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How to Develop an Audio Social Media App Like Clubhouse?

  • Rating — 5 (3 votes)
  • by Ksenija Kolomiiets
  • Updated on March 03, 2021
  • Read —
    13-14 minutes

If I say that 2020 has turned everything upside down, you are unlikely to argue. The pandemic transformed much of the daily routine. People worldwide spent most of the year locked up and forced to run their businesses from home. Video conferences became the only way to conduct business meetings, and people had to change the way they communicate fundamentally.

The recommendation to stay in a shelter forced people to look more for communication and entertainment online. The lack of live communication and social engagement has led to a boom in the digital industry. While some industries are just beginning to emerge from the crisis, such areas as video-on-demand, live streaming, and, of course, social networks have received a considerable boost in development. It is also worth mentioning that many companies saw potential in social media and started marketing activities there. Thus, they gained a social audience like never before.

Let’s see how the situation has changed in the social media industry because of last year’s events. According to the report October 2020, more than 4 billion people worldwide (4.14 billion) now use social media each month. In comparison, there were 3.80 billion social media users in January 2020. That’s an incredible 53% penetration rate for the entire world’s population. An average of 2 million people signs up to social networks every day.

Social media use around the world

Social media’s popularity is even more evident when you look at percentage changes for the year October 2019 to October 2020. In that time:

  • The total world’s population grew 1.0%, +81 million.
  • Unique mobile phone users rose 2.0%, +102 million
  • Internet users rose 7.4%, +321 million
  • Active social media users rose 12.3%, +453 million.

Nearly 60 percent of the world’s population is already connected to the Internet, and recent trends forecast that more than half of the world’s population will usу social media by mid-2021. Let’s take a look at which social networks were the most popular in 2020.

Most popular social networks worldwide

Most popular social networks worldwide as of January 2021, ranked by number of active users (in millions)

Facebook remains the undisputed market leader. Its number of users today is over 2.74 billion monthly active users. It’s worth mentioning that the company owns the four largest social media platforms Facebook (the leading platform), WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Each platform has over a billion monthly active users.

I must remind you that man doesn’t live by Facebook alone. During the spring lockdown, promising projects emerged, such as Clubhouse, which launched in the spring and is gaining momentum incredibly fast. In December 2020 and January 2021 alone, the audio, social network gained 2 million new subscribers.

Throughout its existence, namely from April 2020 to February 2021, the community of Clubhouse users has grown to 6 million. (According to data obtained from tech writer Vajresh Balaji)

Diagramm of Clubhouse user growth

Of all the apps launched during the Spring 2020 lockdown, Clubhouse is the most promising new launch. Why? Let us consider this case in the next section.

The Clubhouse phenomenon

An audio social media that works like a live podcasting app. This application’s peculiarity is that you cannot simply download it to your phone and start using it. You need to get an invitation from someone who is already a Clubhouse user and an iPhone to become a member of the “club” community. Currently, the app is iOS available only. The Android application is still in development, and there is no exact information about its release. Meanwhile, millions of users are desperate for an invite to the Clubhouse, which has stated that the invitation will only be valid for a few months from the date of receipt.

Clubhouse statistics

Source: MarkeringHub

Clubhouse has a well-thought-out promotion strategy. The social network’s popularity can be attributed to the impressive list of world-class celebrities registered with the Clubhouse. Among them are Elon Musk, Kanye West, and Jared Leto. According to the concept of the application, in theory, any user can talk to celebrities, being in the right room at the right moment. In December, the excitement was so great that the cost of inviting the application reached $ 100.

The idea behind the audio-based social network: “Forget the invitation. Just drop-in voice chat.”

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is the audio-chat social network where all communication takes place in real-time and only in audio format. There’s no way to communicate in writing. Platform users communicate in so-called public or closed rooms by spontaneously entering into a conversation in a voice chat. For users not to interrupt each other, and even more so not to insult each other, there are three roles for participants in the conversation: moderators, speakers, and listeners. The latter cannot participate in the discussion until they use the “raise hand” function and are approved by the moderator – and then they will be able to speak.

Screenshots of the Clubhouse app

Most of the Clubhouse rooms are open to all listeners and dedicated to a specific topic, indicated in its name. The Clubhouse talks about entrepreneurship, social media, culture, and politics. Still, there are also “silent” rooms where people search for interesting acquaintances, where users look for new contacts based on the description of the member’s profile. There are also rooms for entertainment – for example, where users ask each other tricky questions, like in the game “Truth or Dare,” but without the second element, and tell funny stories from life to strangers. Users can find the topics they are interested in and also see which rooms the people they follow are in.

Regulations and moderation

People who are over 18 years old can become Clubhouse users. A mandatory requirement for all users to use their real names in the application. But the control algorithm has not yet been established.

Bullying, discrimination, insults, and dissemination of false information are prohibited at the Clubhouse. But the users themselves are monitoring compliance with the rules. Each member can complain about behavior that violates the platform’s rules, after which Clubhouse will investigate and make an appropriate decision.

No recordings of conversations are kept – the social network prohibits it. You cannot pause the conversation so that you can listen afterward. And it is difficult to broadcast a pre-prepared and edited recording – the broadcast is carried out through the microphone of a smartphone (or through headphones).

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Clubhouse features

As we mentioned before, the app is available for iOS users only, and it uses an invite-only model. So now we are going to provide you insights into this voice chat app. 

If you consider building a similar app, the list of core features of Clubhouse might come in handy.

Onboarding

Once you access the Clubhouse app, you need to enter your real name and upload your photo to your account. After that, you will be able to choose a room of interest. By default, all new users are muted, but you can unmute yourself any time.

Feed

When you open your feed, you’ll see many different discussions that are called rooms. You can see the name of each room and all the people who are in it. Clubhouse was originally positioned as social media for the elite, so most of the conversations here are about business, politics, and networking.

📌
Although the Clubhouse is focused on voice communication, musicians have settled there, who regularly organize live concerts.

Rooms

A room is a place where discussions happen. You can view rooms, join existing rooms, and create your own. To do that, you need to press the Start a room button on the screen’s bottom. The Clubhouse suggests three types of social “rooms.” Firstly, these are “open” rooms, to which anyone can join at any time. Secondly, “social” – intended only for those with whom you become friends on the social network. The third type is closed. Only people you choose can get into them. No more than five thousand people can be present in a room at a time.

In a room, you can raise your hand if you have something to say or ask. When you wish to leave a room, you can announce you’re leaving or press the Leave quietly button.

Screenshot on how to create a room in Clubhouse app

User profiles

User profiles consist of a picture, name, and short description. Furthermore, a user can add links to their Instagram and Twitter. When you’re in a room, you can check out the speaker’s account and see the clubs which a user belongs to and their invites to discussions, and when. It is almost the same as in other social media, where you can see that person’s a follower/following numbers on their profile.

Clubs

The club’s feature is similar to Facebook groups. You can join clubs that you’re interested in and easily find people with the same interests. In these clubs, you can view and add members and suggest discussion topics.

New users are not immediately able to create clubs. Only those who have organized a conversation in the rooms three times get the opportunity to register their club. But the club will have to go through moderation, and its approval is not guaranteed.

💡
An analog of Clubhouse has already begun to be developed at Facebook. The social network may soon launch this service, integrating it with WhatsApp and the social network. Then it will be easier for people to track each other’s activity. Mashable

Search

Search is a useful feature for any app. In Clubhouse, you can search for chat topics and people you want to follow.

Upcoming for you

In this section, you can view upcoming discussions. Upcoming for you looks like a schedule of events, with names of conversations, start times, speakers, and short topic descriptions. Events can be planned and added to the Calendar. A lot of content is produced at the same time, and you can only choose one.

Activity

Here is shown the history of interactions with your account, including who followed you. You can find out who just joined the app, the clubs someone is in, and scheduled events.

Notifications

As in any other social media applications, Clubhouse uses push notifications to improve user engagement and inform users about events, such as when a person they follow starts a new room.

If you start a new stream, all your subscribers will receive notifications about it. And if they start listening to it, their subscribers will know about it. As a result, the number of listeners can snowball.

How to develop a live audio chat app

Okay, now when we’ve figured out the application features, let’s overview what we need to develop an app like Clubhouse. There are some steps to perform before the development process starts.

#1. So if you decide to enter the market with a spontaneous voice chat app, you should understand that developing it is not easy. First of all, you should cherry-pick and decide which professional development team you will go further. We recommend hiring professionals who will build your solution from scratch, guide you through all processes starting with the discovery phase, and end with releasing and submitting your app to the markets

🧐
We recommend looking at our blog post about the Software Development Life Cycle to find out detailed information about the development process.

#2 One of the most vital steps is the Discovery phase. We always suggest our client start from this part. Because the information obtained during this stage will help determine the scope of work, time frame, and plan for the implementation of tasks for the project. It will also help ensure that the customer receives a quality software product that meets the predetermined requirements.

The analysis is necessary to:

  1. Clarify the goals and needs of users.
  2. Understand the context of a product’s use.
  3. Find new ideas for development.
  4. Understand what users’ expectations are, such as reducing the user’s desire to download the application, the user’s expectations regarding security, etc.

During the Discovery phase, our experts find out the client’s wishes. Then the market analysis is carried out, and the project description is formulated. This approach minimizes the number of changes during the development process. The project’s scope is determined along with other vital factors such as the type of solutions required, features and functionality, the optimal platforms to use, the lead time, and budget.

How much does it cost you?

The basic Clubhouse-like app may cost you $29,000, and this price may get bigger depending on how advanced you want your app to be. To make it all slightly clear and provide you with real numbers, we have prepared a table with the required development hours for each specialist and the approximate amount of money you may need to pay for their job. This table is relevant for the MVP of invitation-only social networking app, so the cost will be less than we mentioned above. 

Job  Dev Hours Approximate Cost
Business Analyst  96 2688
System Administrator  24 480
Designer  52 1456
HTML/CSS  22 308
iOS Developer 197 4728
Back-end Developer 124 2976
QA Engineer  131 2227
Scrum Master  102 2142

Our team of business analysts and account managers are ready to deliver a detailed quote showing how much your project will cost you in an hourly ratio. We emphasize the estimation process to ensure that every feature is outlined before our cooperation’s agreement stage. However, the list of developers and hours of their work can change and depend on the range of functions your solution will have. If you want to get a rough estimation of a Clubhouse-like app, please fill the form below.

Enter your name and email to download the file.

Create an MVP

Creating a spontaneous voice chat app is a significant and complex project. We recommend launching a minimum viable product first. Then, you should test it and add additional “nice to have featured,” shipping them via updates. We recommend releasing your product as fast as possible to get user feedback and then adjust it accordingly to suit the end-users needs. 

Developing the MVP allows the so-called “fail fast, fail first” to happen. Mistakes enable learning, and without knowing what works and what doesn’t, it is unimaginable to build something of real and lasting value. After releasing the MVP, you might consider adding “nice to have featured” to your product, thanks to the honest user feedback available.

Clubhouse is the audio-chat social network where all communication takes place in real-time and only in audio format. Platform users communicate in so-called public or closed rooms by spontaneously entering into a conversation in a voice chat.
A basic Clubhouse-like solution may cost you $29,000 or more. However, if your goal is to create something different, more interesting, and advanced, then it will cost more.
What monetization model does the Clubhouse use? The app hasn’t generated any income, but the company has already announced that it is implementing a “Creator Grant Program” to help creators on the platform get paid, including subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales. Of course, adding monetization for users also introduces a method for Clubhouse itself to get revenue. The platform is free to all users and doesn’t yet offer any premium plan or strategy of charging users, nor is it ad-supported. Adding ways for users to pay other users provides an opportunity for Clubhouse to retain a cut for its services. Want to know more about how free apps make money? We suggest you read our article

To conclude

The world has changed, and all activities shifted online. Communication and entertainment also went online. It is hard to underestimate the power of solutions that connect us through the Internet and present the ability to share experiences. They are great for many things, and their popularity will only keep growing. That is why it is a good idea to invest in online audio chats.

You may be interested in developing a virtual networking app, for instance. Statistics indicate two-thirds of employees use social media to communicate with their fellow workers.

While email was the clear leader here, social media was surprisingly high for a work setting:

  • Email – 92%
  • Messaging Systems (e.g., WhatsApp) – 79%
  • Collaboration tools (e.g. Slack) – 73%
  • Video calls – 71%
  • Social media – 66%

So all you need is to develop a great feature set, find your unique value proposition, wrap it all in a beautiful design and let the people use your app.

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We can help you build a competitive solution with the best set of features and beautiful design.
Ksenija Kolomiiets Expert & Evangelist in business optimization tools like fintech, logistics, on-demand services apps who will help you to understand the core ideas of the outlined themes by my articles. I also have great expertise in social media and education platforms so let me know "in comments" if you want me to describe a theme you're interested in.

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