TikTok's Kudzi Chikumbu. Photo: Daniel Prakopcyk
Creator Economy

Twitter’s Clubhouse Rival Gets Serious; Q&A With TikTok’s Chikumbu

Photo: TikTok's Kudzi Chikumbu. Photo: Daniel Prakopcyk

Twitter unveiled an expanded version of its social audio feature Spaces, and with it, the first big test of whether Clubhouse can withstand the attack of clones coming from big tech companies.  

Any Twitter user with 600 or more followers will now be able to host a live audio conversation. The expansion gives it a big leg up over Clubhouse. Even though Twitter’s user growth has slowed, the company still counts just under 200 million daily active users compared to 10 million users for Clubhouse as of February. Plus, people can use Twitter on Android and iOS; Clubhouse is just available for iPhone users who get an invite code, though it's testing an Android version. 

Notably, Twitter is already working on a way for people with large followings to make money through “Ticketed Spaces.” Hosts will set the price and number of tickets for exclusive access to conversations in exchange for giving up a small, unspecified, cut of ticket sales to Twitter. Clubhouse has taken a different route by enabling tens of thousands of creators to use payments, a feature that asks listeners to tip their favorite hosts. Unlike OnlyFans and Patreon, Clubhouse doesn’t take a cut of such transactions. 

Both strategies could quickly run into trouble: creators want regular income, and tipping may prove too ephemeral. And fans, already listening to audio chats for free, could hesitate to pay for Spaces. 

The Takeaway: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Discord and others all scrambling to release their own audio-focused features amid the rise of Clubhouse and podcasting. Clubhouse and Twitter realize creators are driving these products and are prioritizing ways for them to monetize their time. These moves put the pressure on Facebook to offer similar features as it rolls out its own audio-only products. 

One more thing: Neither Twitter or Clubhouse has yet nailed the ability to surface relevant conversations. Twitter is showing Spaces based on who you follow, while Clubhouse, which has a home screen featuring active rooms, on Sunday acknowledged it has more work to do on this. I've been wanting an easy way to search for a live conversation around a specific topic for both platforms, rather than what I do now: stumble around in the hope of finding something interesting. 

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
The Takeaway Venture Capital Startups
Founder Burnout and Why You Should Care
Before we dive into The Takeaway, I want to draw your attention to two quick things.First, thank you to everyone who has filled out our major tech comp survey. Many of you asked that we survey our community about the nitty-gritty of comp, benefits and performance reviews and how they are changing, and we obliged. The results have been pouring in and they’re fascinating. We’d be grateful if...
Latest Briefs
Thrasio in Talks to Go Public Via SPAC Merger
Facebook Acquires Game Maker BigBox VR
Palo Alto Networks Switches Chief Marketing Officers
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden. Photo by Bloomberg.
SPAC Boom Helps Tech Founders Cement Control
When scooter-rental startup Bird goes public later this year, CEO Travis VanderZanden won’t have to worry about the firm’s uncertain prospects emboldening activist shareholders.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Photo by Bloomberg
Disney’s Cancellation of Hulu Overseas Push Triggers Feud with Comcast
Tensions between Disney and Comcast over their joint ownership of Hulu are heating up. The two companies are feuding over Disney’s decision last year to not launch Hulu overseas, a move that Comcast believes undermined its growth potential and valuation.
Sequoia Capital's offices in Menlo Park, Calif. Photo: Bloomberg
Venture Capital Startups
Is Sand Hill Road Over? No. But Zoom Deals Are Here to Stay
When Andreessen Horowitz finishes construction on its new office in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, its partners shouldn’t expect to find an assigned desk waiting for them.
Javier Soltero, general manager of Google Workspace, speaks during an online-only Google developer conference in May. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Startups Google
Google Responds to Remote Work Boom, Microsoft With Workspace App Improvements
Like other companies, Google had never seen anything like the demand for its video-calling and other productivity tools until the pandemic, which suddenly turned a big chunk of the population into remote workers.
Monitors display Coinbase and Bitcoin signage at the Nasdaq in NYC. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Crypto Venture Capital
Crypto Lender BlockFi in Talks to Raise Funding at $5 Billion Valuation
BlockFi, a wealth management and trading firm for cryptocurrency holders, is raising new funding just three months after its last round.
A supervisor holds checks an employee's badge during roll call at a Pegatron factory in Shanghai. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Asia Apple
Some Apple Suppliers in China Tell Ethnic Minorities: Don’t Bother Applying For Jobs
Some of the companies in China that supply Apple with parts for its devices are willing to use workers from the predominantly Muslim group known as Uyghurs, as part of government-sponsored labor programs widely criticized as coercive.