Twitter no longer lets you charge users to listen to live Spaces conversations. The social media heavyweight tells The Information in a statement that it has indefinitely “paused” its Ticketed Spaces test. The move will let Twitter concentrate on improving the “core Spaces experience,” the company says. It’s not clear how many eligible hosts were using the service.
The company started public testing of Ticketed Spaces in August last year, three months after it unveiled the feature. Effectively, it was a way for creators to put audio chats behind a paywall. An industry figure could hold a TED-style talk from home, while a star could hold discussions with their most loyal fans. Notably, Twitter’s potential profit was relatively low — it would take just a 3 percent cut from revenue below $50,000, and only demand 20 percent beyond that. While that fee include Apple and Google payouts, it still meant that hosts would take most of the revenue.
This isn’t to say Twitter is shying away from Spaces in general. The company is experimenting with support for live chats inside Communities, and is working on projects like themed stations and daily digests. However, the end to Ticketed Spaces comes as social audio pioneer Clubhouse (the inspiration for Spaces) has been rethinking its strategy and laying off staff. The live voice chat field just isn’t as hot as it was during the early pandemic, and that could make it harder to attract paying users.
What happens next isn’t clear. While the discontinuation of Ticketed Spaces isn’t connected to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the incoming leader has promised sweeping changes to the company as he tries to make it a “town square” while boosting its bottom line. We wouldn’t expect paid chats to come back, but they’re not necessarily dead.