Clubhouse adds payments, social media continues to park tanks on fintech’s lawn

By Eric Johansson

Clubhouse is adding a new payments feature intended to provide revenues for creators and says further such initiatives are in the pipeline. The move comes against a background of social media platforms introducing more fintech-style aspects to their operations.

Clubhouse launched in 2020 and has become popular among journalists and venture capitalists. The New York-headquartered social media startup, which is invite-only at the moment, enables users to host, listen to and join audio conversations within the app’s community. Now, creators using the platform may be able to make some money doing so.

“From the earliest days of Clubhouse, a guiding principle has been to build a platform that puts the creator first,” Clubhouse said in a blog on Monday. “Our aim is to help creators build community, audience and impact. And as Clubhouse continues to scale, it’s important to us to align our business model with that of the creators – helping them make money and thrive on the platform.

“Today, we’re thrilled to begin rolling out Payments – our first monetisation feature for creators on Clubhouse. 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. Our hope is to collect feedback, fine-tune the feature, and roll it out to everyone soon.”

The company added that the new feature “will be the first of many features that allow creators [to] get paid directly on Clubhouse.”

Clubhouse is not alone in adding fintech solutions to its infrastructure, as highlighted in a recent research report from GlobalData.

“[Facebook] has started to offer embedded payments as a key ingredient of its ecosystem, launching Facebook Pay in 2019 and Facebook Shop in 2020,” GlobalData’s analysts said. “We expect social media companies to step up efforts to allow shopping on their platforms in 2021, blurring the boundaries between social media and ecommerce.”

The Clubhouse announcement comes its competitors are increasingly launching their own Clubhouse clones. Last week, LinkedIn revealed that it is about to start testing its own audio-based service. In the months prior, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, Telegram and Slack have all announced or hinted at plans to roll out similar services.

The rush into audio and payments results from intensifying competition among social media platforms, driven by their increased popularity during recent extensive lockdowns.