Discord has launched its own version of Clubhouse, called Stage Channels, that allows users to host audio conversations to a room of listeners. The feature is now available wherever Discord can be downloaded, including mobile devices and the web.
The instant messaging app already allows for voice channels, rooms where all users present can talk freely with a mic connected. Stage Channels are more akin to public events like panels or town halls. In a Stage Channel, only certain people permitted can talk while everyone else is designated a listener, making for a more structured chat. The feature, however, is relegated to Community servers for now.
An invitation-only audio app that’s currently exclusive to iOS devices (though an Android version is in development), Clubhouse lets people setup conversations with a few individuals to be broadcasted to as many as 5,000 people. The app gained popularity throughout 2020 in large part because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reaching a valuation of $1 billion and exceeding over three million users.
Discord is just the latest company to try emulating Clubhouse’s success. Twitter launched Spaces in December 2020 to eke out its own segment of the audio-only app space. Other companies, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, and Spotify are all reportedly in the process of developing their own live audio-only applications.