Why Clubhouse is Opening Up to Everyone

No invites needed

Key Takeaways

  • You no longer need an invitation to join the social media app Clubhouse.
  • Some observers say that without exclusivity, the popularity of Clubhouse may fade.
  • Many social media platforms have a similar audio-only feature that once made Clubhouse stand out.
woman talking with megaphone

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The social media audio app Clubhouse is eliminating its invitation-only requirement in a move that could pave the way for a jump in membership. 

The nearly 10 million people currently on Clubhouse’s waitlist will slowly be added to the app with the removal of its invite-only status. As the popularity of Clubhouse soared, other social audio products, like Twitter Spaces, launched as open to everyone. Clubhouse is trying to win over users of its competitors. 

"Opening it up will help them," Eric Dahan, CEO of influencer marketing firm Open Influence, told Lifewire in an email interview. "The question is how many of the people that are waitlisted are still interested in joining. Consumers may have expressed interest a while back, but that interest fades over time. With life returning back to normal, the hype has died down."

The Not-So-Exclusive Club

Currently, if you try to sign up for a Clubhouse membership, you should be able to do so right away without an invitation. 

"The invite system has been an important part of our early history," a Clubhouse blog post says. "By adding people in waves, welcoming new faces each week in our Wednesday Orientations, and talking with the community each Sunday in Town Hall, we’ve been able to grow Clubhouse in a measured way and keep things from breaking as we’ve scaled."

Cybersecurity expert Stephen Boyce said that removing the invitation system will soothe the privacy concerns of some users. "I think this will help clubhouse as many people were hesitant in joining the platform at the onset because of the concerns of being linked to the person who invited them to the app," he added. 

Clubhouse’s initial popularity crested during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Justin Kline, co-founder of influencer marketing firm Markerly, told Lifewire in an email interview.

"The allure of speaking to a whole community of people about any possible topic you were passionate about was an incredible alternative to having yet another conversation about your mundane day with your parents or whomever you were living with," he said. "But now people are going outside and interacting again. Now, we’re not starved for interaction quite as much."

"Opening it up will help them. The question is how many of the people that are waitlisted are still interested in joining."

Many social media platforms have a similar audio-only feature that once made Clubhouse stand out. Now, there are Facebook Live Audio Rooms, Twitter Spaces, and Reddit Talk, among others. 

"It’s entirely possible that their success will set a trend for future platforms to start out as invite-only, but it remains to be seen," Kline said.

The Demise of Clubhouse?

Not everyone thinks opening Clubhouse will help the service. Paul Kelly, chief revenue officer of A Million Ads, which deals with digital audio, told Lifewire in an email interview that the move will hurt the exclusivity of the Clubhouse brand. 

"Clubhouse was appropriately named," he said. "It was a club, with status built into the membership benefits. Without this exclusivity, Clubhouse will have to contend with Facebook and Twitter, plus new products from any other scaled platform with infinitely greater resources and access to users."

woman using smartphone at home

10'000 Hours / Getty Images

Other observers say that while Clubhouse is likely to get a new influx of users, keeping them engaged will be an issue. Paige Borgman, director of digital strategy at communication firm Reputation Partners, told Lifewire in an email interview that quality content will be essential. 

"One of the early knocks on Clubhouse was its lack of moderation and safety features surrounding inappropriate, offensive, and even hateful speech on the channel," Borgman said. "Adding a significant amount of new users all at once will definitely test the safety features Clubhouse has since rolled out. 

"If proven ineffective, the app will likely see a drop in users and an increase in backlash."

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