Clubhouse, the social community Elon Musk simply joined, plans to generate income from subscriptions


Clubhouse, the vibrant audio-only social app, is looking for ways to monetize the platform for its developers, executive director Paul Davison told CNBC on Monday.

After debuting last year, Clubhouse is now valued at around $ 1 billion and hosts more than 2 million users. The app's premise is relatively simple as there are no videos, pictures, or text-based chat rooms. Users log into the app and are greeted with some live virtual rooms where they can see a list of people attending. When you click on the room, the sound turns on and you can hear the conversation. Think of Clubhouse as an app for unfiltered live podcasts.

Clubhouse's revenue plan is similar to the model used by the crowdfunding service Patreon, which allows independent creators to receive money directly from their audience. Patreon does charge a small fee for these transactions, however, and it is unclear how much or if Clubhouse would accept a percentage of the subscriptions.

It also plays into a topic that social network users have complained about. If a developer can't make money on a particular platform, they'll likely switch to another as they gain traction. Clubhouse insists early on that it can attract more users by giving them the opportunity to make money.

"There are so many incredible people who are smart, funny, with expertise in the field, who are really great at bringing people together," Davison said in an interview with Squawk Box on Monday. "And we want to allow them to earn a living right at the clubhouse, for example by running subscriptions and ticketing events and receiving tips from listeners that they'll be happy to pay for the experiences they are having."

Currently, users cannot pay for content directly through the app. The platform itself is free and there are no ads or premium plans for users. Davison said Monday that Clubhouse plans to introduce some sort of "sooner rather than later" model.

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Steven Gregory