Innumerable Clubhouse creators were anticipating their first sponsorship meeting for months as the inaugural class of Clubhouse’s “Creator First” program were supposed to receive Clubhouse’s help landing sponsorships turning their shows into a “profitable creative endeavor.”
Eventually, creators wrote down lists of brands they wanted to speak with but when the time came, it turned out they weren’t getting one on one meetings with the brands; instead, they would be pitching their shows to a public room on Clubhouse. Cyndi Pham, a media consultant said “It was a real big joke, I feel like [making it public] was something they did to save face because they couldn’t get any sponsors to show up.”
Each creator hardly had two minutes to pitch their programs for sponsorship. According to a Clubhouse spokesperson, “Dozens of agencies and brands attended” but technical difficulties tripped up multiple creators, preventing them from speaking.
An anonymous creator said, “I received no email, so either that means nobody was interested in my show, nobody came, or I haven’t gotten the information, and I suspected the second one: that nobody came.” As many as six creators from Clubhouse’s creator program complained that no brands sponsored them before the end of the program. They also said Clubhouse failed to turn any of their shows into sustainable endeavors as advertised.
As of now, it is not clear how much money Clubhouse is making despite its unicorn status. It has partnered with some major organizations like TED and the NFL but those details were not public. It is to be noted that Clubhouse is not directly monetizing the live audio rooms hosted by creators. Similarly, creators themselves have no way to ensure regular income through their shows like on other platforms.
Currently, nearly every social app has dedicated millions of dollars to bringing creators to their platform. For example, Facebook announced plans to spend $1 billion over the next year and a half, Snapchat has been giving away $1 million per day for months, and YouTube announced a $100 million fund to encourage people to use it. Even LinkedIn is dedicating millions to creators.
Traditional podcasting apps like Spotify and Patreon are also offering subscription products to help creators stay in touch with their listeners. It seems Clubhouse and its competitors are playing tricks from the same book. The major difference between YouTube and other platforms is YouTube already generates revenue for lots of people. We have to wait and see what Clubhouse does next to attract content creators and raise the quality of its content.