Music app development

Remember those times when the only source of music was CD collections, and if you wanted to listen to something new, you needed to buy a new CD or exchange it with your classmates? Now, thanks to music apps such as Spotify and Apple Music, you have access to any track by any singer available on the Internet.  As well as this, those apps created new standards for music applications – they should be fast, consume fewer resources, and deliver tracks to users in a matter of clicks. Also, there are different types of music apps- streaming, store, and storage apps. And, if you consider developing a music application, you need to choose the app type and examine its main features. This article will guide you through the process of music app development.

1. Choose your Type of Music App

While we use music apps, we don't realize how many kinds of music apps exist on the market. But if you want to create your own music app, you need to choose among:

  • Music Streaming 
  • Music Store 
  • Music Storage 

Let's look at them one by one.

Music Streaming Apps

Such apps as Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Music are the most widely used music streaming apps. The primary purpose of music streaming application is to play music available in the databases of the service, compose custom playlists and suggest similar songs. The main elements of music streaming apps are:

  • Discovery. The central component of user engagement is the availability of the music and the ability to discover similar genres. 
  • Recommendations. To provide users with more relevant recommendations you need to implement a recommender engine to your music streaming app.
  • Personalization and deep categorization. The music can be sorted by period, genre, performer association (solo albums of band members) or by more ephemeral characteristics such as mood (happy, sad, romantic), tone (dark, brooding, sunshiny) or pace (fast, slow, waltz) of the compositions.
  • Social networking. You can apply custom playlists as promotional or educational tools. Thus, users can share playlists with friends via social media platforms.

When developing your music app, consider the following requirements for music streaming services:

  • Public Performance License, issues by ASCAP, BMI or SESAC for the U.S. and by PPL PRS for U.K. services
  • Diverse categorization system to tag content
  • Extensive integration with social media platforms

As well as this, you can also integrate a ready-made solution, such as Spotify API to an existing app to give users a unique experience, as we did for the Spotnews project. The idea behind Spotnews is to help users be aware of the latest news while listening to their favorite music on Spotify. For Spotnews, we used Spotify SDK to allow users to authorize the app via their existing Spotify account. To learn more, read the full case study

Spotnews

[SpotNews app by The APP Solutions]

Music Store Applications

Music Store Applications are an elaboration on the music streaming services with a more prominent commercial trading element in their service. Applications like Pandora, GarageBand, and YouTube Music belong to this niche. The main features of music store apps are:

  • Monetization. The majority of modern music store applications encourage the listener to buy the release or paid a subscription to unlock premium features.
  • Engagement. In addition to music being the primary source of user engagement, music store applications also apply standard eCommerce engagement tactics, such as special offers, season discounts, and bonuses.
  • Feedback. The networking element is also more prominent as Music Store Applications encourage user input in the form of comments and reviews that help other users in consideration of their purchases.

To build a music store app, consider the following requirements:

  • Large licensed product inventory (includes physical media and related merchandise)
  • Integration with  payment systems
  • Integration with social media platforms
  • Anti-fraud features 

Music Storage Apps

Music Storage Applications are music players like Amazon and Google Music. Such apps are plugged straight into your storage, which might be the phone's internal storage or general cloud storage. In a way, you can make your own music player - fully curated by the user. The main music player app development characteristics are:

  • Uploading. Apart from a music store feature, such apps also allow external uploads.
  • Customization. The purpose of a music storage app is to curate the specific selection of media in a very customized manner. 
  • Playback. The key element for such application is a playback feature which might involve a more significant extent of custom sound equalizing and other playlist moderation features.

How to make a music player app? To achieve that, you need:

  • Integration with third-party cloud services such as Google Cloud of Amazon Web Services (AWS) 
  • Compatibility with numerous media formats
  • Scalability for smooth media playback
  • Integration with payment systems, such as Paypal, Stripe or Braintree

2. Select main features for music app

If you are looking for ideas on how to make a music app, consider the list of main music app features below.  

Registration / signing up

 

An essential option that identifies the user to synchronize his playlist and music in service.

You may use social media authorization and enjoy getting new subscribers in a matter of taps.

 

Track search

 

Give users the capability to find music they want to hear and you’ll get an army of loyal users.

 

Catalog

 

Provide users with a music catalog to help them find how many musics contents your service offers. It might seem obvious, but there are a lot of bad examples on the market when developers have ignored this feature.

 

Push notifications

 

Recent research discovered that push notifications lead to higher engagement across all categories, but most of all, impact a music apps’ engagement. See exactly how on the chart below.

 

Other Features to consider

You might consider this list for the second development stage of your app when the time comes to improve your app with additional features. 

High performance. As the critical features of leading services are almost the same, the app's performance may become the deciding point. The app needs to present good speed and less resource consumption. It should take less than 300ms for the music to start playing from the moment a listener has selected a song.

Bitrates. To stream music, it should be digitized, i.e., broken down into a series of audio snapshots. Then, our brains interpret all these snapshots together as a continuous sound. The quality of streaming music is called bitrate. There are three different audio qualities available for mobile apps: 

  • Normal (96kbps) 
  • High (160kbps)
  • Extreme (320kbps) 

High-resolution sound aims to give you CD-like, or better than CD-sound, in a convenient package of streaming from your phone or as a digital file on a dedicated player.

Recommendations. After your app becomes popular amount users, you can invest in developing more advanced discovery and recommendation systems. To build such a system, you can apply different approaches:  

  • Collaborative filtering. The algorithm collects data on user behavior, preferences, and activities, and then predicts what the user would also like on the basis of similarity to other users. 
  • Content-based filtering. The algorithm analyses the recommended music and user preferences. Since developing such algorithms from scratch is too costly and complicated, you can use a ready-made solution, like naive Bayesian classifiers machine learning techniques and cluster analysis. 
  • Hybrid Models. The recommendation model combines the insights from both collaborative filtering and content-based approach and produces more accurate results.

3. Develop a Music app MVP

How much does it cost to develop a music app? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The price of music app development depends on many factors, such as the number of platforms, developer experience, the number of third-party integrations, and others. Our advice at this stage is to consider developing an app MVP to validate your business idea and find out whether your product would be popular among users. 

Find the MVP estimation in the hours below.

Feature\Screen

Functions required

Design

BackEnd

Android/ iOS

Login signup

 

  • Social login

8

8

16

Profile user

  • Edit user profile
  • Add Music streaming services profiles

16

16

24

Artist profile

  • Edit profile
  • Manage audio upload

16

16

24

Search

  • Search in connected music service

8

8

24

Playlist manager

  • Create playlist
  • Edit playlist

16

24

40

Audio Player

  • Music player with controls

8

24

Total in hours

 

Design From 72+ hours

Back-end from 72+ hours

152 + hours per platform


Apart from development and design, take into account project management and project documentation that might cost from $600. 

4. Monetize your music app

To make your own music app for iPhone and other devices profitable, you can apply the following monetization models:

Subscriptions

This monetization model includes two types: 

  • Freemium. The user receives the basic features of a music app with a free account. But, cannot to get access to premium functionality, such as saving tracks offline, playing tracks in high quality, or create playlists. 
  • Trial period. The Tidal music app uses this monetization model. Before starting the free trial period, the user enters cart information. After the end of a free trial, the app charges a subscription fee automatically.

Advertisements

Running ads is a traditional way to monetize a freemium music application. For running ads on your app you can charge the following costs: 

  • Cost-per-mile. The advertisers pay you for running ads for at least a thousand users
  • Cost-per-view. You charge advertisers the cost per each view of their ads 
  • Cost-per-action. You charge advertisers fees only if the app user makes a target action after viewing an ad. This might be going to a website, placing orders, and so on. 

Advertising and subscriptions are quite popular revenue models for music streaming apps such as Spotify and Pandora. Find the revenue these music apps receive from subscriptions and advertisements below. 

Pandora Spotify revenue

[Revenue for Spotify and Pandora from ads and subscriptions]

Alternative sources of revenue

Apart from the traditional methods of music app monetization, you can consider the following:

  • Transaction revenue. You can charge transaction revenue when a user buys something from your app. An example is the Pandora app which allows users to purchase tickets in the app from their partner, Ticketfly, an event marketplace. 
  • Karaoke and live streaming. Tencent Music Entertainment (TME), a Chinese music streaming company, invented this monetization model, which brings the TME app around 70% of its revenue. Karaoke is a paid feature that allows users to sing karaoke and stream it live. At the same time, other app users can buy and send coins to their favorite singer during live streams.  
  • Paid content. Instead of giving access to all songs in the catalog, you can sell particular songs and albums in your app. Thus, if a user wants to listen to a specific track or album, one should pay for it. Google Play Music and Apple Music use this particular monetization strategy. 

In a nutshell

So, how to make your own music app? Firstly, select the type of music app you want to build. Consider that each type of music app has its own characteristics and features. Secondly, develop the app MVP to find out whether your app would be popular among users. And don't forget – social experience is always welcome. Use the tips from this article and your app will have all the chances to become noticeable by users.

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Daria Dubrova

Content Marketing Manager