Is Clubhouse Hip Hop’s New Favorite App?
Remember the long tiring hours of uploading your own songs on MySpace? Or more recently, the struggle of syncing your music files to Spotify? Hmmm…neither, do we!
With the rapid entrances of new social networks, those prehistoric apps are a thing of the past compared to these more user-friendly ones. A year of quarantining has reintroduced us to various platforms like the video-sharing service, TikTok, the subscriber-based, OnlyFans and the audio-chat app, Clubhouse.
These modern platforms have made everyday tasks like music promotion and networking easier than ever. However, Clubhouse has recently prevailed as the music industry’s latest go-to product. Now, what’s so great about this podcast-styled program? More importantly, why is it attracting artists like Drake, Meek Mill and 21 Savage?
Headlines after headlines are calling out these rappers for their participation in the platform and how it can change the hip-hop community as we know it. Controversial, fast-paced and unbounded- Clubhouse is the alluring app that everybody can’t stop talking about.
Now, it’s been a while since we had to stand in line to go to the club but that same energy has transferred right on over to the Clubhouse experience. Founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison and Rohan Seth of Alpha Exploration Co., Clubhouse is an invite-only app that’s audio-focused and allows people to host and join online conversations.
Launching in April 2020, the app’s sendoff coincidentally coincided with the world’s closure due to the 2020 pandemic. With users spending more time at home on their phones, they were able to tune in to everything going on in social media (the good and the bad). From the rapid growth of the dancing-destination, TikTok to the widespread use of the WFH-site, Zoom, audio, and video apps were our saviors from this trainwreck of a year.
``The focus is on authentic human connection and dialogue, rather than likes or follows, and it's all using your voice,`` Davison said to Insider.
As a newer app that was producing an elitist approach, Clubhouse made its way on the scene like a thief in the night. Cracking the code, Clubhouse gained some traction by becoming the celeb-studded site that lets users have a front-row seat to their favorite artists, actors, athletes and more. Exclusive and media-driven, the app’s appeal grew more and more allowing fans to get on the waitlist for the next big thing. When finally gaining access to Clubhouse’s holy grail, the platform gifts new user’s with two invites to give access to two people of choice. Having the chance to be in company with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Virgil Abloh and Elon Musk, people are willing to do anything to get an invite. That even includes purchasing one online!
We know what you’re thinking? What in the hell would make someone pay for a spot in a digital forum? Well, the answer is that Clubhouse isn’t just your typical social media website. While Facebook, Instagram and Twitter focus on images and words, Clubhouse offers audience’s a totally different format. Similar to a video call, a host can create a room and moderate the members inside it.
The room’s visitors can also get a chance to enter the chat by raising their hands. This formula has especially been a fan favorite to musicians looking for networking opportunities in the music industry. The rooms allow artists to connect, share stories and promote their music in their rooms. With the live music industry taking a big hit at this time, many artists have turned to Clubhouse to host live audio performances and listening parties. After their performance, they would even use the platform to promote their GoFundMe page or Cash App to ask for donations and tips.
The fact I’m sitting in this Clubhouse room listening to Dame Dash, Grant Cardone, and Tyrese talk live is just amazing to me. We all just sitting on our phones chilling. Listening to gems.— Mr. Macchiato (@Tevane) February 12, 2021
Several industry professionals have even taken the time to host their own rooms to further educate audiences. One of the most recent examples of this was Dame Dash’s conversation with Tyrese and Grant Cardone. As the co-founder of Roc-A-Fella, Dash has earned quite a reputation for himself as both a businessman and hip-hop frontman.
Although the New York entrepreneur is considered one of the industry’s biggest villains, fans were still excited to hear his side of the story. During the call, Dash dropped several free gems to the audience encouraging and motivating them to take that next step in their career. His ideologies kicked off a viral moment on Twitter, once again giving the app more attention.
Although Clubhouse has produced many civil conversations, there are plenty of discussions that have taken darker turns. One of these examples is the Philadelphia rapper, Meek Mill. Meek is extremely familiar with controversy and almost refuses to leave its realms. What did “Dream Chasers” rapper do now? Let’s see he used the platform to once again slam his ex Nicki Minaj, got into a heated blowout with DJ Akademiks and hosted a room about uplifting Black men, which ended with him ferociously yelling at one of the speakers during the convo. Other artists and celebs have crashed hard on Clubhouse as well including, Tory Lanez and Kevin Hart.
With the amount of reported poor social media interactions, Clubhouse, unfortunately, does have its flaws. Like its social media predecessors, Clubhouse can quickly switch to “Clout” house. Sadly the need for attention overperforms productive talk and pushes the conversation to new lows.
Too many opportunists have attempted to take advantage of the freedom-of-speech-based site to attempt to educate listeners. With this failed exchange comes gaslighting, nonsensical debates and faulty discussions. Truth be told, the biggest question to come out of the majority of these online conversations is “who’s the student and who’s the teacher?”
The app’s popularity is continually growing, and audio content is becoming the new way to give and receive information. Through Clubhouse’s extensively long list of perks, comes many obstacles along with it. Hip-hop has greatly adapted the site because the genre itself is filled with disputes and beef. A digital safe space to state one’s music debates is exactly what the genre needed, and fans are loving it. If artists continue to find more ways to optimize the conversation and utilize it for growth and advice, Clubhouse can be the music industry’s new best friend. So far, it’s been exciting physically seeing the development of the new app and how much income it is providing artists in the long run.
Do you think Clubhouse has a longstanding future in tech and the hip-hop industry? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Autumn Simon is a music and cultural journalist based in Los Angeles, Ca. She graduated from the University of La Verne, where she studied journalism and social media marketing. Her work has been published on DoLA and UncoverLA. Her interest includes finding hidden gems in LA, discovering new artists, and attending live concerts and festivals. Her favorite artists include Kanye West, Ice Cube, Frank Ocean, and Smino- just to name a few!