Clubhouse has been around since early 2020 and is still a relatively new player in the audio scene. This audio-only app had made headlines all around. Some people even thought that the rise of Clubhouse equals to the “downfall of podcasting” or the “end of podcasting” altogether. Is this really the case? In this article we’ll explore the difference between Clubhouse and podcasts, and share our own thoughts about the future of podcasting!
So, what is Clubhouse exactly?
Clubhouse is a social media app that was launched in April 2020. The sole way to join (at this time) is to get an invitation from someone that is already using the app, and only if you have an IOS device. (Though they are working on the android version these days.) The basic idea is that people can start a conversation (also known as an “audio room”) while letting others join in as listeners, or even take part in it. The app started to take off, once famous investors and celebrities started using it – making content that is scarce and timely, creating a FOMO (fear of missing out) feeling around the audio content.
To date, the app has gained more than 10 million users! They reached 2 million weekly active users.
Similarities between Clubhouse and podcasting
Both of these mediums are audio-first (video can also be used in some cases, though) and include just a handful of people in each piece of content. Both are also competing on the listeners’ time.
It’s easy to get started with either one of the two. Everyone can start a room on Clubhouse or start a podcast. The challenging part would be to create great quality content, and get your listeners to show up or listen to that content.
The actual format for the content (and in many cases, the content itself as well) distributed on Clubhouse and on certain podcasts can be very similar. Even Twitter (Twitter Spaces), Facebook/Instagram (Live Audio Rooms), LinkedIn and other Clubhouse alternative solutions like Fireside are adding “Audio Room” features built-in their platforms. With that being said, podcasting is already quite popular for the past ~15 years. Also, it is becoming more and more popular, especially in the past 3-4 years.
Podcasting vs Clubhouse – The differences
Real-time / Live sessions
With Clubhouse or any other “live” audio rooms, the conversations are in real time, you must join at the right moment to be able to listen to it. This also means it’s hard to find great content, and that joining a bit late to the conversation might make it too hard to understand the context. Podcasting is usually not shared in real time, and this makes room for improvement during the editing, in case you need to remove a segment, improve the audio quality, or add notes after the original recording.
Short expiry date
When you have a conversation on Clubhouse, it’s not saved or recorded. This affects a couple of things – First, the content is just available in real time, which means you cannot access it after a year or anything like that. And second, this limitation eventually affects the format, scope, and type of content you can create with it. In contrast, podcasting content is saved forever (as long as you host the feed and audio files). You can listen today to an episode recorded 20 years ago and it could still be relevant in many cases.
Furthermore, with podcasting you’re not limited to the type of format. While Clubhouse is mainly built towards social conversations between a handful of people, podcasting can be used for different formats like true crime, history, comedy, and much more. You can create series and include multiple episodes around the same topic and release those together.
Podcasts are essentially long term assets – Each episode you release is there for a long time and you can make it accessible for years. It’s much like comparing blog posts or books to a daily printed newspaper. One can also compare a live TV show with TV series or movies. Clubhouse is just geared towards a specific use case but that doesn’t mean it can really compete with podcasting.
Podcasts usually share more info, media, and context, as well as transcripts, on their website. With Clubhouse, it’s not happening. So it also means it’s less compatible to hearing impaired groups.
Finally, you can also promote your podcast after it is published. On Clubhouse you can only promote it before you start your session.
Easy to listen?
Some people are complaining about the playback speed. With podcast apps or podcast websites, you can usually listen to the episode at a speed rate that is higher than 1x. (or even lower, if needed) With Clubhouse you actually need to be present and attentive, and it might get a bit boring for those that prefer to listen at 2x.
With podcasting you can use different apps, websites, devices and more to listen to your favorite content. With Clubhouse, you’re limited to their app, on your iPhone – there’s no alternative for listening elsewhere.
When joining Clubhouse, you’re registering with your mobile number, so it’s not anonymous. Listening to podcasts can be done anonymously, via a browser. So basically, Clubhouse is more of a social network than an audio listening platform. It’s too early to tell if Clubhouse is exploiting user data, but that’s far from the case for podcasting.
The future of podcasting
We don’t think podcasting is dead. In our opinion, it’s not going anywhere. Podcasting vs Clubhouse is an interesting discussion, especially now with all the hype around audio rooms. But once you consider all of the factors, it’s not a big threat for podcasting. People still want to tune in to their favorite shows, through their podcasting apps, and look further into the podcast’s website. One of the key benefits of podcasting is that all listeners can listen at their most convenient time. That’s not the case for audio rooms.
Podcasters could use Clubhouse as another distribution channel. They can join other conversations or host their own, and there they can share more about their podcast. Or they can create a mini segment that is similar to their podcast.
We definitely think audio rooms or audio-based social networks could evolve to a really cool world. Although that’s a parallel world to podcasting – not really an overlap or direct competition.
All that to say, that you should keep recording your podcast, produce quality content that lasts, invest for the long term and add more context and other media files to your podcast website (such as photos, links, attachment, and more).
While many people think Clubhouse is the ultimate alternative for podcasting, we feel it’s not really the case. Clubhouse can be intriguing as a new medium and new type of platform. However, it’s far from really competing with podcasting.
In this article, we reviewed the key differences in Podcasting vs Clubhouse. Here’s a short recap –
- Real time: Clubhouse is built to be broadcasted in real time – Podcasting can be consumed whenever the listeners chooses to.
- Recording: Clubhouse content is not recorded. It expires as soon as the conversation ends. With podcasting, that’s not the case. Your content can be available 20 years from now and still be listened and as relevant as it is today.
- Easy to listen: Podcasting is much easier to consume than Clubhouse. You can choose which app, device, and time to listen to your favorite episodes. With Clubhouse, it’s only on their app, on an Apple mobile device, and in real time.
- Privacy: Podcasting is nearly anonymous for listeners who want to stay this way. You can download episodes without signing up to accounts with your name/email on different platforms.
We feel podcasting has much more to offer, and it’s still going to grow further in the next few years. We’re excited to be part of the podcasting world and witness these changes from up close!