Smooth (Rob Thomas ft Carlos Santana)

Clubhouse's Summer of '99

I had just graduated from high school a month before June 1999, when Smooth was released.

You know the song, by Rob Thomas featuring Carlos Santana. Don’t even pretend.

The song was famously played so much…so, so very much…that Rob Thomas now, twenty years later, does entire interviews revolving around how overexposed the tune was on mainstream radio for that entire summer.



When I first heard the song, I thought: that’s a cool tune.

But by the time I had it crammed down my throat 200 times later, I really would be just fine never hearing it ever again.

And that, friends, is exactly where we are right now with Clubhouse, the oh-so-hot but oh-so-overhyped audio-only gathering place.

Sure, Clubhouse has some innovative features, and has succeeded in several ways in creating a cultural zeitgeist within this socially-impoverished COVID era.

Similarly, Carlos Santana had some great guitar licks, and Rob Thomas sounded pretty good on what was the song of the summer.

But overexposure kills. Smooth went six feet under, and so will Clubhouse.

You simply can’t survive these levels of unceasing attention. The backlash is too severe, and then the world moves on.

Complicating matters for Clubhouse is that it’s entirely unclear where an app like this fits in within a world where we’re back to meeting in person again, even in limited numbers.

While mega-conferences (10,000 people and up) are likely to be shelved for some time, if you attend a gathering of 100 people (such as the Council of 100, the CEO-only in-person meeting at Project Voice taking place in April), does Clubhouse have the ability to add value to that?

I suspect the answer is no.

Clubhouse, and the like, will only be valuable in conjunction with virtual events of various types, mainly to provide accessibility for those who can’t or won’t travel.

So right there, it’s clear: all the Clubhouse audience will do, from here on out, is decrease.

I’m already seeing way more business travel this week than I saw in January, as I’m out on the Coast to Coast tour. As more people get vaccinated and time goes by, more people will get out for business again.

And that’s when it will become obvious: Clubhouse was our song of the summer, but for a weird pandemic season instead.



We’ll have a fun one on Monday, when This Week In Voice VIP will be the first place to reveal the lineup for Euphonious, a Project Voice Series event and one of the first music festivals / concert series to take place in the US.

The following Monday, we’ll celebrate International Women’s Day with an email dedicated to numerous women throughout voice/AI doing amazing work.


And if you said this life ain't good enough
I would give my world to lift you up
I could change my life to better suit your mood
Because you're so smooth
And it's just like the ocean, under the moon
Oh, it's the same as the emotion that I get from you
You got the kind of lovin' that can be so smooth, yeah
Give me your heart, make it real, or else forget about it