Clubhouse is rapidly expanding access to payments, the first revenue-generating feature for creators, since it launched testing earlier this month. In early April, Clubhouse said it would allow a “small test group” of creators to accept payments from their fans and supporters through the social audio app. These donations go 100% to the makers, Clubhouse noted at the time. Although testing started with just 1,000 users, Clubhouse has rolled out payments to an additional 60,000 users in the US this weekend, the company said at the weekly City Hall event. And it expects payments to be rolled out to everyone in the coming weeks.
That’s a fast pace of development for an app that is now being challenged on all sides by companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Reddit, Discord, and even LinkedIn. By making payments available more quickly, Clubhouse could potentially keep its best creators who could otherwise be affected to jump for a rival app with a wider reach.
At Clubhouse’s Town Hall event, co-founder Paul Davison noted that an additional 66,000 creators were given the opportunity to receive payments this weekend, following the launch of the original test. To send a payment, users can visit a creator’s profile and then tap the button at the bottom that says ‘Send money’. This will open a screen with amounts like $ 5, $ 10 or $ 20, or you can enter your own amount. The feature is powered by Stripe and currently requires a debit or credit card to work.
Davison noted again that creators receive the full amount users send, while fees paid for transactions go to their partner Stripe to cover payment processing fees. He also added that users should not send Clubhouse team members like himself, even though their profiles include the feature. While he didn’t say why – only noting that all such donations would be made to charity – the reason has to do with how in-app purchases work on the App Store.
Apple made an exception to its rules regarding commissions on in-app purchases a few years ago in those cases where the company was not benefiting in any way from the donations or tips sent to creators using the app. That’s why Clubhouse has stressed that there is no need to cut creators’ earnings at this point, and why it’s stressing that it doesn’t keep donations in its way either.
The company also resolved some rumors about who would be the first to access payments, noting that users did not have a “club” on Clubhouse to be eligible. Instead, Davison said the app prioritized those users who had been active recently and who had not committed any violations. But otherwise, the first testers were a largely random sample.
In-app payments are just one of the options Clubhouse wants to explore to generate revenue for creators as well as, in the longer term, for itself. The company is also considering features such as creator and club subscriptions, ticket events, and brand deals.
Clubhouse also provided an update on plans for its Creator First program. The company announced the program last month, which will help creators get their first shows off the ground with the help of Clubhouse. Selected makers receive equipment, get promotional and marketing support, and get guest booking and even revenue assistance.
To date, Clubhouse has received more than 5,000 submissions from interested users. To refine the field, the company said it will host a sort of “ pilot season ” starting April 23, where 60 yet to be announced creators will debut shows at a pace of one episode over a three-week period. The Creator First program participants are then selected based on feedback from a jury and the clubhouse community. Those first 60 finalists will be announced on April 23, the company said.