In 2020 and 2021, the world observed as users drove growing social audio platforms like Clubhouse and discord. In February 2021, these platforms marked nearly 10 million monthly downloads, with users clawing to join the invite-only social audio platform. 

In April 2021, the app got installed only 900,000 times. Experts have begun to question the bright future of social audio as it seemed a year ago. Now the destiny of social audio seems to be an additional feature on a platform like Discord or Twitter rather than a dedicated, standalone platform.  

The pandemic is a breeding ground for social audio

By many accounts, the pandemic created a breeding ground for the growth of social audio. Clubhouse emerged when consumers were increasingly screen-weary. They were looking for new and energizing entertainment platforms. Zoom fatigue had become pervasive, and users were actively hunting for a respite. 

At the same time, users were experiencing loneliness and isolation and craving personal connection. 

Clubhouse and other fast-follower social audio platforms marketed themselves as places for users to strengthen the human link that had waned during the pandemic. In ways, it does not involve users subjected to video fatigue. Clubhouse explained, “The intonation, inflection, and emotion conveyed through voice allow you to pick up on nuance and form uniquely human connections with others. You can still challenge each other and have tough conversations with voice there, is often an ability to build more empathy.” 

The rise of social audio got instigated by the pandemic. Despite the social audio decline in recent months, there is compelling evidence to suggest that the popularity of social audio will endure for years to come. Popular news sites continue to report on the slew of Clubhouse imitators that continue to launch and vie for a spot in the social audio wars. 

 Social audio is especially likely to leave an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and social media. Even as social audio has experienced a decline, social media behemoths like Meta and Twitter continue to announce social audio investments. For its part, LinkedIn recently announced its own Clubhouse-like audio events platform. 

Future of social audio in entertainment  

By no means is the success of social audio guaranteed. Key players, creators, and platform companies will need to think carefully about the reforms to survive their foray into social audio. Privacy is critically important for users. It is one of the most significant factors that will drive sustainable growth is user privacy. 

In an era where social media and entertainment companies are updated regularly, a misstep related to user privacy or security could prove fatal for social audio platforms. It is necessary because it can be more challenging to safeguard user privacy and security on pure social audio platforms. Traditional content moderation tactics are not as effective when interactions happen in real time and without text. 

In the end, the creators that will be successful moving along will opt to distribute their content via channels that best match their skill sets with audience member demand. If broad-reach social media platform providers do not empower them to align their skills with audience demand, they will increasingly develop their platforms and distribution channels.

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