Not just Clubhouse itself, but the specific social audio network format and ease of use that it pioneered.
As more traditional forms of media continue to see declines, people are increasingly looking to newer, more digital native forms of media like social networks, online streaming services, and podcasts, which have seen steady growth over time.
Clubhouse vs. Podcasts
A lot of traditional talk-radio style shows have migrated to podcasts, but they are a decidedly different format. The are generally planned, formatted, edited, polished, and then released at a later date. They don’t generally have the same feel as live talk shows, with the exception of a handful of podcasts which are just recordings of live conversations.
But even if the podcast is a full live conversation that is simply recorded, since they are not also broadcast live (and can thus be edited before release), the same level of listener trust isn’t there for podcasts.
Lower Barrier for Creators
Another thing that Clubhouse does brilliantly is significantly lower the barrier for participation and creation of audio content, especially when compared to podcasting. Anyone can create a room, invite others, and just start talking. If it’s interesting and attracts more listeners, it rises to the top. You are free to do this whenever you want, and many of the top channels occur on a regular basis at the same times every day – just like talk radio. All for free.
Now compare what it takes to publish a podcast. You have recording, equipment costs, editing, hosting (which is not free), transcription (optional), and distribution through iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc. among others. And even after you have done all that, building the audience for it is much more difficult, and discovery or new content is not as built-in as it is on Clubhouse.
The limitations of Clubhouse being a mobile app also effectively level the playing field. Podcasting setups can get pretty intense. No expensive Yeti mic or fancy studio setup is required to use Clubhouse. Everyone just has to use their phone. There is no significant differentiation in audio quality other than a quiet background.
Instant Global Access to Live Talk Shows
Clubhouse offers instant access to live conversations from friends, peers, experts, and thought leaders all around the world. It’s the new talk radio, only better since you’re not limited to the five AM radio frequencies you get in your own geography. And even better still, because you can also participate and ask questions too – also live and broadcast for all to hear. No radio station phone numbers to remember or menus to navigate. Just raise your hand and wait if you want to ask a question.
The social network audio model that Clubhouse has built feels like the future of talk radio. And I’m here for it. The market potential here is huge.