Curious how to create a music streaming app? We've got the answer! If you are interested which technologies you should use to build the app, how much time it can take, and how much can it cost - let's figure it out!
As you might already noticed, these days people switched from local music libraries to streaming. I think you won't be able to find people who still listen to music locally.
Streaming is much more comfortable than local libraries:
- You don't spend precious space on your phone or laptop
- It's cheaper: you don't need to buy all the music you would like to listen to
- It's faster: you have (almost) all the music you need in one app
How to Develop a Music Streaming App
First of all, let's think about possible sections that application might need:
Registration and authorization. It is an optional part, but it would help improve users engagement: they will be able to save tracks to their libraries, view their listening history, maybe some stats, and so on
Search: this is the main part of the application, which will allow a user to search artists, albums and tracks. The easier it will be for a user to find what he wants, the better his experience will be.
Discover: even though this is not the most important feature, it is something that every app should have to improve the user experience. After some time liting to the usual music, the user might want to find something new, and this is where Discover part will help. Using sophisticated AI algorithms, we can suggest user new artists and tracks to listen. We can check what other people with similar tastes are listing to, new releases, his friends' favorite tracks, and much more.
Player. The core of the streaming application: plays the music, allows users to control it, "like" each track, view the queue, and more. If you want to create a music app like Pandora or others, you won't be able to do it without Player.
Additional features: depending on the application type, we can add social sharing, offline mode, social integrations, and much more. If you are going to make a music app like SoundCloud, you might also need Uploading features. These features are not that difficult to implement, but will dramatically improve user's engagement.
If you would like to develop a similar audio streaming application or would like to develop something completely different - just write to us at email@example.com
Let's first dive in, and try to understand how to make music app and what technologies we can use to make a streaming application. By default, every streaming app will have at least two sides: mobile application, user-facing side, back-end, and in some cases - Admin Panel.
Sixty percent of the development will take the mobile application. Ideally, it should be a native mobile application, written in Swift for iOS, and in Kotlin or Java for Android.
Basically, the mobile app will only fetch and display the data provided by the back-end, so all the heavy lifting will be done on a server. All the work with the database, authenticating users, searching tracks, suggesting new artists and updating user library - all the logic will be done on the server. The mobile app will only "ask" it to do some specific tasks.
Technically, the streaming app can work with almost every back-end possible. We can make it work with Ruby on Rails or Node.js, Elixir, and Phoenix, or Go, whatever you will prefer. However, if the client will not have any strong preference, we would suggest going with Ruby on Rails. This choice will help us to make MVP (minimum viable product) much faster than with other frameworks and will be easier to maintain in the future. A large community of Ruby developers will be helpful here as well - this is a mature framework, that was used to create projects like Basecamp, Hulu, Zendesk, Github, and much more.
Admin panel will help project owners and admins managing everything. Adding new tracks, changing artists descriptions, managing users, updating pricing and plans, and much more. It is a good idea to start with fewer features in the admin panel, and add them when admins will really need them.
Technically, admin panel can be done in multiple ways. Simple HTML pages generated by Ruby on Rails: it will be enough for admin in the very beginning. Depending on a budget and admin features, we can go with a more sophisticated tech, like Angular.js, React.js, or more. It will help make the admin interface faster and feel smoother.
Even though registration is optional in streaming apps, it is highly suggested. It will allow the project owner to have better analytics data, learn more about users, and better understand user behavior. For users, registration will mean more personalization, better music discovery, own library, and much more.
There are different ways to implement registration and login in the application:
Classic email+password approach: the user will need to provide his email, think of a password, and fill some additional forms if required (like name, address, and more, depending on project goals). Development can take around 25 hours and would cost approximately $875 (with a $35/h hourly rate).
Phone login: the user will provide his phone, and instead of a password that he would need always to remember, our server would send him an SMS with a verification code. This way might not always be convenient - if the user lost his phone, he would have problems accessing his last account. However, this method will be cheaper: around 12 hours, or $420.
Social logins: this method will allow the user to sign in with already existing accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others. This is a faster and easier way to log in, but we will need to think of social networks that are most commonly used amongst your target audience. On average, one social network integration can take 8-12 hours and can cost up to $420. Even though integrating one social network login can be cheap, it is a good idea to have at least two methods, just to be sure that user will have an account in the selected network. Or even combine Social Logins with Phone or Email authorization.
Search is a simple but essential part of the application. It will allow a user to search music online by a given keyword. When the user enters something, we will send his request to the server, where back-end will try to find an artist, album, or a track that matches user's request. When done - we will show what we found to a user in a Search Results screen.
Average implementation time can take around 26 hours and can cost about $910 with a $35/h rate.
Discover is one of the most exciting features and one of the most complicated ones. Our mobile and back-end developers will need to write an AI algorithm (artificial intelligence) that will suggest users new music according to their tastes. So, how to create a music app that will also recommend new music to a user?
Depending on a budget, Discover can use following parameters to find new music for a user:
- Similar Artists and tracks (under the same genre, for example)
- Favorite Artist and Albums of user's friends
- Favorite Artists and Albums of other users, who have similar tastes in music
And much more. Discover algorithm can always be improved. We can make a music streaming app with an elementary Discover feature (for example, suggesting music in a similar genre), and then "teach" an algorithm to recommend music in new and sophisticated ways. Development of a Discover feature will need at least 40 hours ($1400). The final price and timeframes will depend on a level of complexity.
The player is obviously a core feature of any music application. If you want to build an app like Spotify, you won't be able to skip a Player screen. Whether we will play audio files locally or will stream it from the server - we will need to show a Player screen to a user so that he can control everything.
Player screen is not just a name of a current song and an artist. It also has features like:
- The album cover, and all the artist, album and track info;
- Player controls: next or previous song, play, and pause, volume control;
- List of the songs that will be played next
- Additional features, such as "Liking" a song, adding it to a playlist, saving to user's library, integration with third-party services, and more.
Developing a usual player screen can take around 20 hours ($700). However, in the case with streaming applications, back-end developers will need additional time to add some changes to infrastructure to allow streaming, which will increase development time to 36 hours in total: $1,260.
We just tried to understand how the main features of the music streaming app work, and how much they cost. If you are curious how to make your own music app even better, you might think of adding some of these features:
Artist Profile, Album Info: these are two different screens, but they represent more or less similar information. Some artist description, list of his albums, most popular tracks, and so on. This feature can take around 56 hours or $1,960.
User's Library: some streaming applications allow users to have their own library. This is a nice to have feature if you want to build a music app: whenever user likes a song, he will add into his library and will be able to find it later easily. Libraries can save artists, songs, albums, playlists. Depending on features that you might need to implement, user's library can take from 40 hours ($1,400) to 80 hours ($2,800) or more.
Payments: depending on your business model, you might need to pay for a music license (if you are going to include other artist's music). Besides, you might want to have some profits from the application and services as well, so you will definitely need to add a payment method to the app, so user can subcscirbe for Premium features, buy albums, and so on. Payments integration can take around 32 hours (if we will use Stripe or native In-App Purchases) and can cost approximately $1,120.
Admin Panel: to manage whole music library we will need some kind of Admin Panel. Usually, it also includes a list of users, some stats, and more. Depending on Admin Panel complexity, prices can be from $1,400 (around 40h of work, will include a way to upload new tracks, edit existing ones, and view user's data) to $2,800 and more.
Offline mode: Even though we are working on a streaming app, sometimes users might need to listen to music offline. We could access music from user's local storage, or cache tracks locally. Usually this is a premium feature, and not available for a free users.
We just tried to understand how to make a music app. Also, we've made estimations how much average music streaming application for iOS or Android can cost. Of course, every project is unique, and estimations can slightly change according to specification, user interface complexity, number of features, and more.
If you would like to estimate your own project, whether it is a music app, or something different - just let us know by writing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for now, let's finally see how much development of the whole app will take, and how much it will cost:
|Login and Registration||25||$875|
|Artist and Album Profiles||56||$1,960|
As you can see, simple native iOS or Android music streaming application can cost around $10,000 and will take approximately 2.5 months from idea to releasing to App Store or Play Market. Depending on a budget and requirements, these estimations can be changed - we can only include features that your app needs most in the very beginning, and then continue adding features according to user's feedback after the release.
If you would like to develop an application, just let us know at email@example.com. Our team of experienced mobile and web developers is always ready to help!