Clubhouse announced today that it is unveiling four new features: Clips, Replay, Universal Search, and spatial audio for Android (which already exists on iOS). All of these features will launch today, except for Replay, which will roll out in October. These additions will help expand Clubhouse’s reach by making content available even after a live conversation has ended, allowing for asynchronous engagement.
Clips will allow live listeners in public rooms to snip the most recent 30 seconds of audio and share it anywhere — so, if you’re listening to a speaker who says something particularly wise (or not), you can create a clip, which generates a shareable moment with a link to join the room. These can be shared on other social media platforms. Hosts can decide whether or not they want listeners to be able to make clips in their room — if clips are turned on, users will be able to tap a scissor icon to make one.
Clubhouse already acknowledges that there’s a danger in letting people share 30 second audio clips out of context. A bad actor could potentially clip audio to obscure what someone really meant (you might say “the museum is always free on Friday,” but the clip could stop at “the museum is always free” — of course, Clubhouse is concerned about more sinister examples than this). So, to begin, Clubhouse is rolling out clips in beta to a small group of creators. Clubhouse has struggled with content moderation in its short history, and recently, doctors have been reportedly forced off the app due to harassment from anti-vaxxers. In light of these challenges, it makes sense that Clubhouse is more slowly unveiling this feature.
Universal Search improves discoverability on Clubhouse, so that when users type a keyword or name into the search bar, they can find relevant rooms (both live and scheduled), people, clubs, and bios. And Clubhouse says it’s bringing Spatial Audio to Android after positive feedback from iOS users. But even amid these feature updates, Clubhouse still has made itself inaccessible to Deaf and hard of hearing users by failing to add live captioning.
Of these new features, Replay could be the biggest game-changer for the app — it will allow creators to record a room, save it to their profile and club, or download the audio to share it externally, like on a podcast feed. Hosts and moderators can choose whether or not they want the room to be recorded.
Earlier this month, former PayPal COO David Sacks launched Callin, a “social podcasting” app that functions like a Clubhouse live audio room, but allows users to save and edit recordings into podcasts through the app. Then, Twitter said it would add recorded Spaces too. Now, Clubhouse’s Replay feature will make it more competitive.
Though Clubhouse has tried to appeal to live audio creators through its “Creator First” program, reports suggest that the endeavor fell short of expectations. But if Clubhouse wants to appeal to creators, this easier way of saving and sharing audio can help keep hosts on the platform. Though the appeal of apps like Clubhouse is the ability to have a shared, live experience, allowing for asynchronous listening can help people grow their audience.