As social audio has increased in popularity, so have the sheer opportunities to meet, truly connect, and learn from (and with!) others.
Clubhouse’s website describes: “Bounce around the hallways of the Internet and meet incredible people. Discover millions of rooms, filled with fascinating and unexpected conversations.” They go on to describe their social audio app: “Every day, people are telling jokes, reading the morning news, making music together, and sharing deep thoughts. What about you?”
Well, what about you? You may be a completely new user to Clubhouse, or one who has visited hundreds — if not thousands — of different rooms by now. If you’re new, here is Hubspot's guide you can visit to help you set up your profile, select topics of interest, follow other users, learn how to use the explore page, join clubs, drop into rooms, request to speak, and more. (Reading through our blog post here first may provide some context for what you’re about to experience in those virtual hallways of Clubhouse.)
We’ll quote one of Clubhouse’s blog posts from January 2021, titled “Welcoming More Voices”:
“Each night in Clubhouse, there are now thousands of rooms filled with people hosting game shows, recapping NBA games, singing opera, discussing philosophy, meeting other musicians, sharing travel tips, running support groups, and meditating together. They’re hosting daily talk shows, performing standup comedy, playing guitar and giving history lectures. In December, forty strangers who met on Clubhouse auditioned, rehearsed, and hosted a full-blown musical production for thousands of people that made national headlines. They are creating entirely new ways for people to come together, all through the power of voice.”
So for this blog, let’s focus on those rooms — where the magic happens. After all, this is why you’ve downloaded the app.
The Best Clubhouse Rooms to Explore
First, we’ll briefly acknowledge the obvious: We’re all individuals, and we don’t all like the same topics. Some Clubhouse rooms here that we recommend you simply may not enjoy. That is also the beauty of Clubhouse and social audio apps in general: Many different humans and cultures across the world are coming together to meet for the first time. You won’t always agree — and that’s okay.
As Clubhouse writes in their blog post "Growing a Global Community", “With millions of new users bouncing around the hallways, we’ve witnessed all sorts of magical and unlikely collisions — from Platon and Edward Snowden auctioning artwork, to impromptu #StopAsianHate fundraisers, to small intimate rooms around the world going late into the night, where people from all cultures have come together to meet for the first time.”
So which Clubhouse rooms should you explore?
1. Comedy rooms
In fact, as of September 2021, Leah Lamarr, a stand-up comedian and actress, is the Clubhouse icon. “Her club Hot on the Mic consistently hosts some of the most popular comedy rooms on Clubhouse, and many of her 230,000+ followers can often be found in the audience of her real-world standup shows.”
And the best part? Comedy rooms recently became even more awesome, as Clubhouse integrated spatial audio almost a month ago via High Fidelity’s Local Spatializer. What does that mean? Spatial audio technology recreates the way we hear sound in real life. Think about how that affects comedy: You can hear other people laughing all around you, as though you’re sitting in a room together with the comedians.
Justin Uberti, Head of Streaming at Clubhouse, recently described this feeling in regards to comedy rooms while discussing his thoughts about spatial audio on the “Tech Reframed” podcast. “As I was kicking around ideas for what kind of thing would be an interesting thing to develop as a feature for the [Clubhouse] service, experimentation with spatial audio hit me as something that feels visceral. I spent a lot of time sitting in rooms, listening to people chatting back and forth… [It could be a] free for all, or comedy room, or music. One thing in particular for comedy, though — [spatial audio] made an enormous difference after someone told a joke. When you hear that laughter come in from all directions around you, that feels like a qualitatively different experience. It mimics the real life experience of being at a club.”
2. Live audio theatre rooms
As Broadway theatres shut down due to the pandemic, artists turned to Clubhouse.
Last December 2020, “Lion King: The Musical” took off on Clubhouse, organized by Noelle Chestnut Whitmore, who assumed the role of executive producer and director. “The more than 40-member cast all auditioned last month, and together they performed, sang, and played instruments flawlessly together. The viral event with its beautifully orchestrated PTR (pull to refresh) imagery that perfectly matched every scene in the show was an instant hit with Clubhouse users.”
“It followed the 1994 movie script of 'The Lion King' word-for-word, with an added original narration by Mir Harris — a creative strategist who starred in and helped produce the musical — to compensate for the lack of visual components in the performance. The Lion King served as an impetus for other Clubhouse performances, including ‘The Wiz’ and ‘Dreamgirls.’ The musicals revived a century-old form of entertainment: radio drama.”
"Audio theater was the standard for our grandparents," said Sherita Carthon, the casting and creative director for "The Wiz" on Clubhouse. "Through the drop-in audio app, we pulled on the spirit of times past to open up our audience's imagination through pictures and sound." Listeners tuned in from as far as Germany and Afghanistan, Carthon said. "There is no way for a locally based theater production to have that type of reach," she said.
Sure, what audience members will experience at in-person shows is different, no doubt. But COVID-19 still forces some restrictions on Broadway, theatres, and music venues... so artists are making it work, and social audio apps provide great digital theatre spaces with worldwide audiences.
And with the new addition of spatial audio on Clubhouse, it’ll only help create a far more lifelike, immersive experience for fans.
3. Musical rooms
“Clubhouse is many things to musicians and music biz pros: a virtual music conference with endless panels, a marketplace for promoters of bands and brands, a jam session, musical theater for the ears, and a late-night hang,” writes Bill Hochberg. Granted, yes, latency can be an issue here — “A poor WiFi signal can cause a bassist in Brooklyn to play three beats behind a drummer in Detroit, or two bars ahead of a keyboardist in Kathmandu.” … But nonetheless, people have gotten creative trying to make the best of it (largely through “lots of rehearsal, familiarity with each other, and the material”).
“One famous Clubhouse room, ‘The Cotton Club’, was created and led by singer-songwriter Bomani X. The room resembled a real-life jazz club experience where people virtually mingle and designated users act as the club's bartender and DJ.”
Here’s another example: “The other night, as I was scrolling through the rooms, I happened to see a room with a DJ called Savage who was going to be spinning R&B which I love. Well, that DJ Savage was 21 Savage, the rapper and on stage, Usher and Jermaine Dupri were there too having a conversation about some of Usher’s songs, the process, followed by an R&B music battle,” writes Winy Bernard. On Clubhouse, there are really no barriers to access. When you think about it, you’re already ‘backstage’ (so to speak) with the artist(s) when you’re in a Clubhouse room with them.
Experience Spatial Audio in Clubhouse Rooms
Like we stated near the beginning, it may be that the three above types of Clubhouse rooms don’t interest you much. That’s totally fine — there are over 700,000 rooms created per day now on Clubhouse, and if you’re on iOS, you’ll get to experience spatial audio in all of them (Android update coming soon).
Are you working on a social audio app or other native app that uses audio? If you’re curious to learn more about integrating spatial audio like Clubhouse did, get in touch with us about our Local Spatializer.
Clubhouse writes: “The thing we love most is how voice can bring people together. No matter where you live in the world or what networks you have access to, in Clubhouse you can be in the room — often with people whose lived experience has been very different from your own. In one of the most turbulent and troubled years many of us have experienced, people on Clubhouse have come together for important and nuanced conversations on topics of social justice reform, BLM and anti-racism. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, room after room filled the hallways with people discussing constitutional law, sharing stories about RBG’s childhood, and praying in silence together…”
700,000+ opportunities to feel like you are really in the room with others, even if you are across the world physically from them.