Clubhouse Monetization Will Come With Growing Pains

But it empowers creators to do what they do best

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2021 has had its fair share of breaking news around social audio platforms and the emergence of this new creator genre. The biggest news so far might have just happened this week as Clubhouse backed up on its commitment to making monetization a priority by rolling out a Phase 1 version called “Clubhouse Payments” that allows direct payments between creators in-app integrated with Stripe.

Not only did Clubhouse stay true to its promise of empowering creators without getting in the way, but it is also setting a new standard by not collecting a fee as 100% of the payment is passed on to the creator. All creators can make payments today on Clubhouse, but the ability to receive them will be rolled out in waves per Clubhouse. 

As exciting as this news was for Clubhouse creators, many on the platform have already been monetizing, leveraging cashapp usernames in bios and creator coins like Rally.IO. (Editor’s note: The author is a Rally Creator.) Not to mention the explosion of NFT rooms, including Snoop Dogg doing a room this past weekend to drop his first NFT.  

What is exciting is how creators will now leverage this within the social audio experience, and as most can imagine, we will have both good and bad examples over the next couple of weeks. Clubhouse rolling this out first will undoubtedly add extra pressure to Twitter Spaces’ rollout of a similar feature it is testing out known as “tip jar.”

A rollercoaster ride 

This rollout should excite both marketers and brands. In theory, both professional and amateur creators will have more motivation than ever to spend even more time on a social audio platform like Clubhouse.  

As creators diversify their income streams, brands and marketers must find innovative ways to establish partnerships with experienced creators who are already creating while also thinking beyond the social-audio experience, building cross-platform collaborations. These collaborations will require a new approach that must work alongside in-app monetization and creator coin communities.

We can learn massive lessons from the monetization and influencer partnerships created around YouTube, Twitch, Vine, Facebook and, most recently, Periscope. The similarities to the Clubhouse creator growth are pretty compelling, and all four of those creator apps no longer exist.

In the past, the ad share and creator percentage of monetization were very skewed to only really working for the top 1% of creators on the platform. Clubhouse not taking a cut should change this, but that also means the education will need to be in place for the amateur creators that haven’t had a following or experience with monetizing their community or partnering with brands. 

With every great innovation, monetization can and will be used in harmful and damaging ways. Focus on what’s possible and create swim lanes to be prepared for the unknown.  

Brands and creators must clearly define what success looks like with each partnership. With so many options, it can be very easy to confuse the audience on calls to action and goals. To eliminate the noise and confusion, the creators will want to turn off some features and create custom profiles to manage the expectations of the audience. Get creative with formats, programming and the experiences created around monetization. The production value and creating unique experiences will be more important than ever. Consider monetization integration through offerings such as one to one chats, ask me anything, exclusive merchandise, shoutouts and donations toward a shared cause.

The future of business for both creators and brands is trust. We are living in exciting times with the growth of the creator economy and the explosion of social audio removing the barrier to entry for becoming a creator—and empowering creators to do what they do best: create! Still, it will, no question, come with growing pains.