Could this be the move that gives Twitter Spaces the upper hand over Clubhouse?
While Clubhouse is still in invite-only mode, Twitter already allows all users to join and listen in to Spaces broadcasts. But from next month, everyone will also be able to create their own audio rooms, according to the latest schedule from Twitter.
As reported by The Verge:
"Twitter’s plans aren’t set in stone, but the gist is that they’re trying to get the product into a state where anyone can host a Twitter Space starting in April. April is the goal."
That could make Spaces a much more appealing option for broadcasters, with the capacity for everyone to build an audience among Twitter's 192 million daily active users. Clubhouse, by comparison, reportedly has around 2 million users at present.
Of course, audience size isn't everything - in fact, there's something to be said for keeping your networks more enclosed, and that's likely helped improve the overall quality of broadcasts on Clubhouse thus far. But in order to maximize ad dollars, you do need reach, while creators will eventually gravitate to the largest audience, in order to boost their opportunities with a view to monetization of their efforts.
That could see Spaces gain significant momentum once it's open to all. There remains a question about discovery and highlighting the most relevant, in-progress Spaces to users (and Twitter's algorithm isn't necessarily that good at highlighting relevant topics of interest). But Spaces could be set to see major growth, which will put increased pressure on Clubhouse to also open up to more users, adding more strain on their evolving processes.
On the other side, some will argue that the feel of Clubhouse is entirely different, that it has a more refined flow and community, more aligned to user interests. That may be true, but again, more reach traditionally equals more users in the long run. TikTok has, in some ways, bucked that trend, fending off competition from Instagram and YouTube. So it can happen, but again, it may add pressure to Clubhouse to expand faster.
On another front, reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong has also found new screens within the Spaces set-up process which will eventually enable hosts to turn on tipping, so they can accept donations from Space listeners.
As you can see here, the option would provide a range of payment options which you can activate for your Space, which shows that Twitter is working to build monetization into the process from the beginning.
That's in line with Twitter's broader focus on providing more revenue-generating tools for creators, as part of its three-year growth plan. Twitter's also looking to further integrate newsletters, via its acquisition of Revue, and provide subscription tools under its 'Super Follows' feature.
It makes sense to ensure Spaces creators can also generate money for their efforts, while it also, once again, underlines Twitter's growing momentum on such developments.
There's no word on any possible roll-out of Spaces tipping at this stage.