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What is the Clubhouse app and why is it suddenly popular everywhere?

Clubhouse is an invite-only social networking app for iOS and Android that allows users to engage in audio chat rooms with up to 5,000 individuals. Live talks are held on the audio-only app, and users can engage by speaking and listening.

Paul Davison and Rohan Seth of Alpha Exploration Co. originally presented the app on iOS in March 2020, followed by a beta launch for Android in May 2021. Clubhouse has stated that it would continue to be invite-only in order for their staff to be able to monitor the expansion of their user base while also developing the app to support a bigger audience. Clubhouse intends to open its doors to the general public in the future launch the full Android version in 2021.

Clubhouse is a social networking software built on audio-chat that is part talkback radio, part conference call, and part Houseparty. Users can listen in on talks, interviews, and discussions between intriguing people on a variety of topics — it’s similar to listening to a podcast, but live and with a degree of exclusivity added.

The clubhouse is exclusively open to those who have been invited. You can’t just download it and sign up for an account on the app store. You must be invited to join by an existing member, just like in a real-life country or yacht club. Elitism in the real world, but virtualized.

The chat room functions similarly to a conference call, with some participants speaking and the majority listening in. When the talk is finished, the room is closed, much like a phone call. Unlike Twitch, where live-streamed movies remain on the platform for visitors to watch afterwards, live audio-chats in conversation rooms vanish. (This does not, however, prevent users from recording the live dialogue.) For example, a YouTube user live-streaming an Elon Musk-launched conversation room).

How do I get a Clubhouse invite?

To join, an existing Clubhouse member must issue you an invite via their app, which will allow you to create an account. If you’ve been invited, you’ll receive a text message with a link to a sign-up page in the app.

Users of the Clubhouse, on the other hand, cannot just invite anyone who wishes to join. At start, just two invites are offered to existing users.

 

The designers declared in a recent blog post that their goal for 2021 is to finish the app’s beta stage so that they may eventually “open up Clubhouse to the whole globe.”

What has Elon Musk got to do with it?

Clubhouse has been around since March 2020, when it was founded by Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth, two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. It had only 1,500 subscribers and was worth $100 million in May 2020.

But it hit the headlines this week when Elon Musk conducted an audio interview with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev on Clubhouse. The event surpassed the app’s conversation room capacity and was broadcast live on YouTube. It aided Clubhouse’s ascension to the top of the startup rankings and generated a rush for invitations. Clubhouse has 2 million users as of February 1, 2021. Clubhouse has announced additional features, including as tipping, tickets, and memberships, that will allow users to directly pay creators through the app. Clubhouse, which has secured further funding since its launch, is currently valued at $1 billion and is a Unicorn startup like AirBnb, Uber, and SpaceX.

According to Reuters, the demand for membership has escalated to the point where there is now a market for them on sites like Reddit, eBay, and Craigslist. Idle Fish, Alibaba’s second-hand marketplace in China, sells invitations.

During his conversation with Tenev, Musk summed up the appeal of Clubhouse, saying that “context switching is the mind killer.” When users log onto Clubhouse with alerts turned off, the goal is that they may focus on one issue at a time.

Why was it so popular in China?

The app’s worth isn’t limited to its exclusivity.

Despite the fact that China is plagued with censorship, suppression, and government control, Clubhouse managed to elude China’s firewall for several months, unlike other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. It has grown in popularity in recent weeks, attracting significant numbers of Chinese users and providing them with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “binge free expression” and engage in conversation on themes that are normally taboo on the mainland, such as Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

“Chinese users, primarily tech investors and professionals, are using the platform to discuss topics that would normally be restricted back home, such as democracy,” according to Quartz.

Clubhouse invites were being sold on Chinese e-commerce sites to eager Clubhouse users. Invite codes were selling for between 150 and 400 yuan ($23 – $61) on marketplaces like Xianyu and Taobao.

Clubhouse, on the other hand, has been restricted inside China as of Monday, February 8, 2021.