How to Get on Clubhouse, the Invite-only Social Media App Used by Elon Musk

The social media app Clubhouse got a major publicity boost on Monday after Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk appeared on the platform.

The billionaire tech CEO joined an episode of a show called Good Time at 10 p.m. (PST) on Sunday, answering a variety of questions from participants and grilling Vladimir Tenev, the chief executive of the stock trading service Robinhood.

Interest in the event was high on Twitter, as users commented on the major talking points, while a YouTube account streaming Musk's chat was watched by thousands. But what is Clubhouse? How is it different from the slew of existing social media websites and how can you get an invite inside? Here's what you need to know about the app.

What is Clubhouse?

Unlike TikTok, Twitter and Facebook, Clubhouse is dedicated to voice audio, a concept based around "rooms" of members talking about various subjects. Users can enter a room as an audience member, but can virtually raise their hand to ask a moderator to become a speaker. Alternatively, its users can host their own rooms.

At its core, it's a series of interactive audio-only chat rooms. But the concept can be tailored to any topic, be it sports, news, music, current affairs, politics, business, motoring, gaming, exercise—whatever users want.

It was released in beta last March, and its celebrity members include actress Tiffany Haddish and rapper Meek Mill.

Clubhouse was founded by former Google staffer Rohan Seth and former Pinterest staffer Paul Davison. According to their LinkedIn profiles, they launched a company called Alpha Exploration Co. at the beginning of 2020 as the parent entity of Clubhouse. Davison is currently listed as co-founder and CEO, while Seth is listed as co-founder.

According to CNBC, as of May last year it was valued at $100 million after gaining $12 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, a private U.S. venture capital firm. As of January this year, it claimed to have had two million people using the platform. A blog post at the time confirmed that Clubhouse now has more than 180 investors.

How can I download the app and join?

The Clubhouse app is only available for download via the iOS App Store. There is no Android version on the Google Play Store, but one is expected in the future.

Due to the inclusion of celebrities and that lack of open sign-ups, Clubhouse currently has an air of exclusivity surrounding it—but the team behind the app says the plan is to open it up for everyone.

For now, it's a slower, invite-only, approach. Apple users who lack an invite can still sign up to register a name, but won't have immediate access to the chat rooms.

Clubhouse can scan the contact lists of those who download it, informing friends or family members already on the platform that they have signed up. It's not guaranteed, but that could be one way of getting access.

While anyone who has an invite from an existing user can join, everyone else has to sign up to a waitlist. Once inside and approved, users are then given the opportunity to invite a number of their friends. The company has not revealed a timeline for the rollout. "Our focus now is on opening up Clubhouse to the whole world," it said in January.

Last October, Clubhouse said it was working on improving audio moderation after some "serious incident reports" were filed about "several intense conversations on topics of identity, ethnicity, gender, racism, and religion" hosted on the app.

The team appeared aware that it will become much more difficult to moderate user content as more people are allowed to participate in chat rooms. It brought in blocking, muting, in-room reporting and the ability for room moderators to end sessions.

An illustration photo taken on January 25, 2021 shows the application Clubhouse on a smartphone. The social media app got a major publicity boost on Monday after Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk appeared on the platform. ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty