This week marked the evolution of live social audio from a company to a feature. Since Clubhouse popularized the concept during the pandemic, Twitter, Facebook and now Spotify have rushed in with their own versions.
I’ve spent some time listening to conversations across all four products this week, and the experience feels pretty similar everywhere. These apps will distinguish themselves by the features that get speakers with big followings to stick around.
All four share a similar interface: photos and lists of people in each virtual room, an animation to show who’s currently speaking and the ability to leave the app while still listening in the background.
They differ on some particular features. Facebook and Twitter have added auto-captioning so people who are hard of hearing can tune in, as well as emoji reactions, while Clubhouse offers a personalized calendar of upcoming conversations. Spotify’s Greenroom, which launched on Wednesday, is the only one to offer a chatting function like on Zoom, where people in the room can type their thoughts or interact with each other as they listen. (See table.)