Why Twitter Spaces Are a Big Deal

From impromptu concerts to public product launches

Key Takeaways

  • Spaces is Twitter’s take on live Clubhouse chats.
  • Spaces can be hosted by anyone with 600 followers or more.
  • Later, Ticketed Spaces will enable paid events.
Various smartphones with the Twitter app using Spaces

Twitter

Tweeters with 600 or more followers can now open a Clubhouse-style audio chat, and it’s going to be huge.

Spaces, Twitter’s new audio feature, is live for anyone with enough followers, and it might change the way live events work. Musicians can perform impromptu concerts, brands can carry out press events or public product launches, and more. The same is true of Clubhouse, but Twitter integration makes this much easier, and gives users access to 100% of their Twitter followers—not just the ones who managed to sign up to Clubhouse.

"Twitter spaces are like radio on steroids, just without the music," technology writer Patrick Moore told Lifewire via email. "It's live, on the spot, and extremely free flowing."

Audio Spaces

Twitter might not seem suited to lengthy group audio chats, but only if you’re still thinking of Twitter as a short-message service. Another way to view Twitter is as a place for long, text-based group chats. And yet another use for Twitter is sharing links, including links to events.

To get an idea of the possibilities of Spaces, let’s take a look at a few scenarios.

"Musicians can use ticketed Spaces to organize pre-release listening sessions of new music, as well as take meet-and-greet events online," Thibaud Clement, CEO and co-founder of the Loomly brand success platform, told Lifewire via email. "Similarly, authors could organize online book readings when they launch a new title. Celebrities and influencers may also be able to organize Q&A sessions as paid events on Spaces, reserved for ticket holders."

Smartphone with Twitter app showing someone's personal Space

Twitter

And then there are the more commercial uses. Businesses could carry out product launches, which may not be that exciting for the general public, but could be pretty good for journalists.

"When we launched our Shopify integration for Reeview.app, we hosted several live events during launch week, and one of them was on Twitter Spaces," Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré, chief marketing officer of Reeview.app, told Lifewire via email. "We brought in outside experts via Twitter Spaces to share their experience and advice on community-led growth for product launches."

Ticketed Spaces

Spaces seems particularly well-suited to music, and isn’t limited to pre-release streams of new songs. Imagine your favorite musician deciding to do an unscheduled concert. They could open up the chat between songs, or at the end of the show. Likewise, comedians could do online gigs, and so on.

"Musicians can use ticketed Spaces to organize pre-release listening sessions of new music, as well as take meet-and-greet events online."

That’s fine, but these live events get more interesting when you learn about Twitter’s future plans for Spaces. Ticket Spaces are just that. Hosts will be able to create ticket-only events, and charge for those tickets. Twitter will take a cut, but it can't be any worse than Ticketmaster’s fees for live-event tickets.

Spaces looks great for all kinds of live chats and events, but it’s these ticketed events that could be an utter game changer for artists and creators. Facebook and Twitter are the two places where creators connect with their audiences. Selling tickets to online live events via Twitter removes almost all barriers—especially if Twitter can manage to build a payment system as easy to use as Apple’s.

Twitter Spaces as they appear on an iPhone

Twitter

The timing is particularly good, too. In 2019, it might have been a tough sell to get people to pay for online events. Now that we’re all accustomed to video meetings, Zoom yoga classes, and so on, it feels like an obvious move. Another advantage is Spaces has a (theoretically) unlimited capacity.

"The beauty of virtual events in Clubhouse and Twitter spaces is the prospect of limitless capacity and scale," event promoter Ahmed Elnaggar told Lifewire via email. "For us as promoters, to put on a show for 200, 500, 1000, or 5000 people, the costs have to scale appropriately, and sometimes exponentially. When it comes to virtual events, scalability is seamless. For a promoter, this is extremely attractive."

Spaces vs Podcasts

Podcasts are quite different from Spaces or Clubhouse, but they can each enhance the other. A good podcast is a curated, edited audio show that can be listened to whenever you'd like. Spaces, and other live group chats, are more chaotic, lacking the polish of pre-made shows. They’re also live, so you have to tune in there and then. This kind of event-based approach could be attractive in a world of on-demand everything.

"The beauty of virtual events in clubhouse and twitter spaces is the prospect of limitless capacity and scale."

But they aren’t exclusive formats. A Spaces stream could be recorded, edited, and later released as a podcast.

"Podcast hosts may offer live after-shows to their audience to debrief from interviews or schedule some exclusive live shows around exclusive events," says Loomly's Clement.

Whatever direction it goes in, Twitter’s Spaces looks like the most promising take yet on Clubhouse’s idea.

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