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Say Hello to Greenroom from Spotify (is this the end for Clubhouse?)

There's no doubt in 2021, social audio is HOT with apps like Clubhouse taking over the social landscape.

I jumped on in January and instantly found myself completely at home and in love with this new social app, much more so than any other social media. I loved the connections and genuine, real nature of the platform.

But with Clubhouse being valued at over $4billion just in April, it was never going to take long before competitors started wanting a slice of the social audio world.

Twitter introduced spaces, Facebook teased Mark Zuckerberg testing their new live audio rooms this week and announcing its new podcast feature.

I heard on Clubhouse yesterday there are almost 200 audio apps in various stages of development including Reddit and LinkedIn!

But to succeed, you need a BIG audience, as Clubhouse has entrenched itself pretty well as the first app in this space, so it's likely only a company with a lot of money/users behind it is going to be able to take Clubhouse down.

Enter Spotify's Greenroom

Within hours of launching, clubhouse fans started flocking to the app to see what the buzz was about, so if you're curious, I'll go over the basics and differences between Greenroom and Clubhouse, to help you work out if Greenroom is something you need to be paying attention to.

First a little history.

Greenroom was originally Locker Room, a sports fan app created by Betty Labs, which was acquired by Spotify and turned into Greenroom on June 16 (I do feel for the poor Locker Room users who woke up and Locker Room was suddenly Greenroom!)

This is why it defaults to putting you in clubs like NBA and starts your account out following people in the sports world. The twitter feed for Spotify Greenroom hasn't yet caught up either - the name and logo has been changed from Locker Room, but it's all sports right on now @SpotifyGrnroom

A slick PR campaign meant every news outlet was talking about Greenroom as the next big thing and that news naturally made its way to Clubhouse, which ironically sent people to Greenroom in droves.

I lost count of the number of rooms on Clubhouse all talking about Greenroom and if it was better than Clubhouse (or why Clubhouse is better than Greenroom). Total FOMO in action, as naturally, Clubhouse users wanted to check it out and see if Greenroom really WAS better or might have features they felt Clubhouse was missing.

I heard on Greenroom yesterday that the Greenroom team had obviously been listening to the Clubhouse weekly town halls and feedback from users and basically given Clubhouse users everything Clubhouse was not yet able to deliver on.

So we've got this brand new social audio app, with a huge budget and linked to Spotify, using features not yet on Clubhouse that CH users want. No wonder Clubhouse users wanted to check it out!

I have no doubt people wanted to claim their space on the app as well. It's not every day you get to join an app on Day 1 and when everyone is starting from zero, it really evens the field and gives you a chance to be heard.

It's absolutely feeling like Clubhouse late 2020/early 2021 so far. The great connections and rooms you want to stay in for hours.

The Greenroom app is available to download on both iOS and Android/playstore - however Android features are lagging currently and the chat (see below) is only on the iOS version at this early stage.

The biggest differences (benefits?)

Clubhouse is not designed to be recorded and it's not easy to record rooms on Clubhouse.  CH essentially hosts thousands of live interactive podcasts, so if you're there at the time an exciting room is happening you can listen in and possibly speak. BUT if that room is in the middle of the night or you're busy, tough luck, you can't listen and miss out on it.

Listening on demand is great for the FOMO factor, to try and get people to be there live and driving up time on app statistics, but for many people, they can't spend hours every day on the app, no matter how awesome the rooms are.

And as a creator, if you are the person running the room and it's an amazing room, unless you've set up to record in advance and set up permissions with everyone etc, you can't repurpose that content. Without repurposing, it's a lot of time spent, for sometimes not as much reward as you'd like.

Greenroom, however, has full recording capabilities native in the app, which I think will be a gamechanger.

As someone who adores Clubhouse (I'm NOT a fan of being on camera 😂) I've been increasingly resistant to spending as much time on the app lately, as sometimes when rooms are smaller, it's a big investment of your time, when you can't use that content anywhere else.

But recording rooms, that is brilliant. You can turn it into a podcast or strip out short highlights and use them on other social media.

Recordings from Greenhouse rooms are available for download in MP3 format straight after the room. You do need to choose whether to record it when you start the room.

I'd REALLY love to be able to save rooms and make them available on-demand for people to listen to the recording later for those who missed it live.

I do hope that Greenroom addresses privacy concerns I've heard many people mention already. Many users want to ensure it's VERY clear to everyone that the content can be recorded/reused. 

Text Chat

This is the next big point of difference right now and one that people are mostly REALLY enjoying!

No longer will audience members just hang out listening, everyone in the room can talk in the live chat. 

I think this is really going to keep people in rooms longer. Many of the big rooms on Clubhouse and Greenroom, have full stages and it's almost impossible to get on sometimes.

But with chat, you can still ask questions, chat with other audience members and connect with each other, it makes it more interactive and involves everyone. 

But most importantly for entrepreneurs - you can add links!

So if you happen to be talking about a free lead magnet you have available, a challenge you've got coming up or talking about your products, you can quickly and easily drop your links straight into the chat.

The only issue right now is when the chat moves fast, it is difficult to keep up, as it always goes to the latest message, so can make it a little jumpy to try and read all the chat. It also poses issues for the room moderator, as trolls may be able to come into the room and disrupt the chat, so ideally having someone monitor that in big rooms may be necessary.

Live Links in Bio

The bio area of Greenroom is TINY compared to Clubhouse, smaller even than an Instagram Bio, but one great advantage it has over the long Clubhouse bio is clickable links!

You can add your website, link in bio link or IG links to your bio, which will greatly increase opportunities to connect with people in rooms. You can also connect Twitter and YouTube which will be great if you have a YouTube channel and want to grow your subscribers.

Gems

One of the features that came from Locker Room and seems to be really popular on Greenroom, is the ability to give people Gems.

Whilst Gems are currently free and don't mean anything, the large amount of space the "gem counter" takes up on the bio (more than the profile picture) is not something that happens by accident 😉

There were also rumours of needing 2000 gems to be able to enter certain rooms at some stage or that Gems may be used as some kind of payment.

Others noted that if that was the case, it would only be a matter of weeks before gem bot farms start-up, to get people quickly to the Gem count. Right now, a lot of rooms are all about those Gems, but I can't imagine that will go on for long, just like there was a crackdown on the follow for follow rooms on Clubhouse pretty quickly.

It will be interesting to see where the Gem feature goes! For now, Greenroom Gems is a fun feature that most users seem to enjoy. No doubt the developers know it gives people a little dopamine hit - which is why so many people are attracted to the "gem" rooms right now, but that won't last long.

Greenroom Creator Fund

Greenroom has followed the lead of TikTok and others and implemented a Greenroom creator fund to support and reward creators for the communities they build and the experiences they create on Greenroom.

The carrot is getting paid weekly for creating content that gets lots of people in your rooms - payouts are based on how many people are with you live. 

Greenroom/Spotify wants creators to be rewarded for the communities they build, the audiences they reach, and the experiences they create from the very start and will be paying creators weekly.

Currently, like most creator funds, this is only available for people in the US, it would be great to recognise people outside the US that are creating amazing content - especially in the early days of Greenroom. It will be a big draw to get people to move to the app for sure.

Get more info about the Greenroom Creator fund or apply for it click here

 

Some Greenroom Frustrations

The app has only been going for a couple of days, which means expectations need to be kept in check - but the users are already having rooms to brainstorm ways to improve things.

Hopefully, the Greenhouse team are listening, these are some of the common issues.

Only One Moderator per room

With just one mod responsible for the entire room, it's a lot for one person to have to keep the room going! The single mod has to manage the stage and the chat, plus bring people up and talk as well. The creator of the room is the moderator.

There were also rumours in various rooms about other roles being introduced Chess style - like adding Queen, Bishop etc to the room roles, so it will be interesting to see how these room/speaker roles evolve over the next few months.

If you are a speaker in a room and you leave that room to go to another room, you will have to request access to get back up on the stage - which is another thing for the moderator to keep an eye on.

The app seems to be designed for more speaker plus a handful of guests arrangement, rather than a social connection app with many people all on stage chatting at once. 

No muting of speakers

Not being able to mute people's mics makes the job of the single moderator even harder, as right now, the only way to stop extra noise interrupting the room, is to kick someone off the stage.

It would be fantastic to either mute everyone on the stage or be able to mute single people. It can be so easy to turn the mic on by accident.

Glitches

It's a brand new app, just two days in, so there have been a lot of glitches with such a huge influx of people onto the app.

Rooms have been shut down completely or they become impossible to navigate. Sometimes even half freezing and not refreshing or responding.

Who is speaking?

Right now, the stage can get quite crowded so it can be hard to see who is speaking, especially on a crowded stage (40 + speakers). The green ring around the speaker blends in easily, plus the order on the stage makes it even harder.

Despite just putting the first name next to the picture, the stage is ordered by the last name, rather than who joined the room first, which also makes it difficult to find people, as you don't know where on the list to look and often you don't know who you are listening to.

Spam/Trolls in the Chat

Whilst chat is one feature I think makes Greenroom awesome, with just one moderator, it's hard to keep an eye on the chat and make sure it doesn't get out of control. Anyone can spam with links or write inappropriate content without any restriction, so I think Greenroom will need to address that.

Permission for Recording

Right now - there is no way to get explicit written content for recording. There is a button at the top that shows the room is being recorded - so you can almost assume that is happening any time on Greenroom. I think some kind of "this room is being recorded" yes/no button before entering would be a better way to protect hosts and guests and make the recording status clearer.

 

Thankfully, it's SUPER easy to report issues and suggest improvements - just shake your phone and a feedback form pops up.

 

So... Clubhouse or Greenroom?

Right now, it's hard to tell, but already, after just 2 days on the app, I'm loving this format.

There is no way I'm going to turn my back on the audience I've built up on Clubhouse or give up my weekly rooms there, but I will be spending time on Greenroom for sure.

Many big names and power users from Clubhouse are already staking their claim and bringing over their audience from Clubhouse and appreciating the potential.

It will be interesting to see how Clubhouse responds and if people build their audience again in a new place because they want to - or because the numbers on Clubhouse go down and creators aren't able to get a big enough audience.

At the end of the day, Spotify has a HUGE budget, 350 million-plus user base and the size and experience of their development team allows them to be responsive and make changes in response to the early adopter's feedback.

It's going to be an interesting next month as Greenroom matures and moves away from the "gem collection"  and "is greenroom better than clubhouse" rooms that are currently dominating the platform due to the novelty factor. 

I must say, it's exciting being on a new app from the beginning, so if you've not yet checked it out, I absolutely recommend it, especially if you'd like the option to record audio rooms and repurpose the content.

If you don't yet have an account, I think it's a good idea to claim your name now, even if you're not currently intending on using it.

If you're on Greenroom, let's connect, I'm @suey there and @suemclachlan on Clubhouse. 

If you have a podcast and would like a guest to talk about Greenroom, please get in touch sue @ theunicornadvisory.com

 

Sue x

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