Music business and lockdown—has the industry gone digital?
With Clubhouse, there has been a new star in the social media sky since 2020. The audio app stayed in first place on the download charts for several months at the beginning of this year - and it offers many new options for musicians. But for whom is Clubhouse suitable and for whom is the content important? In this article we will introduce you to the functions of Clubhouse in detail, show you the advantages of the app and clarify whether Clubhouse is more than just hype for you as a musician.
Clubhouse is a social media app that was only available in the app store for a long time. Since May 2021, after the hype that has slowly subsided, it has also been available on Android. The app has created a new environment in which people around the world can exchange ideas and learn more about exciting music topics, among other things. The app itself is very exclusive and can only be used if you are invited by users who are already registered. Invitation links are also offered against payment, but these are rarely genuine and serious offers.
As soon as you have become part of the app as a musician, you will find yourself in so-called rooms. These can be divided into a wide variety of categories, whereby many areas of life and exciting questions are now covered. Of course, music is not always the focus here. Rooms for politics, spirituality, sports, relationships and other questions can also be found with just a few clicks. The basic concept of Clubhouse offers countless possibilities to get in contact with users.
When it comes to music, too, there are many options and possibilities. Via Clubhouse you can have important questions answered, chat with users, exchange ideas about music and meet many new people who share your interests. In addition, there are the following aspects that make Clubhouse so popular in direct comparison to other providers:
In addition to classic chats, you can even find freestyle raps and artist battles in some rooms. There are also rooms at Clubhouse where you can present your own performances. This way you get direct feedback from potential fans via Clubhouse, so that you can develop yourself as a musician.
With Clubhouse, various forums and platforms are connected in just one app. Questions on topics such as marketing, producing, organization and performances can be asked directly online in order to find the right answers from musicians from all over the world. Even without videos and functions such as screen sharing, it is now possible to clarify important questions directly.
As soon as you have made it into the app, nothing stands in the way of active networking. As an expert, you can make an active contribution to many discussions. At Clubhouse, musicians meet promoters, producers and organizers in an uncomplicated way and can exchange ideas.
Clubhouse lives from an active exchange between the members. Unlike classic social media platforms, not every user just has a profile. With the app, you can expect exciting incentives to take part in discussions yourself and perhaps even provide answers to important questions. So you no longer allow yourself to be showered with content like on TikTok or Instagram, but become active yourself. In this respect, Clubhouse differs noticeably from other portals.
The possibility to share your music or your musical knowledge and to receive direct feedback makes the whole concept much more user-friendly. In addition, due to the previous obligation to invite, it does not seem too intrusive, but clearly selected and selected at all times. Only those who can provide a recognizable added value for the discussion will also be invited to the app. This means that, for example, a large collection of users * who are interested in music and musically expand the clubhouse network is created.
Another advantage is that the entire platform works in real time. Due to the different rooms, the processes never interfere with each other, which means that live podcasts, music performances or Q&A sessions can be held undisturbed. Whether users want to actively participate is again entirely voluntary. Even just listening is always possible in most rooms in order to be inspired by good content. Musicians who like to be in direct contact with their fans have many options for good conversations thanks to the open room structure in the Clubhouse app.
While the functions of the app have generated a real hype in the past, there have often been concerns about data protection since the platform was launched. Clubhouse collects a large amount of individual user data while using the app, which to this extent represents a clear violation of the EU GDPR introduced in 2018. If you want to invite friends, for example, you automatically share all of your contacts and numbers on the platform.
As far as data protection is concerned, Clubhouse is far behind in direct comparison to the competition when it comes to transparency, data security and anonymity. Other recorded data are, for example, your location, the type of your smartphone and your cellular provider. In addition, there are the rooms visited, the associated length of stay and the app usage values. In this way, Clubhouse is always able to draw a clear picture of its own users. The start-up behind Clubhouse has also received a warning from the consumer advice center because it offered the app in Germany without an imprint.
Even if Clubhouse has already promised improvement, not much has happened in the area of data protection since it was published. If you want to invite other users, you always and above all release all your contacts at this point with each invitation. Leading data protection experts criticized not only the volume of data transmitted, but also the frequency with which it was collected. While the functions seem revolutionary, the technical requirements in the background of the app are far from being optimally designed and are damaging the reputation of Clubhouse.
Nevertheless, even if it is not easy due to the criticism in data protection, we would like to go back to the advantages of the functions. The ability to chat directly with fans, share music and communicate in rooms promotes Clubhouse on many levels. Both the new model and the extensive use of the app by well-known musicians and some politicians have contributed to the awareness. But will Clubhouse continue to convince?
From the point of view of many media experts, Clubhouse will not be able to hold its own against the well-known and large platforms in the long term. The two million active users who played a key role in shaping the hype are still quite a small number compared to, for example, more than a billion users on Instagram.
It is not yet clear whether Clubhouse will really live up to its reputation as a real unicorn, i.e. a start-up with a market value of more than one billion US dollars. It is clear that the number of users is no longer increasing as much compared to the initial development. The model of artificial shortage caused by invitations is also criticized when it comes to an app for as many interests and areas as possible. For communication between music enthusiasts, however, platforms such as Clubhouse can be worthwhile.
Should Clubhouse be able to improve its services over time in order to also meet the strict aspects of the EU GDPR, there is definitely a lot of potential behind the platform as a real forum for experts in the field of music. Whether Clubhouse will be well received in the long term and whether it will survive the hype remains a question of the future. Until then, you will also find musicians here with us who will definitely be happy to network with you.
Originally published on July 6, 2021, updated on January 7, 2022