Reddit to shut down its Reddit Talk social audio platform after less than 2 years

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Reddit plans to shut down its live audio conference platform, called Reddit Talk, in June less than two years after launching the feature to compete with Clubhouse.

Reddit said in a blog post this week that employees have been working behind the scenes to update the website and make it simpler for users. The original plan was to keep Talk operating by using staff from an outside company, while in-house Reddit employees worked on the revamp. 

“Unfortunately, the 3rd party audio vendor we use for Talk is shutting down its service,” Reddit said. “In other words, the resources required to keep Talk live during this transition increased substantially.”

Reddit said it eventually plans to relaunch Talk, but noted “there’s significant work we need to do — like making Reddit simpler and building better subreddit infrastructure — before incorporating audio.” 

Reddit users who wants to download the audio file of their Talk session can start doing so March 21, Reddit said. Talk sessions launched before September 1, 2022, will not be available for download. 

Reddit launched its audio function hoping to capture some of the stardust from the rise in popularity of Clubhouse. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Paul Davison and Rohan Seth launched the audio chat-housing platform in late 2019 with financial backing from prominent venture capital firms. The app caught fire during the pandemic as people stuck indoors searched for ways to connect with the outside world. 

Clubhouse grew to more than 9.6 million global downloads by February 2021, according to TechCrunch. But Clubhouse’s popularity has waned and now has about 200,000 monthly active users, Business Insider reported in November.

Reddit Talk, which launched in April 2021, is a separate feature on the website that lets users host audio conversations within a designated community. Similar to Clubhouse, Reddit Talk gives a user “moderator” status who can mute and unmute live users. Daily use of Reddit Talk grew 250% between late 2021 and early 2022.

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