Cost to Build an App Like Clubhouse: Features, Tools and MVP

Apr 5, 2021·11 min read

Clubhouse audio-streaming app is a phenomenon in the social media apps market. Would you like to repeat its success and build an app like Clubhouse? Find out what impacts the development price, what exactly you need to build, and how to organize the development process effectively.

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The Clubhouse app is like a wind of change on the social media market. It seems that none of the existing apps, even the most popular and influential old players like Facebook, has won so much attention during its first year.

The hype around Clubhouse is mainly warmed up by its community. Supported by Silicon Valley investors, entrepreneurs and influencers, the app managed to attract more than $100,000 million of investments and over 10 million users.

The striking popularity made other market leaders work on live audio-sharing functionality. Facebook started to build an app similar to Clubhouse; Twitter works on its invite-only audio-chat called Spaces; Telegram launched new functionality that allows adding an unlimited number of listeners to a chat.

Along with established companies, startup owners consider audio-chat app development as a potentially profitable business. A combination of audio-chat functionality and unique user-oriented features may turn into a killer strategy for startup growth.

If you think about this strategy, too, a tricky question may emerge: how much it costs to build an app similar to Clubhouse?

Factors that impact software development price

Four main factors may impact your app’s price.

The app’s complexity

It is cheaper to build a company’s landing page than a full-featured solution like Instagram. It is cheaper to make a small app’s prototype, test your concept, and then work on a product upgrade.

Following the principles Eric Ries describes in The Lean Startup, you may want to start with minimum functionality or a simple prototype and then grow your product to a full-feature app.

Development time

The development cost depends directly on the development duration.

Some of the investors claim that it took one week to build Clubhouse. It may seem like an app built within a week shouldn’t cost much. But the truth is, it's impossible to develop a full-featured app like Clubhouse in a single week. Much more time and effort are needed.

However, you can build a prototype in one week.

You can build a simple MVP in one month.

You can start raising funds and build a full-featured app in the first year.

Tools you use

Building an eCommerce product, you may start with a ready-made tool, for example, WooCommerce - a platform for online shops development, or Tilda - a website builder. However, when you build an app like Clubhouse, custom software development may be the only way to create a successful product.

Custom software development from scratch may be a more expensive option than choosing website constructors. However, opting for this sort of services, you can create a custom intuitive design, add any features you want, ensure user data protection and software quality.

Payment for database and Amazon Web Services will apply as well.

You need to integrate an audio sharing API into your product. The prices for API vary widely. Keep reading; we’ll talk about these services later.

Development team location

Who will build an app like Clubhouse for you?

Would you like to hire an in-house team? It may be time-consuming and expensive.

Would you like to hire freelancers? It may be faster but a bit risky.

Would you like to cooperate with an outsourcing development agency? It may save you from risks and provide you with an entire development team at once. The price for development services may depend on the team’s location.

Country

Software engineering service price per hour

the US

$80-110

Sweden

$70-100

Poland

$30-50

Ukraine

$30-50

Now, let’s find out more about Clubhouse.

How to create an app like Clubhouse: Clubhouse website and app

To build an app better than your competitor, you should know everything about this competitor.

What is Clubhouse? Talking about this product, people usually mean the mobile app. However, there’s also the Clubhouse website. Let’s take a look at both the website and the app and find out what hides behind the concepts.

Minimalistic website

As you already know, Clubhouse is an invite-only app. Once a user is invited to the community, they get an SMS containing a link to the Clubhouse website. Probably its modest design would never attract your attention if only it's not a landing page of the billion-worth app.

This website’s fundamental purpose is to redirect users to the AppStore, where they can download the Clubhouse app.

There are several sections on the website, including Jobs, Blog, Contact, Guidelines, Press, Terms and Privacy. Still, they either redirect users to other websites or present another unappealing website’s page with a bit of information.

No fancy design, no efforts to catch the user’s attention.

What about the technologies behind the Clubhouse website?

It’s built with JavaScript and jQuery - the grandma of modern JS frameworks. Compared to the other websites launched in 2020, the Clubhouse landing page may look relatively poor.

clubhouse website

Can you build a better website?

We can assume that the Clubhouse team doesn’t need or doesn’t want to invest in interactive design and more helpful website’s functionality. Backed by powerful investors and an interested community, the development team focuses on the mobile app primarily.

Chances are, you won’t have numerous names of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in your user base. And attractive website may become one of the traction channels for your business. Utilizing the latest technologies and building a stunning design, you may convince potential users to try your app.

Optimize your website according to the latest SEO rules and trends, and users will come to your website via search engines. Paid ads will impact conversion rates positively, too.

iOS-only app

The app is available for iOS users only. No matter how hard the Android community would like to join the headphone-based social app, officially, there’s no way to install the app on the device. However, on the Clubhouse blog, the team promises to use the raised funds on Android version development.

The app is compatible with iOS 13 or newer versions. Like most of the native iOS apps, it’s built with the Swift programming language. The team constantly adds new features and fixes the app’s issues.

clubhouse mobile app

Can you build a better app?

Providing exclusive access to iOS users, the Clubhouse team loses the entire Android community (as of now, the number of Android users worldwide exceeds 2.5 billion). Can you imagine giving up such a massive piece of market share willingly?

Clubhouse itself creates a gap in the market. You can see clearly the rising demand and Android users interest, and you may think of ways to satisfy them with your new app. As we’ve mentioned before, some big names like Facebook and Twitter already work on similar products.

On your way to better app development, consider making it available for both iOS and Android users.

Clubhouse social audio app features

How did Clubhouse become this successful? Handy features may be one of the reasons the app attracts so much attention.

Here’s brief information about the critical app’s features.

clubhouse features

  • Registration

A user gets an invitation to a mobile number, clicks the link, installs the app and logs in.

  • User profile

A user adds a real name, photo and a short description to the personal profile.

  • Rooms

A user may create rooms to discuss some interesting topics with speakers. In this case, a user becomes a moderator.

  • Search

A user can enter keywords in a search bar to find rooms where speakers hold different conversations.

  • Feed

Based on previous search, preferences and followed people, the feed contains information about room or people that may be interesting.

  • Upcoming for you

In the Upcoming for You app section, users may find out about the upcoming events they planned to join.

  • Activity

Here, users can view updates from their Clubhouse community. Once a person from a user’s contact list joins the app, it would be reflected in the Activity section.

  • Notifications

Users get notifications when people they follow join new rooms as listeners or create their own rooms.

Want to learn more about the app’s functionality? Check our article on the Clubhouse success story.

Prioritize some of these features when working on MVP and add all the rest later, when you’ll test your concept and raise funds. If these features have proven to be useful for more than 2 million Clubhouse users, chances are, they will bring users to your app, too. Along with them, you should add some unique functionality to your app and make your product more attractive than Clubhouse.

To select unique features for your app, start with the product discovery phase. Market research and analysis, along with risk assessment, may help you to focus narrowly on must-have features and launch your product as fast as possible, with minimum cost.

Extra features for your audio-streaming app

We’ve analyzed market demands and choose four extra features that may fuel your app:

  • Screen sharing

Screen sharing may be helpful in the following apps: corporate communication apps, education apps.

Allow users to enhance their talks with screen sharing features. This feature may strengthen the speech and simplify app usage for people who prefer visual comprehension. With a screen sharing feature, your app may become a great audio social app and a perfect tool for corporate needs or online education.

  • Audio recording and access to ended talks

Audio recording may be helpful in the following apps: education apps, entertainment apps.

Clubhouse induces FOMO. If users don’t join a particular room on time, they miss a chance to listen to it: Clubhouse neither allows recording nor enables access to the finished event. Only unofficial plugins and bots for audio recording are available. FOMO makes thousands of people worldwide spend more time on the app, with anxiety to miss an exciting conversation or talk to a celebrity.

If you provide audio recording features on your future app, you may meet users’ pains and contribute to their digital well-being.

  • Subtitles

Subtitles may be helpful in the following apps: education apps

Although Clubhouse got famous because of its audio-only features, you can enhance your app with subtitles to make it more user-oriented. If you think about launching an app for the education industry, it may be the right choice to allow future students to view dialogues on their screens, not only to listen to the discussions.

Translate subtitles to different languages automatically and extend your app’s horizons.

  • AI-powered recommendations

AI features may be helpful in the following apps: entertainment apps, education apps.

If an app recommends an interesting room to a user at the right time, it may increase engagement significantly. Power your app with machine learning and AI technologies to learn users’ preferences better and suggest the most interesting rooms, topics, discussion, and people.

The better you meet users’ needs - the longer users stay with your app.

Social audio app MVP development: components and price

What does the MVP development process look like? If you plan to build an audio-based social media app, it may include five main stages:

Software design

A software designer works together with a business analyst to develop a unique app’s UI and UX. To come up with the best concept, a business analyst investigates Clubhouse and similar apps. The software designer suggests a brand color scheme, a logo, and visual elements like icons to use in the app, creates a design for your MVP and presents it to the rest of the development team.

Software development

Software development is the most complex and time-consuming stage of your startup MVP development. It requires the participation of two or more developers, who work on:

  • MVP’s front-end - a part of an app users can see on the screen
  • MVP’s back-end - a part of an app responsible for requests processing and connection to a database

A project’s architect, or a team leader, develops the app’s architecture approach. Check our article about software application architecture to find out more on this topic.

Discuss the technology stack with your development team. You may want to use one of the most popular JavaScript frameworks for UI development (for example, Angular, React, or Vue). For back-end development, the Node.js framework or PHP programming language may be the best option.

The more complex solution you build, the more software engineers you may need in your team.

Streaming APIs integration

API integration is an irreplaceable component of the audio-based social network development process.

API stands for an application programming interface. This is an intermediary that enables connection between multiple software apps. Each time a user opens Clubhouse and joins the room to listen to speakers, they use external services connected to the API.

Clubhouse uses Agora API, “The Real-Time Engagement Platform for meaningful human connections.”, as it says on the Agora website. Agora is relatively easy to connect to any app: on the website, the development team provides several lines of code to add to integrate the platform.

Agora allows enhancing your app with different features like:

  • Audio and video calls
  • Live audio and video streaming
  • Voice recording
  • Real-time messaging
  • Convenient analytics.

Although it may seem like Agora is suitable for your project too, cybersecurity is its weak point. Recently, flaws were detected: attackers and hackers had access to privately held video and audio calls in apps built with Agora. Besides, Agora’s servers are known to be based in China, and there’s a probability that the service shared users personal data with the Chinese government having no permission for that.

If user data protection belongs to your priorities, you may look for a better, more trustworthy API to integrate into your app.

API

Key features

Price

Twilio

This is a cloud communications PaaS. Twilio offers multiple products for text sharing, real-time audio and video sharing, audio and video calls.

Free trial available

Prices start at $0.0085/min to receive and $0.013/min to make one call.

Vimeo

This is a video hosting and sharing SaaS platform. It provides tools for video creation and editing and real-time distribution of audio and video content.

Free trial available

Prices depend on a chosen plan. The cheapest Plus plan starts at $7 per month.

Brightcove

This is a cloud-based video platform that offers numerous video services and handy features.

Pricing details available upon request.

Looking for the details about the most popular streaming APIs?

Let us share with you our experience and recommendations.

Contact us

Software testing

While software developers are busy with coding and building your app from scratch, software testers ensure its quality. The processes are parallel, so it doesn’t extend your time-to-market.

Software testers or QA engineers ensure that the app's design and functionality fully meet project requirements and your expectations. They check each feature and investigate issues. With their help, your app turns from multiple lines of code to a high-quality software product.

Upgrade and maintenance

Permanent support and maintenance are required to keep your app alive, and unless you have a solid background and hands-on experience in software development, you probably need a skilled team by your side.

Besides, users’ demands grow. So after you launch your MVP and raise funds, it is vital to keep on working on product’s improvements.

That’s a cyclic process:

You launch an MVP - raise funds - collect users feedback - improve your app - raise funds - collect users feedback - and repeat the cycle.

Cost to build an app like Clubhouse

Now you know that the cost to build an app like Clubhouse depends on multiple factors. It's impossible to provide you with a detailed estimate without a deep understanding of your project requirements, expectations and plans.

Besides, app costs depend on the country of your development team. It is cheaper to outsource development to one of the popular destinations like Ukraine than hiring an in-house team.

For example, in Ukraine, approximate prices for app development services would be the following:

  • Prototype development - $20,000+
  • MVP development - $50,000+
  • Full-featured product development - $150,000+

The price for voice-streaming API impacts the overall development cost as well.

If you want to learn more on how to build a viable MVP, enter a new domain, enhance your app with unique features and cut cost on software development, just drop us a line.

With our support, you will launch a high-quality audio-based social app when users need it most.

Start audio-streaming app development.

Contact our team for software development consultancy.

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