Clubhouse, the social audio app that gained popularity amid the pandemic, is looking to shake up its platform with launching private communities called “Houses”. The company’s new offering allows any individual or group to create their own curated ‘House’ in the Clubhouse. Users can register to create houses from today, but Clubhouse says it will approve new houses slowly to learn from feedback and adjust the product accordingly.
“Think of the houses as private hallways just for your loved ones,” reads the house company’s sign-up page. “You can come in at any time, jump from room to room, meet friends and meet their friends. Houses usually have regular meeting times and everyone can nominate a few friends, so the House grows through people you trust. Or you can keep it closed if you like – either way it’s fun.”
A spokesperson for Clubhouse told TechCrunch in an email that the company sees the new house offerings as more intimate than clubs because they are built by invitation and anyone in a house can start or plan a house room, while clubs are more public and open to anyone who may wish to join. The company sees houses as dinner with your friends and clubs as the events and shows you go to in your city.
Clubhouse CEO Paul Davidson announced the change series of tweets, noting that each house will have its own “personality, culture and content moderation rules.” Davidson said that by splitting Clubhouse into “many clubs,” the platform will be able to address several issues. For example, he noted that the Clubhouse serves more than one community and that not everyone wants to talk about the same things, which means it can be difficult to find the right rooms. He went on to say that communities should be able to split into new ones.
“Communities must be able to undergo mitosis as they grow – so they can split into new ones and intimacy increases,” Davidson said in a tweet. “This is how /r/music begets /r/hiphopheads. This is why classrooms max out at a certain size, and why people form smaller circles as the house party grows. The world is becoming more remote and getting together with people you like should be easier.
Davidson says he believes there will be “a lot to tweak” with this shake-up, but that Clubhouse has “years of capital in the bank” to fund its vision and that the company is committed to the product for the long term.
The registration page to create a house asks you to enter your name and Clubhouse username. From there you will be asked what you would name your house, how you would describe it to others, and who you would like to invite to be “founding members” of your house.
Live audio became popular amid the pandemic as people around the world were confined to their homes, and the buzz around the Clubhouse even led to Twitter and Meta release their own social audio clones. But as restrictions have been lifted around the world and live events have returned, Clubhouse is looking for ways to retain users. For example, the company recently run games in the app and added text chat feature in his voice rooms, which is similar to what people might see on YouTube or Twitch.
Today’s announcement is clearly an effort to achieve the same goal of retaining users and possibly attracting news. By splitting Clubhouse into private communities, the company likely wants to compete with the likes of Discord. The introduction of Houses could draw people back to the platform with the promise of offering users access to smaller and more curated interactions.