Clubhouse Adds Direct Payment Option For Listeners To Support Creators

A screenshot of the clubhouse builder’s new monetization feature.

John Koetsier

Clubhouse continues its creator-first strategy by releasing Payments, a direct monetization option for people who open and moderate rooms in the social audio app.

But not every creator will get it right away.

“All users can send payments today, and we will be introducing the ability to receive payments in waves, starting with a small test group today,” said Clubhouse announced today. “We hope to collect feedback, optimize the function and make it available to everyone soon.”

This is an essential trait for social platform growth, and it’s something that most platforms have largely ignored so far, clubhouse influencer Josh Constine told me recently on the TechFirst podcast.

Constine has over 3.6 million followers in the clubhouse.

“One of the most exciting things is that Clubhouse has been talking from the start about how to empower creators to build a business,” Constine told me recently.

Now Clubhouse keeps this promise. And not a moment too early as the developers are looking for places like Patreon, Substack, OnlyFans, and Cameo to make money. (Or NFTs, of course.)

“One of the biggest trends we saw was that developers built large audiences on certain social media platforms, but then had to move away from those platforms in order to actually monetize that audience,” said Constine. “They think, like on Instagram, Twitter, people are trying to get fans onto Substack where they might pay for a subscription or get people to buy a cameo shout from them or switch to OnlyFans.”

The process seems incredibly simple: tap Send Money and process a payment. 100% of the payments go to the originator, at least for the time being, with only a small fee for the payment processing. The clubhouse doesn’t take any money at all, the company says.

“All users can send payments today, and we will be introducing the ability to receive payments in waves, starting with a small test group today,” says Clubhouse. “We hope to collect feedback, optimize the function and make it available to everyone soon.”

Apparently there are other monetization features in place, with Clubhouse saying this will be “the first of many features that allow developers to get paid directly on Clubhouse”.

Existing clubhouse builders already monetize outside the platform in a certain way via sponsorship.

“My friend … their dinner party show is sponsored by a Japanese Wagyu organization and they send Wagyu to their guests, to their dinner party, and we actually cook live while you chat in the clubhouse,” says Constine.

However, this is more direct and could also mean less work for the Creators.

If the audience wants to join in, of course.

Constine, who previously wrote for TechCrunch and is now a venture capitalist focused on the creator economy at SignalFire, says this marks a new phase in the fast-growing creator economy. The first phase was for developers to join platforms and make money from ad sharing (think of Google’s AdSense for YouTube). In phase two, influencers reached out to brands for sponsorship and endorsements. And in phase three, the developers left the platform to be sponsored by the fans.

Now we see platforms creating new ways for fans to sponsor influencers directly on the platform. Some already have that, of course – think of YouTube Members and Supers.

But Clubhouse seems to build this right into the experience of connecting with a Creator.

The problem with the earlier stages?

A lot of work for influencers:

“We think this means that every creator has to become a founder,” Constine told me. “You have to cobble together these tools and a team to run them. You can’t just do your art. When you’re a guitarist, you can’t just play guitar anymore. You have to be a retailer, merch designer, data scientist, or growth hacker. You’re going to need to be able to design NFTs, I think next is the next big thing. “

Building it on the platform and letting the developers just focus on building it could be a successful strategy.

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