One year later, Clubhouse is finally out of beta. The company announced Wednesday that it would end its waitlist and invite system, opening up to everybody. Now, anybody can follow Clubhouse links, hop into a creator’s community or join any public event.
Clubhouse is also introducing a real logo that will look familiar — it’s basically a slightly altered version of the waving emoji the company already used. Clubhouse will still hold onto its app portraits, introducing a new featured icon from the Atlanta music scene to ring in the changes.
“The invite system has been an important part of our early history,” Clubhouse founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth wrote in a blog announcement. They note that adding users in waves and integrating new users into the app’s community through Town Halls and orientation sessions helped Clubhouse grow at a healthy rate without breaking, “but we’ve always wanted Clubhouse to be open.”
Clubhouse’s trajectory has been wild, even for a hot new social app. The then invite-only platform took off during the pandemic and inspired a wave of voice-based social networking that probably still isn’t anywhere near cresting. Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Discord and everybody else eventually followed suit, splicing voice chat rooms and voice events into their existing platforms.
Interest in Clubhouse reached a fever-pitch early this year, and the app’s rise is inextricable from the pandemic-imposed social isolation that saw people around the globe desperate for ways to feel connected as the months dragged on.
The world is slowly, unevenly opening up and Clubhouse is gradually changing along with it. After a long iOS-only stretch, the company introduced an Android app in May. Now, Clubhouse says they’ve reached 10 million Clubhouse downloads in the Android app’s first two months. And earlier this month, Clubhouse introduced a text-based chat feature called Backchannel that broadened the singularly voice-centric app’s focus for the first time.
According to new data SensorTower provided to TechCrunch, Clubhouse hit its high point in February at 9.6 million global downloads, up from 2.4 million the month prior. After that, things settled down a bit before perking back up in May when Clubhouse went live on Android through the Google Play Store. Since May, new Android users have accounted for the lion’s share of the app’s downloads. In June, Clubhouse was installed 7.7 million times across both iOS and Android — an impressive number that’s definitely in conflict with the perception that the app might not have staying power.
Clubhouse’s success is a double-edged sword. The app’s meteoric rise came as a surprise to the team, as meteoric rises often do. The social app is still a wild success by normal metrics in a landscape completely dominated by a handful of large, entrenched platforms, but it can be tricky to maintain healthy momentum after such high highs. Opening up the app to everybody should certainly help.