Audio Creators are a new kind of influencer, born out of the meteoric rise of the Clubhouse audio-only chat app. Together they attract millions of weekly listeners and create online followings. Now, with the boom of Clubhouse and other social apps, like Twitter, building on its success, they are banding together and working with big brands.
Audio Collective is a consequence of the audio boom. The company, which announced its inception on Thursday, will offer event planning, branding advice, and support and community for creators working in the field. Its founders also plan to lobby Clubhouse for tighter moderation policies, better information and performance metrics, and monetization tools.
The 40 founding members of the company are themselves creators; they organize talk shows, meet-ups, discussion groups and other large-scale events and have millions of followers. Unlike podcasters, who produce edited shows, they perform for a live interactive audience just like streamers.
The work of the Audio Collective will build on Clubhouse’s in-house creative pilot program, announced in December, aimed at uplifting powerful users of the app. It will also offer services that the platform does not currently provide, such as helping brands produce events and connecting them with creators on Clubhouse.
It comes as Clubhouse nears the end of an explosive first year. According to analytics firm Apptopia, the app has been downloaded more than 4.7 million times since its introduction last April. The company raised more than $ 100 million in funding in January, placing its valuation at $ 1 billion. In light of Clubhouse’s rapid rise, companies like Twitter and Facebook are rushing to replicate the success of its audio format only on their own platforms. (A Clubhouse representative did not respond to a request for comment.)
Industry experts see interactive audio as an exciting field that will produce a new wave of stars – and a whole new range of considerations. “Never before have so many brands, entrepreneurs, influencers and ordinary people had instant access to their most dedicated audiences,” said Adam Davidson, author of “The Passion Economy”. “Like any means of transformation, it presents new opportunities and terrifying new traps, and requires a thoughtful and regular guide. The Audio Collective is exactly that guide. “
“Clubhouse will create the most powerful and impactful influencers of our time, because the voice is the most powerful tool to communicate with people,” said Farokh Sarmad, 26, entrepreneur and audio creator in Montreal who does not part of the Audio Collective but which has formed its own collaborative groups on Clubhouse.
Talent scouts, agents and marketers look to Clubhouse for unknown creators and opportunities. “We were able to immediately match designers we met on Clubhouse with Fortune 10 brands,” said Lindsay Fultz, senior vice president of partnerships at Whalar, an influencer marketing agency. The creators of the Audio Collective have worked with brands such as Showtime, Milk Bar and Cash App.
“Each of us receives multiple inquiries from brands, agencies, studios, organizations,” said Francesca Hogi, 46, designer in Los Angeles with more than 323,000 subscribers on Clubhouse. “We are contacted by other creators who see that we are able to create community and innovate, and they want to partner with us.”
The founding members of Audio Collective produce all kinds of content. Mir Harris produced a performance of the Disney musical “The Lion King” on Clubhouse. Leiti Hsu hosts a popular dinner variety show. Kat Cole, a former business executive, hosts rooms focused on leadership.
Rembrandt Flores, founder of AgentC, a talent and branding agency for the creators of Clubhouse, said his phone had “sounded out of place” since his agency launched less than a week ago. “It reminds me of when Instagram just came out, all these agencies were born out of that,” he said. “Now there is this new medium. We’re tired of photos and videos, so it’s refreshing enough that you don’t have to worry about it on Clubhouse. It’s so liberating. This new generation of influencers will dominate the roost. “
As Clubhouse continues to add millions of users each month, it has faced complaints of hate speech, harassment and misinformation. “One of the things we are committed to as a collective is to help set the tone for the Clubhouse community,” said Ms. Hogi. The group plans to push the company towards thoughtful moderation and security tools.
“We want people to have safe and good experiences on the platform and we continue to be the fiercest advocates of trust and more powerful security tools,” said Catherine Connors, 49, audio designer at Los Angeles.
Some creators feel that the app is under-selling them. When a person registers at the Clubhouse, they are invited to follow the suggested users of the application; many of these users are investors in the application and their close associates. The goal of Audio Collective is to help raise creative voices.
Mr Sarmad said other collaborative groups and collectives are popping up on Clubhouse, especially among younger users. “The same way Viners came together and Instagrammers came together to grow and collaborate seven years ago, it’s happening behind the scenes at the Clubhouse,” he said.
“We are trying to build alliances together to dominate the app in a good way,” he added. “Everything people see in theaters is the result of what happened days ago in the back channels. Everyone forms collaborative groups.
The creators of Audio Collective say they see themselves as part of a larger shift to freelance work, following in the footsteps of Instagram influencers, YouTubers, TikTok stars and Twitch streamers. “We see ourselves as building on the larger media and creator landscape,” Ms. Connors said.
“Part of what we want to do is not just to create a model of how audio can be transformed,” she said, “but also to advance the culture of creators in order to that this culture is not shaped by platforms and technologists, but artists, creatives and talents. “