Twitter says anyone with at least 600 followers can now host Spaces, its Clubhouse-like social audio rooms that launched last year in limited testing. An update should be rolling out now to users on iOS and Android, so you might not quite see the feature yet.
In choosing the 600 threshold for access, Twitter is basically saying that it expects these users will have the best success finding an audience to listen to their diatribes. But it’s also saying it wants as many people as possible to try the feature, and perhaps those that take to it won’t defect to Clubhouse for their group audio requirements.
“These accounts are likely to have a good experience hosting live conversations because of their existing audience,” the company said in a blog post. “Before bringing the ability to create a Space to everyone, we’re focused on learning more, making it easier to discover Spaces, and helping people enjoy them with a great audience.”
Social audio rooms are a fast-rising trend popularized by upstart Clubhouse, which launched at just the right time to capitalize on isolation caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. Users on Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces can host live audio chatrooms that somewhat imitate the feeling of holding court in a bar.
Social audio race — After expanding access to the invite-only app, Clubhouse rocketed to more than 10 million users in a few months, seeing appearances from major celebrities like Drake and Elon Musk. That popularity has led just about every other internet platform to create its own clone. Facebook and Reddit are among the other companies gunning to grab market share in the burgeoning space where captive audiences of listeners make for a lucrative advertising opportunity.
Twitter has the potential to stand out with its clone because, as its announcement today notes, it already has a massive base of users who’ve developed large audiences on its platform.
It’s yet to be seen if people will continue to use these products as more of the world gets vaccinated and returns to normal life. The numbers aren’t looking great for Clubhouse, however, with new downloads on a steady decline. Because discussions are live, people might be too busy to tune in at a specific time. Nonetheless, Clubhouse has raised more than $100 million dollars since January alone.
Creator economy — Twitter intends to add a way for users to monetize their Spaces discussions in the future for ticketing so a news website like The New York Times, for instance, could charge for access to exclusive sessions. Clubhouse already offers some users the ability to accept direct payments from listeners.
Twitter is releasing other ways for creators to monetize their content, including “Super Follow” and a profile “tip jar.” It recently acquired premium newsletter company Revue. The tools could help Twitter compete against rival platforms like Substack that have given creators more ways to go independent and make a living online.