Pour one out for a Clubhouse clone. Reddit will shut down its live audio chats on March 21st. It debuted Reddit Talk less than two years ago in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company isn't necessarily killing off the feature due to a lack of interest.
Reddit still sees audio features as part of its future, but it's putting them on the backburner for now to focus on other priorities. The fact that the provider of the tech that powers Talk is closing shop complicated matters too.
"There’s significant work we need to do — like making Reddit simpler and building better subreddit infrastructure — before incorporating audio," it wrote in a post. "Our original plan was to maintain Talk while we worked on this. Unfortunately, the 3rd party audio vendor we use for Talk is shutting down its service. In other words, the resources required to keep Talk live during this transition increased substantially."
Any discussions that took place after September 1st last year will be available to download starting on March 21st. You'll have until June 1st to snag a copy of the recordings.
Reddit doesn't have a timeline for reviving Talk or debuting other audio features. As TechCrunch notes, though, interest in hosting live audio conversations with a public audience seems to have dipped across the board in recent times. Clubhouse exploded in popularity after the onset of the pandemic, sending other prominent tech companies racing to build their own versions.
However, Clubhouse's user numbers have reportedly dropped and prominent hires have moved on. Spotify has ended production of some live audio shows. In October, Amazon reportedly laid off dozens of people who were working on its live radio service, AMP.
That's not to say this broadcasting format is entirely dead and buried. Discord has expanded Stage Channels to include video. It seems Twitter is trying to jumpstart Spaces as well. The company confirmed this week it's testing updates for Spaces, which may include features such as themed audio stations.
Meanwhile, Reddit will kill off another feature on March 21st, when it brings the Happening Now experiment to an end. This feature enabled users to see ongoing Live Chats and Reddit Talks in subreddits they follow. It also shone a spotlight on popular conversations that were taking place across the platform.