Discord is the latest company to introduce a Clubhouse-like feature that lets people easily broadcast live audio conversations to a room of virtual listeners. Discord says its take, called Stage Channels, is available now on all platforms where Discord is available, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and the web.
If you’ve used Discord before, you might know that the app already offers voice channels, which typically allow everyone in them to talk freely. A Stage Channel, on the other hand, is designed to only let certain people talk at once to a group of listeners, which could make them useful for more structured events like community town halls or AMAs. However, only Community servers, which have some more powerful community management tools than a server you might share with a few of your buddies, can make the new Stage Channels.
The feature’s broad availability makes Discord the first app to offer an easy way to host or listen in on social audio rooms on most platforms. Clubhouse is still only available on iOS, though an Android version is in development. Twitter’s Spaces feature works on iOS and Android, but only some users have the ability to make audio rooms right now. (The company plans to let anyone host a Space starting in April.) LinkedIn, Mark Cuban, Slack, and Spotify are also working on live audio features, and Facebook reportedly has one in the works, too.
At the top of this post, you can see what a Discord Stage Channel looks like on desktop, and here’s what one looks like on mobile:
I got to participate in a Stage Channel to be briefed on the feature, and it was quite similar to using Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces. When I joined the Stage Channel, I was automatically put on mute and listed as an audience member. I could see who was speaking and who else was with me in the virtual crowd.
When I wanted to ask questions, I pressed a button to request to speak, and a Stage moderator brought me “on stage” so I could talk. Stage moderators can also mute speakers or even remove them from the room if they are being disruptive.