Clubhouse, the live social audio app that was a huge hit during the early days of the pandemic, has laid off several employees this week. The demobilization comes as part of a broader restructuring and rethinking of the voice implementation strategy.
Some employees chose to leave on their own because the company had scaled back some areas it had previously focused on, such as sports, news and international.
As a result, the platform loses talent and vitality. Top executives are also vying to resign as app downloads fell 80% annually from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2022.
Direct social voice was once an important trend. Platforms have been racing to develop audio tools that could rival the Cuban House platform. But the best days of the platform and its competitors seem to be coming to an end.
Several clubhouse executives have recently resigned. In late April, Stephanie Simon left her position as Head of Brand Branding and Development. Simon joined the platform two months after its launch in 2020.
Three other leaders also announced this week their resignations, including Nina Gregory , Arthi Ramamoorthy and Ano Atloro . The trio led the news and media publishers division, the international division, and the community division.
A company spokesperson said: “A small number of jobs have been eliminated as part of streamlining our team. A few people decided to pursue new opportunities. We are continuing to hire for many positions in the fields of engineering, product and design.
While he said of the departing CEOs: We wouldn’t be where we are today without them. We are grateful for everything they did.
The departure of head of international affairs Ramamoorthy is particularly notable, as she is the wife of Sriram Krishnan, investor and partner in venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, lead investor in Cup House.
The duo used to host The Good Time Show across the platform. But they recently switched to streaming it live on YouTube instead.
The resignation of Atloro is also surprising, as she was one of the first employees of Club House. It was invested in Series A of the application. It recently provided seed funding for social media platform BeReal.
Meanwhile, Gregory came to Clubhouse from NPR, where she was a senior editor in the Technical Office. Sean Brown, president of sports partnerships, also announced his departure last month.
Clubhouse loses staff amid strategic shift
Prominent content makers have also left the platform. The Lullaby Club, highlighted by various publications as an early success, is now shown via Amazon’s new live audio app Amp.
The social voice platform has been struggling for some time, and the departure is another sign of that, but it’s not the only one. The platform is also struggling to retain an audience.
Between January 1 and May 31, the platform saw 3.8 million installs globally, compared to 19 million installs during the same period last year. This represents a decrease of 80% per year.
And when the company was on its way up a year ago, it was valued at $4 billion after a Series C round of financing. However, it’s unclear what the company is worth today.
Many of the platforms that have followed Clubhouse into the world of live audio are also losing ground. And Facebook shut down the Soundbites and Audio hub feature.
Meanwhile, the company has integrated Live Audio Rooms into its live video presentations. Twitter is also cutting back on resources for Spaces and other long-term projects. Reddit launched the social audio feature in April 2021, but it’s still in beta mode.
But some companies do not give up. Spotify has renamed Spotify Greenroom to Spotify Live . Discord has also released its version of the social audio called Stage Channels. While the new social voice app Callin raised $12 million last fall.
However, there are no clear winners in the live social audio race. Unless newcomers can attract and retain a large audience, direct social voice may become a pandemic fad.