What Happened to Clubhouse?
Six months ago, it was worth $4 billion. Now it’s #60 in the App Store’s ‘social networking’ category right behind Chispa, Skout, and Hit on Me!
Like many old people desperate to stay relevant, I made a Millennial friend. Only I hit the Millennial jackpot, which is the kind of jackpot that, instead of money, spits out excuses for why it doesn’t make enough money.
So when Igor Hiller — who was an Instagram comedy star, acted in the show Dear White People, started a podcast, and is now a life coach — told me early this year that we needed to join Clubhouse right away so we could monetize our influence there, I did it.
We were the lucky early adopters, joining right after the live, audio-only social media app was seeded to the music and tech industries. Other people were paying up to $77 for the free invites we got. It was so elite that, in a demographically genius move the Soho House would envy, Clubhouse was only available on the iPhone.
We’d have access to hundreds of simultaneous rooms of live chat, each a cross between a TED talk and a call-in radio show. Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Tiffany Haddish, Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Drake, and Jack Dorsey were hosting rooms, talking to randos. We, Igor said, could be the Clubhouse randos who become the Clubhouse somebodies. Millennials don’t merely fantasize about becoming famous. They fantasize about becoming famous on a medium that then becomes famous.
By April, Twitter entered talks to buy Clubhouse for $4 billion, which is more than the value of Air France, Six Flags, Sunoco, Shake Shack, or Fannie Mae. It turned Twitter down, instead raising a round of funding that also valued it at $4 billion.
Igor and I did not become powerful through our Clubhouse power base. But it wasn’t our fault. No one did. Clubhouse is now a sad, empty MySpace shell of social media. It’s sixtieth in the App Store’s “social networking” category, right behind Chispa, Skout, and Hit on Me!, which is an app that describes itself as a “video platform for people who look for new friends especially hot singles and get more followers” and I’m guessing is “for prostitutes.”