failed to gain significant traction compared to Clubhouse.

Amp launched in March 2022, long after Clubhouse had already secured its dominance.

While Amp enjoyed high-profile content and a lineup of exclusive shows, it still struggled to attract a substantial user base.

Monthly active users for Amp remained relatively low, and engagement with the platform declined over time, TechCrunch reported, citing internal documents.

It is worth noting that Amp’s slow expansion beyond the U.S. may be attributed to licensing requirements and other challenges related to bringing the platform to other countries.

Additionally, Amazon made minimal efforts to market Amp across its various platforms, such as its storefront and Alexa devices.

Furthermore, some of Amp’s high-profile creators left the platform, and the company’s attempts to incentivize creators with a reward program were met with skepticism due to a lack of details.

Social Audio Platforms Face Challenges

The decline in popularity of “social audio” platforms reflected the overall market trends and challenges faced by companies in the space.

More specifically, Clubhouse and Amazon’s Amp were not the only audio platforms that experienced a significant drop in monthly downloads.

Twitter’s Spaces, as well as Meta’s Live Audio Rooms and Spotify Live, have also faltered.

As reported, Spotify announced back in April that it has closed down its live audio app Spotify Live, which was seen as a direct competitor to Clubhouse.

“After a period of experimentation and learnings around how Spotify users interact with live audio, we’ve made the decision to sunset the Spotify Live app,” a Spotify spokesperson said at the time.

The digital music streaming service said that it no longer makes sense for Spotify Live to operate as a standalone app, noting that it will continue to explore live features on its main platform.

Likewise, social media giant Facebook integrated its Live Audio Rooms offering, which is its Clubhouse clone, into its Facebook Live experience last year. But the experience was short-lived as the platform discontinued the service by December.

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