What is Clubhouse?
If you don’t already know, let us clue you in.
“Clubhouse” joins the ranks of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more – as yet another platform for users to connect, share, and participate with online communities. However, “Clubhouse” is looking to shake things up with a unique take on social media.
Where Clubhouse differs from its competitors is the medium of content – there are no text posts, instead, users interact through voice-chat, collaborating and debating in “rooms”, or “clubs”. Each room or club has a defined purpose or topic of discussion, and Clubhouse’s user interface allows for organised discussion with each speaker in a room taking turns.
Clubhouse’s popularity has grown immensely in the last year, with the catalyst being the global Coronavirus pandemic, which forced people into their homes and onto technology.
Music is among the most popular topics for Clubhouse rooms and clubs, and many savvy musicians and music industry professionals have started utilising to the app in search of new approaches to sharing and collaborating online.
With 6 million registered users, up from 600,000 in December of 2020, Clubhouse is rapidly growing as a social media platform. Music Industry Inside Out spoke with two early adopters of Clubhouse who are currently working professionals in the Australian music and communications industries to get a bit of advice for our readers who are interested in trying something a bit different.
What is it that has drawn people to the app?
Juanita: The main thing that drew me to Clubhouse initially, was the calibre, and the quality of the speakers and the rooms which I was engaging within the first night that I downloaded the app. Another surprise was that this amazing content wasn’t necessarily coming from names (or voices) that I knew. The beauty of Clubhouse, and especially right now whilst it is still in its very early days, is that when you are browsing the hallway(the clubhouse version of a “feed”) the app connects you with topics and rooms which are filled with industry experts, as well as keen listeners – and everyone there has something to contribute to the conversation, regardless of who has the largest online following, or other barriers imposed by the current popular social medias.
There’s also no direct messaging feature at the moment, which I find really helps remove clutter and boost engagement. I found I was surprised by how much I didn’t miss the visual element, and how engaging it was to connect with people online and listen to their stories being told by their actual voice…And all of this is while you’re wearing comfortable pants!
What are the unique opportunities that you see “Clubhouse” offering its users, especially in terms of networking and professional development, that users could not find from other social media platforms?
Jai: It’s like networking on steroids. You instantly feel more connected to the people speaking than any other social media platform I have ever used. Because it’s all live audio, people are genuine and it’s easy to pick out people that aren’t. There’s no editing your responses and it feels similar to meeting someone at a gig or venue.
It seems that with the lack of video and visual element, would you say that the app is less superficial than other social media platforms? Do people present a more genuine persona of themselves due to the medium of the app?
Juanita: I think the word “authentic” gets thrown around a lot these days, but that is absolutely the word that I would use to describe my experience with Clubhouse so far, and I think that comes down to a few reasons. One, you have stripped out the visual element, the Instagram “filter-culture” and selfie-culture aspect isn’t there, so that immediately places the importance on what people have to say over how they look. Secondly, the fact that it is a real time app. This comes with pros and cons, the cons being that obviously it is hard to police every room and maintain that behaviour is always above board. However, the positive is that people aren’t spending two hours crafting a perfectly worded 140 character post just so they can get their point across, on Clubhouse the real-time aspect makes for much more natural and engaging interactions that feel like genuine conversations. There’s no time to make it sound plastic, it feels far more authentic because it is real and in the moment.
With clubhouse being so heavily focused on authenticity and less of a one-sided approach to ‘promotion’, how do you think new users can avoid the ‘hard-sell’ or just coming off as superficial?
Juanita: I think its really important to understand how Clubhouse operates before you dive into using it to promote anything related to your business straight away. It is a platform that rewards you for both listening, and contributing, so I would advise new users to listen first and find the right rooms, clubs, and profiles to follow. The best way to gain new followers is to have participated in a room and actually have provided some insight or perspective that has made another user see you as someone worth following. So, it’s important to use it as a tool for education as well as promotion or collaborating
What are the benefits of being an early adopter to this platform?
Jai: As I mentioned before, at the moment because of the small number of Australians it is easy to actually get on stage and speak to others in our industry. Once there are more people that may become more difficult, and you may have to just listen to these people talk instead of being able to directly interact with them.
How can new users of Clubhouse optimise their experience for networking/professional development, and make sure they are seeing content that is relevant to their field/interests?
Jai: Don’t follow just anyone or just any clubs. Follow people who’s interests align with yours and what you want to see. When you find someone with similar interests, check out who they follow to find similar people more easily. Join clubs that align with your interests and follow people in those clubs too. Make sure your bio speaks about the things you are interested in and want to talk about or see more of.
I initially used Bluetooth earphones with my phone so I didn’t have to hold the phone up to my face to hear and talk, which makes it far more comfortable to use the app and do other things at the same time. However now I am using my Rodecaster pro that I use for my podcasts so I can use my studio microphone, play music and sounds straight into the app instead of through the microphone on my phone.
What are some creative ways that performers/artists/practitioners in the music industry could utilise Clubhouse in a social media campaign/strategy?
Juanita: I would be searching terms like “A&R”, “Artist Manager”, “Booking Agent” etc., and connecting with as many relevant industry people as you can. It allows you to see what rooms they are participating in, as well as hopefully get the chance to have a conversation with them when the opportunity to be in the same room comes up. I would be following music clubs, performance classes, and I would most importantly be asking lots of questions! Once you start getting yourself out there, people will understand what you are about, and they will start following you, and hopefully, the links to your other relevant socials on your profile.
There has also been a new feature added to Clubhouse specifically for musicians, which is a function to switch your microphone to a ‘music’ recording setting, so that you can join rooms where you actually have a chance to perform your music for people. I have seen a lot of these rooms and they are a great opportunity to connect with musicians and audiences around the world. I have actually seen an A&R executive start a room which was for people to essentially pitch their music live, in-front of an audience. You can also use time zones to your advantage and connect with the audiences overseas, with the biggest audience on the app currently being in the USA.
If you are in the music industry, where you will be most successful with Clubhouse is if you set up rooms and clubs where you are offering something for free, and you are engaging in a way which makes people trust and respect your opinion so that maybe they will want to connect with you outside of Clubhouse.
Who are some people you follow in the Australian music, arts, or entertainment industries, that you would recommend to those looking to use Clubhouse for networking and professional development?
Jai: The list is almost too long to mention specific people. There’s everyone from John Curtin who was a big part of Stereosonic, Jaguar Jonze, Micke Morphingaz, Alex Dyson, Sean Mullins, Chase Zera, Arlo Enemark and so many more. It is still growing in Australia so there are more and more Australians on the platform every day. I’ve been in rooms with people like Virtual Riot, Diplo, Dillon Francis & Deadmau5 who I would probably never get to be in the same room with, especially right now.To be honest the best way to meet people in our industry is to join our club, because we built it to connect with other Australians in our industry. Another great way is to pop into any music related room, especially if its an Australian one. You’ll be surprised how you will organically meet people in our industry and connect almost immediately. I of course would encourage you to come check out any of our rooms, but there is also another amazing Australian room called “AUS Music Spotlight & Yarns” that I also enjoy.
Clubhouse is yet another tool at your disposal when it comes to networking and promoting your professional project, and much like any other social media platform, it comes complete with its own style of communication and its own dos and don’ts. To reiterate the expert advice of Juanita and Jai, the best way to find out how to make Clubhouse work for you is to get stuck in and provide some value of your own first. It also cannot be stressed enough the value of Clubhouse for musicians and music industry practitioners in growing online audiences outside of your home territory.
Time will tell whether the app becomes a mainstay of the social media sphere, or if it fades into obscurity, however, for those willing to put themselves out there, there is a lot to be gained from getting started and giving Clubhouse a go.
- Watch who you follow – Follow accounts that are within your niche interest/market, look at the people you follow and their friends list.
- Have a strong bio – Have your first three lines sum up your purpose for using Clubhouse. This will make it easy for people to tell whether or not to follow you/join your club. Include your name, where you are based, and your professional credentials that you will want to display for other users to understand the perspective that you have to offer.
- Have something to offer – The most repeated advice by other Clubhouse users, “have something to offer”. If you want people to follow you, give them a reason.