Clubhouse is continuing its creator-first strategy by releasing Payments, a direct monetization option for people who open and moderate rooms on the social audio app.
But not every creator will get it immediately.
“All users will be able to send payments today, and we’ll be rolling out the ability to receive payments in waves, starting with a small test group today,” Clubhouse announced today. “Our hope is to collect feedback, fine-tune the feature, and roll it out to everyone soon.”
This is an essential feature for social platforms to grow, and it’s something most platforms have largely ignored until now, Clubhouse influencer Josh Constine told me recently on the TechFirst podcast.
Constine has over 3.6 million followers on Clubhouse.
“One of the most exciting things is that Clubhouse has talked from the very early days about how it wants to empower creators to build a business,” Constine told me recently.
Now Clubhouse is delivering on that promise. And not a moment too soon, as creators look to places like Patreon, Substack, OnlyFans, and Cameo to monetize. (Or, of course NFTs.)
“One of the biggest trends that we saw happening was creators were building a big audience on certain social media platforms but then having to move off of those platforms to actually monetize that audience,” Constine told me. “You think of like Instagram, Twitter, people are trying to move fans onto Substack, where they might pay for a subscription or get people to buy a Cameo shout out from them, or moving onto OnlyFans.”
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The process seems incredibly simple: tap “Send Money” and process a payment. 100% of payments will go to creators, at least for now, with only a small fee for payment processing. Clubhouse isn’t taking any of the funds at all, the company says.
“All users will be able to send payments today, and we’ll be rolling out the ability to receive payments in waves, starting with a small test group today,” Clubhouse says. “Our hope is to collect feedback, fine-tune the feature, and roll it out to everyone soon.”
Apparently there are more monetization features coming, with Clubhouse saying that this “will be the first of many features that allow creators and to get paid directly on Clubhouse.”
Existing Clubhouse creators are already monetizing off-platform, in a sense, via sponsorships.
“My friend … her dinner party show is sponsored by a Japanese wagyu organization and they send wagyu to her guests, to her dinner party, and we actually cook live while you’re chatting on Clubhouse,” Constine says.
But this is more direct and also could be less work for creators.
If, of course, listeners want to chip in.
Constine, who used to write for TechCrunch and is now a venture capitalist focused on the creator economy at SignalFire, says that this signifies a new phase of the quickly growing creator economy. Phase one was creators joining platforms and monetizing through ad revshares (think Google’s AdSense for YouTube). Phase two was influencers reaching out to brands for sponsorships and endorsements. And phase three was creators going off-platform to get sponsored by fans.
Now we’re seeing platforms build new ways for fans to sponsor influencers right on-platform. Some have this already, of course — think members and Supers on YouTube.
But Clubhouse appears to be building this directly into the experience of connecting with a creator.
The problem with the earlier phases?
A lot of work for influencers:
“What we think that this means is that every creator has to become a founder,” Constine told me. “They have to cobble together these tools and a team to be able to run them. You can’t just do your artistry. If you’re a guitarist, you can’t just play guitar anymore. You need to be a merchant, a merch designer, a data scientist, or a growth hacker. You’re going to need to be able to design NFTs I guess next, is the next big thing.”
Building it on-platform and letting creators just focus on creating could be a winning strategy.