It’s another blow for the audio social fad. Though not usually regarded to be within the same category as most other social platforms here, Reddit does have its own set of unique nuances that make it stand out. Remember when audio social was all the rage back when Clubhouse was first announced and actually had a lot of hype? Yeah, that bandwagon died out pretty quickly, with the former ‘Social Prodigy’, which was once valued at $1 billion and had more than 10 million weekly active users, falling way off the mark.
Clubhouse was made famous even before it was, leading to several copycat features popping up almost everywhere. Twitter Spaces, Facebook Audio Rooms, and LinkedIn Live Chats are but a few to name notable ones. Now, almost all of these have either been shut down or heavily scaled back, with interest in the format continuing to wane. On that note, Reddit is supposedly scrapping its own take – Reddit Talk.
No More Talking
As Reddit explains:
“We have made the difficult decision to sunset the Reddit Talk product in the coming weeks. Hosting Reddit Talks will continue to be available until March 21. The ‘Happening Now’ experiment will also wind down on this date.”
Reddit originally planned to continue supporting audio chat elements, in line with broader platform upgrades, but recent changes have led to further complexities in terms of maintaining the option. Reddit Talk was originally launched in April 2021, at the latter end of the audio social boom. For a while, it became a hit with certain users and communities, but Reddit is no longer able to justify the costs of maintaining it. This could suggest why usage hasn’t been too good as well, aligning with every other audio social offer, in that they do have a level of niche value, but aren’t too widely popular.
As predicted by many, audio social has followed a similar trajectory to live video streaming, with a much-hyped launch period, followed by steady rationalization, which has eventually seen both functionalities lose their luster with general users. The main challenge that continues to plague live content is its difficulty – it’s not easy to consistently create on-the-fly content that keeps audiences engaged and coming back. In both cases, that has seen the quality of streams decline, meaning that audiences had to search more just to find stuff that was actually good and of high quality. Soon enough, they just got tired and didn’t bother.
The functionality is by no means useless, Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse are still here and continue to mete out regular updates and quality-of-life improvements to improve their appeal. But ultimately, the main draw of audio social just can’t compete with that of video.
There’s a place for audio social somewhere, but as a general, broad-reaching focal element, it doesn’t have as big of a future as, say, AR or VR. For Reddit Talks specifically, Reddit says that conversations held after September 1, 2022 are now available for download until June 1st, before the function is permanently switched off.