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Twitter Inc. will let hosts of audio shows on its network charge listeners a fee to tune in, a first step toward monetizing its new Spaces feature.
The company also said Monday that Spaces is now available to users of the Twitter app on Android devices, representing a vast expansion of the potential audience for the service. Even Clubhouse, the startup that inspired Twitter Spaces, has yet to widely release an Android app.
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has made live audio chatrooms a key product focus in recent months. Dorsey has said he believes audio communication is an important part of Twitter’s future, and the company tried unsuccessfully to buy Clubhouse for about US$4 billion, Bloomberg News reported a month ago.
Spaces was a rapid response to Clubhouse. It was in beta testing for months. Now any Twitter user can listen to an audio discussion on Spaces through the iPhone or Android app, and users with more than 600 followers can host.
The ability to charge for tickets to a Spaces event will soon be available to some users, Twitter said. Those hosts can set the price and the number of tickets to be sold. Twitter will take a cut of these transactions, but a spokeswoman declined to share details on what percentage of sales the company will take.
A security researcher, Jane Manchun Wong, discovered the company is also exploring letting Spaces hosts accept tips from listeners.
Clubhouse, which has a tiny staff compared with Twitter’s, is racing to keep its lead. The company delivered its own payments feature last month and said Sunday that it’s beta testing a long-awaited Android app.