How to Create a Music Streaming App?

A music streaming app can usually be found on the average app user’s inventory list. While we may still listen to music and talk shows on the radio while commuting, we want the option of listening to music outside of a car. In fact, our society is so music-centered that the number of streaming music subscribers is expected to exceed 200 million this year.  The time to get on the music streaming app bandwagon is now! To get those creative juices flowing, let’s look at the types of music streaming apps, a few business model options, and some must-have features of a successful music streaming app.

Types of Music Streaming Apps

Before you even begin creating your own music streaming app, you need to be aware of the two traditional types of music streaming apps: On-Demand and Radio.

On-Demand streaming services are characterized by their ability to allow users to search for and listen to specific songs or artists. In other words, users ultimately control what and who they listen to every time they use their music streaming app. On-Demand has become the most popular form of music streaming since users feel like their time isn’t being wasted by listening to songs they don’t like. They can also build their own custom playlists with favorite songs and artists. Bonus perk: On-Demand services usually have significantly reduced commercial times (if any at all).

Radio streaming is characterized by being much like listening to a traditional radio station except for the option of skipping tracks. This means that the users are able to stream radio stations that fit their preferred style of music, get a variety of songs and artists in that music category, and have the bonus feature of skipping a track they don’t like. Essentially, instead of painfully listening to a track you are tired of or just don’t like, you can hit the “Skip” button and move on to a (hopefully) better song. The down side to this type of music streaming app is you don’t get to customize playlists and the commercial breaks tend to run longer that with On-Demand streaming apps.

Business Models

When you are creating a music streaming app, you need to decide on a business model that fits your app and its features the best. Here are a few business model options you should consider:

Freemium: Freemium is a term used to describe the process of allowing users to use your app for free, but charging them if they want access to additional, better features. For example, you can listen to pre-selected Pandora stations and playlists for free. However, if you want the ability to skip tracks, customize playlists, listen to offline stations, etc. then you will pay $4.99 per month and become a Pandora Plus member. Generally, freemiums are the business models with the most subscribers since they provide limited advertisements and great quality, basic music streaming for free.

Paid Plans: Extending on the Freemium business model, paid plans are another model that doesn’t offer any type of free music streaming service. Instead, you must be a paid plan subscriber to use the service. For example, if you wish to use Tidal as your music streaming app, you will need to pay a minimum of $9.99 per month. Now, services like Tidal do offer free trial periods for new users, but ultimately you will have to pay in order to use their service.

Ads: Monetizing any app with ads is a common business model. Music streaming apps are no exception. Ads are an easy way for users to use your music streaming service for free (or with a small one-time fee). The downside to this business model is the users often find ads to be annoying/distracting. However, if used properly, ads can be a great way to get your music streaming app up-and-running and accrue thousands of downloads quickly.

Ticketing Options: Imagine you are listening to your favorite band on your preferred music streaming app. Suddenly, you receive a notification (from the music streaming app) that this band is hosting a concert next weekend in your city! How do you purchase tickets? Is it easier to purchase tickets through another app or website? Or would you rather purchase tickets directly from the music streaming app you are already using at that moment? When music streaming apps offer ticketing options for their users, they are benefiting themselves (they get a cut of the ticket profits), the users (they get an easy, quick way to order tickets), and the ticketing agencies (they get profits from the ticket sales). Ticketing is a fantastic business model to utilize and is a convenience appreciated by your users.

No matter what business model you initially go with, you can always add or change your services in the future to accommodate user demands and suggestions. For example, you can begin with the freemium model and then add the ticketing options model down the road.

Must-Have Features

Now that you know the 2 types of music streaming apps and a few possible business models, let’s move on to some must-have features!

Registration: Like most apps, registration benefits the user and you. Users love to personalize their apps with avatars, location-based recommendations, etc. Music streaming apps are no exception. Allowing the user to create a profile and customize playlists makes it easy for them to access your service on different devices. Additionally, giving them the ability to add, delete, or make changes to their subscription level (free, plus, premium, etc.) assures them that they are in control of their account and that you respect them as a person and as a loyal user. Registration is beneficial to you because you can collect invaluable data about your app’s users that will help improve the app based on the data collected (for example, determining your target audiences).

Search: This is a basic but must-have feature for any music streaming app. Your users want to have the ability to search for specific songs, albums, and artists at any time. Bottom line: This feature gives them the means to customize their music streaming experience, which is essential in the eyes of all users.

Recommendations: You may know every song by a specific artist, but a friend may want to send you a recommendation for a new, similar artist. Giving your users a way to send recommendations to friends and family members allows them to easily connect and network with other people. Likewise, if your app is programmed to send recommendations to users based on the users’ most played songs or artists, you will develop a connection and relationship with the user. All in all, recommendations are beneficial to the user, the user’s connections, and the user’s opinion/feeling of you (as the app’s owner and operator).

Expansive Music Library: The bigger the library, the happier the users! When you are thinking about the variety of music you want to offer, remember to consider the “what, where, how, and which.”

WHAT: When deciding what music to offer, avoid legal problems by steering clear of pirated music and only stream licensed music.

WHERE: You will need a place to store data. Amazon S3 is the most popular data storage option. Cloud services that use Content Delivery Network (CDN) are also adequate storage options.

HOW: If you are creating a music streaming app, you need to know how you are going to stream music to users. You want your users to have the best and smoothest streaming experiences possible. Therefore, choosing the right protocol for streaming is extremely important. TCP protocol, for instance, is great for music streaming because of its congestion controls and ability to resend lost packets.

WHICH: When offering a music streaming service, you need to know which format offers the best quality of streamed music. Research all the formats offered, including FLAC ALAC, AAC, and Vorbis, to determine which formats offer the best service for your app and your users.

Additional Features: The following are features that aren’t considered “must-haves” but are encouraged to include in your music streaming app.

Integrate Social Media – Users will be promoting your app by sharing playlists with friends on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Offline Access – If you have an on-demand streaming service, you can give your users the option of downloading playlists while online so they can listen to them offline. Users aren’t always going to be within WiFi range or even cellular network range. So, for them to use your service as often as possible, the offline access feature is the way to accommodate those out-of-range times.

Notify Users – Notifying users of music events, releases, etc. keeps them interested in your app. They will begin logging in to your app every day too, at the least, see what is going on in the music world. Offer customization of the news they are notified of as an extra perk!

Pre-Save – When a popular band is scheduled to release a new album, users want to have access to that album the minute it is released. With a pre-save feature, users can click on the new album’s icon, saving it to their library. Then, when the album is released, the album will automatically become available for them to listen to. It’s essentially the pre-order of music streaming.

Upload User Tracks – There are millions of budding musicians all around the world. If you offer users an upload feature, you are giving them the means to get their music online and the attention they desire (in hopes of getting that “big break” in the music industry). This is also a great way for musicians to share their music with friends and family since emailing tracks one-by-one is tedious and time-consuming.

While these are just a few business models and features to choose from, we hope it is a good starting point for you as you begin your music streaming app process. Would you like more ideas and professional help with your music streaming app?

Here at Gomeeki, we are more than happy to help you with the development, launching, and maintenance of your music streaming app!

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