For over a decade there have been over 100 million users on reputed on-demand streaming mobile Apps like Spotify that had made a mark in the industry of music streaming apps.
According to statistical reports of 2016, Spotify had almost 30 million paid users followed by 15 million users of Apple music. As people are shifting from storage options to the online streaming platforms, internet technology is playing an important role. Music streaming mobile apps are being developed should to stream in low bandwidth connection seamlessly.
Music Streaming Expected Revenue – From 2015 to 2021
Revenue Share of Digital music format out of global music industry is increasing day by day apparently music companies/bands across the globe are looking forward to invest in music streaming applications to insure a good revenue share.
- Revenue in the “Music Streaming” segment amounts to US$6,637m in 2017.
- Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 12.7 % that will result in a market share of US$10,691m in 2021.
- User penetration is at 26.0 % in 2017 and is expected to hit 29.4 % in 2021.
- The average revenue per user (ARPU) currently amounts to US$6.50.
- From a global comparison perspective, it is shown that most revenue is generated in the United States (US$2,989m in 2017).
Type of Music Applications: If you explore app stores for music applications, you will come across the following types:
- Music Streaming Apps
- Music Editing Apps
- Music Learning Apps
- Apps for Music Bands
- Music Identification apps
Top Players in Music Streaming Industry
Critical Features of Music Streaming Mobile Application
Given above stats are good enough to make music businesses to invest in the music streaming industry and mobile applications. If you have decided and looking forward to having a music streaming mobile app developed for your own music business then given below are some of the most critical features or factors which the App developer should not miss include.
Audience Captive UX UI
After installation of this freemium app, this is the page the user should be redirected to. The user should have an option of registering in the application via basic information like name, country, age, contact number and a photo for profile picture though it’s optional. The App developer can use this information or data for future scaling and analysis and also keep track of the user’s music taste for better music prediction. The App developer can make it easier for the user to sign up via connecting it to their social media platforms like Face book or Google with a few clicks.
Home Page / Music Playlist
After successful login, the user should be able to select their taste of songs from the vast collection of different genres and wide settings panel available on the home screen. The App developer can also limit the types as per the access level. App Developer can also give them access to random songs in small sections like “Today’s Top 5”, “Top 10 International Hits” etc. and let the user discover new and trending tracks as soon as something releases. This section should be developed keeping all the possibilities in mind as not giving proper flexibility to make a playlist can be a huge turn off for any user.
Search / Discover
Exploring music is the first thing that a user may do after opening the app as it is a music streaming app. It helps the user to filter through the ocean of music libraries and databases. It is essential functionality for this kind of streaming apps as everyone would prefer their favorite tracks on their fingertips. Also, allow the user to filter tracks as per their preferences. The App Developer can set filters to the artist, albums, mood, and song names and even on the year of release.
Share and stay social
Let the users follow their favorite artists so that they can stay updated with any new album or songs. The App Developer can also make people follow their friends and share the playlist with them or in a group which is a more advanced and sophisticated part. Tracks should also have a share option for sharing in social media. In a way, it is a promotional and smart advertisement practice and hopefully, with the App Developer may get more user engagement when keeping the option open to share things in the social feed.
The push Notification feature is a must for connecting the app to social media. People who share tracks with each other likes to stay updated with activities of the people they are following and push notification is the only way out to be connected with each other. If the user doesn’t get any notification for things, then it will be considered as a lack of communication.
What if the user has exhausted his internet data or is on a trip with a bad network connection and if the app so developed doesn’t support offline music playing features then the users may not be opening the app for days and can install some other application which has those functionalities. So it’s better to use the device cache and save music for offline. Allowing the users to save music to their external storage will reduce the hassle of downloading things from external browsers and downloaders.
There are few things that are very important for music streaming apps, and of them the most important one is bitrate. App Developers developing an on-demand music streaming app need to use a particular format that can be downloaded within seconds and plays the music without buffering. The format which makes the streaming feel seamless is M3u8, but the odd thing about this specific format is it breaks the bits into small packets, and each packet has its limited lifespan.
Formats like FLAC or Lossless give good quality but can take an eternity to stream due to the massive size, so MP3 is the better option in that case. Though 128kbit/second is the kind of standard for ear pods, still some people may prefer to steam at 320kbit/second. As such the App Developer can keep all the options and make things work outsmart by giving access to the higher bit rate to only the premium users.
This feature is entirely about user experience. An App Developer can keep options to switch to different themes so that users don’t get bored of the same user interface. Implementing fresh and appealing virtualization when the media is playing is also a plus point. Suggesting songs according to the user’s current location just by using the right controllers can make this app stand out of the rest. Don’t forget to add the feature of the audio widget.
The concerned App Developer can also think of adding some nifty features to make it more appealing such as
• Allowing users to book tickets for upcoming music events in their city. It will actively turn out more profitable for the sponsors.
• Events calendar throughout the year
• Including chat functionalities.
• Themed radio stations to catch their/users favorite stations go live on air.
• Option to select or mark songs as a favorite.
Now having mentioned all those features in the music streaming app, it’s time to be aware of the languages and platform that the App Developer can use to implement this dream into a reality. Let’s move into specific segments one at a time.
Music Streaming Architecture
- To process and manage data in real-time: Kafka Software
- For storage or caching with CDN’s, it is better to use Amazon S3
- To integrate with Python services and model-based testing use GraphWalker.
- For the primary platform structure, App Developer can take help of Google Cloud platforms or Dataproc.
- For the desktop-based UI (CEF) Chromium embedded Framework is a better option.
- One can also use Bootstrap for making it look classy and sleek for websites.
- Nginx for HTTP and proxy server as it is an easy and open source.
The Backend is the most complex thing that needs strategic implementation. The architecture of the server-side is the clever part when it comes to building apps like Spotify that run seamlessly on each and every platform. Things may get tangled as there are many options available to choose from.
Cloud Storage: – Either we can use our own server or can use cloud storage services like Amazon S3, Azure or Google Cloud Storage. Storage server plays an important role in media platform because it handles thousands of requests per second with superb efficiency.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs):- To better serve the user experience we need to use the highly scalable CDN services to stream the media securely. So for that either we can configure our own media server or we can use cloud streaming server to stream. Like that Amazon cloud front.
Video/audio transcoding: – In the back-end process we need to transcode the media files in various media formats to make supportable to all major browsers and devices. For that either we can use open source software like that FFMPEG or third party solution like that Amazon elastic transcoder.
Digital Right Management (DRM):- standards to help you protect your content
Media Server configuration:- Configure the server to support all major browsers and devices, we need to configure the streaming protocol like HTTP, HTTPS, RTMP.
Player configuration: – We can configure the player configuration as the mobile and desktop both serve the content quality based on the user internet speed.
One can also use PHP to some extent for the server-side, or the App Developer can choose JAVA. Other options it is better to include Clojure and HTML5 languages. Each task should be connected to the so-called “access point” to establish the link. Also, keep in mind if the concerned App Developer’s server is in the USA then the users located in China should not suffer from low bandwidth so it is recommended to take data centers in different places for better bandwidth.
Music Intelligence Algorithm
It is one of the coolest features for the further betterment of the app. The App Developer can track or curate the recommendations algorithm via three ways.
- Curation of the music data by human medium
- Using audio analysis algorithm
- A mix of both these
For instance, Spotify uses music intelligence platform Echonest & eMusic synthesizes billions of data points and transforms it into a musical understanding of Fan, Artist, Song and offer playlist API & more. The Echo Nest’s music intelligence platform powers over 400 applications, re-defining how fans discover, share and interact with music.
When the user likes or dislikes a song, The algorithm should be able to keep track of the feedback and try to put the songs according to their suggestion. The algorithm can track a user’s preferences when he/she continuously skip songs. As such, gathering this information can help in improving the overall listening experience. The Mobile App Developer can also use this data to show social peers having the same taste in music.
Bandwidth, Twilio – for Push Notifications
Nexmo – for SMS, Voice and Phone Verification
Braintree & PayPal – for accepting payments
GWT – for Powerful Programming
Datastax – for Data Management
Mandrill – for everything related to emails
Be Smart & Unique
Apart from other similar apps for music streaming Spotify excels in some areas due to their unique ideas. They have implemented a new way of making streaming more seamless without any delay. The trick is instead of hitting the servers for every requested song Spotify searches in the device cache to know whether the user has previously heard that song or not.
If the user has heard that particular song then Spotify will stream it from the hard drive cache. And if haven’t then it starts extracting in fragments from nearby Spotify users who have played the song. It is a smart move; therefore implementing this feature will reduce a lot of server’s overhead time.
People use music streaming apps so that they don’t have to pay for the new songs. These apps make the songs available but in a legitimate way. So for streaming, one needs to have Public Performance Rights. In the United States, App Developers get these rights from three agencies, such as Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). In Europe, App Developers need to apply to get these rights from European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC). They also need to get license contents from these companies-
- For indie artists, there are Independent aggregators like Merlin Network
- The Most demanded labels are Sony Music, Warner Bros, and Universal Music Group.
- Music publishers like Sony/ATV and Universal Music Publishing Group.
Though all have different ways for licensing deals the most common ones are:
- Through equity
- As per-stream rate
- Giving payments for future streams in advance
- Through some percentage of the revenue
On average big apps like Apple Music and Spotify pay 58% and 55% respectively to these labels. Though an App Development Partner can do licensing from country to country as there are no global standards for it until now.
So How Much Does It Cost To Develop a Music Streaming App
An App Developer may not be able to estimate total cost from the beginning itself as prices vary with features. The mobile version of an app is a lengthy and complicated process and can take a much longer time. Music App Development Companies usually charge on per hour basis according to the complexities involved and time-line.
The current standard as per hour ranges from $30-$40 which can be considered as a good deal for this kind of apps. Costs also include paying for UX/UI designers, Quality Assurance and the Testing Team as they are as important as back end developers. The cost of developing an on-demand music streaming mobile app depends on location factors.
For instance, US-based App Developing firms’ take around $50 – $250/hour whereas in Western Europe and Eastern Europe these charges range from $30-$170 and $20-$150 respectively. The cheapest of the lot is India where Mobile App Development Companies can get things done within as low as $10 to $80/hour. Therefore to make a music streaming app like Spotify will cost around $22,000 for iOS and $30,000 for Android.
The continuous innovation makes the costs of developing on Demand Music Streaming Mobile App cheaper in the coming years. So to turn into a profitable investment, one needs to spend more on the unique features which the previous apps lack right now and then implementing the App at the right time to gain the advantage.