Reddit throws its hat into the live audio frenzy

20 Apr 2021

Reddit Talk. Image: Reddit

Reddit Talk takes a lot of cues from Clubhouse as more platforms jostle to launch their own audio features.

In the race to compete with Clubhouse, Reddit has unveiled new live audio features for its social media platform.

Bearing similar hallmarks to the popular audio-chat app, Reddit Talk is being rolled out to subreddits. The feature remains in a limited testing phase currently, with moderators in subreddits controlling when talks are launched and who can speak.

Reddit is starting small with its roll-out and by limiting control to moderators for now, it gives the company a chance to field content moderation issues as they arise – a challenge that becomes more layered with live audio.

Unlike Clubhouse, which is only available on iOS so far, Reddit’s version will be available on both iOS and Android.

Reddit’s move comes the same week as Facebook revealing its own Clubhouse-like audio features. The social media giant announced a slew of new features centred around sharing through audio and podcasts. One feature is Live Audio Rooms, an expansion on Messenger Rooms, which allows live audio chats between users.

Live audio is having a bit of a moment right now. Twitter notably rolled out its Clubhouse competitor Spaces a few months ago, which has gradually gathered traction among users. But it’s far from the only company looking at live audio, with everyone from Slack to Discord working on some kind of feature.

Clubhouse, meanwhile, is battening down the hatches for the stiff competition. While still a relatively new player in the space, the company’s app has soared in popularity in recent months.

This week it announced that it has closed a new Series C funding round that was led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from DST Global, Tiger Global and Elad Gil. Clubhouse did not say how much was raised, but the company is now reportedly worth $4bn. This tees up with the price that was reportedly discussed at acquisition talks between Twitter and Clubhouse earlier this year.

The company is also rolling out payments features that help creators get paid, as a way to woo more users over to its app rather than its new rivals.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin