Users can now send money to their favorite creators — or speakers — on Clubhouse, a one-year-old shared audio app reportedly estimated at $1 billion. Clubhouse Payments, the startup’s latest monetization feature, was announced in a blog post as“the first of many features that allow creators to get paid directly on Clubhouse.”
Clubhouse did not respond to a request for comment. Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davison stated in the company’s most recent town hall that the company needs to concentrate on direct monetization of creators rather than advertising.
Here’s how it will work: In Clubhouse, a user may make a payment by going to the profile of the creator to whom they want to send money. The user will be able to tap “Send Money” and enter a sum if the creator has activated the function. It’s similar to a virtual tip jar or a Clubhouse-branded Venmo (although the payments feature doesn’t currently let the user send a personalized message along with the money).
“100% of the payment will go to the creator. The person sending the money will also be charged a small card processing fee, which will go directly to our payment processing partner, Stripe,” the post reads. “Clubhouse will take nothing.”
Stripe CEO Patrick Collison tweeted shortly after the blog post went up that “It’s cool to see a new social platform focus first on participant income rather than internalized monetization / advertising.”
In January, the company raised a $100 million Series B led by Andreessen Horowitz, with a portion of the funds going to a creator grant program. According to a blog post, the software will be used to “help emerging Clubhouse developers.” It’s unclear how they define emerging, but one way the startup promotes high-quality content is by cultivating influencers (and rewarding them with money).
The synergies here are clear. A Clubhouse creator can now get tips for a fun show or raise money for a great cause, while still being compensated by the site itself for being a recurring host.
It’s worth remembering that Clubhouse’s first attempt at monetization contains no percentage cut of its own. Since the start of the pandemic, monetization, or the lack thereof, has been a hot topic of conversation about the buzzy startup. Although it currently depends on venture capital to keep the wheels turning, it will ultimately need to make money to become self-sufficient.
Large companies have grown as a result of creator monetization, which includes a cut for the platform. Cameo, a company that sends direct messages from creators and celebrities, takes a quarter of every video sold on its website. With a $100 million raise last week, the startup became a unicorn. OnlyFans, another website that allows creators to collect money directly from fans in return for paywalled touch, expects to make $1 billion in revenue in 2021.
The payments function of Clubhouse will be reviewed by a “small test group” beginning today, but it is uncertain who will be included in this group. The payment functionality will be gradually rolled out to other users.