How to Make a Music Streaming App: Business Model, Features, and Cost

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15 Apr 2020
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12 min
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Katherine O.
Copywriter
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Evgeny M.
Business analyst

We’ve updated the article to describe the final price to build a music streaming app.

Mobile apps have changed the way we listen to music. There are various music streaming services on the App Store and Google Play.

The market leaders like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora have become that popular because they’re simply convenient and offer good value for money. However, if you want to create a music streaming app, you need to consider various factors like license, platform, and others.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to make a music streaming app, required features, and their cost.

Table of contents

How to make a music streaming app?

Music Streaming App Market Overview

Music streaming applications gain their popularity due to convenience they bring to users. Let’s consider some interesting statistics.

  • The global music streaming market is expected to exceed $10 billion by 2023.
  • The average revenue per user is approximately $26.
  • Spotify has 36% market share of music streaming subscribers.
  • Apple claims that 60 million users pay for Apple Music subscription.

As you can see, the music streaming market is quite prospective. However, it can be challenging to compete with services like Spotify or Pandora. Such platforms have spent over five years to acquire a user base and become who they’re now. They invest a lot of money in machine learning and artificial intelligence to make music streaming apps capable of suggesting relevant artists, tracks, and albums.

How to create your own music streaming service?

Let’s first discuss several market leaders to understand what stands behind their success.

How to make a music streaming app: Popular services

Popular music streaming services

Spotify

It’s impossible to discuss the music streaming market without Spotify. This app is in line with the two streaming giants — Apple Music and YouTube Music. It's no secret that Spotify has been growing fast, offering an enormous selection of music at no cost. Free accounts have some listening limitations and ads. The service offers premium accounts to get unlimited access to music.

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Pandora

Pandora is also highly competitive in the world of streaming services due to the decent audio quality and great customization. Additionally, it has acquired the on-demand music service called Rdio and reclaimed its title of being among the best in the music streaming game.

Apple Music

Apple created apps for iOS and Android devices, offering various songs for users from all over the world. Additionally, users can listen to local radio stations using the application.

There are a bunch of cool music streaming applications that offer exciting features. So, the question arises — how to create an audio streaming app? Let’s dive into this topic below.

How to Build a Music Streaming App: Points to Consider

There are various things to consider before starting music streaming app development. We’ve singled out four significant points that you need to consider beforehand.

How to make a music streaming service: Points to consider

What to consider before music streaming app development

Type of Music Streaming Services

Let’s discover what kind of app you want to create. It’s common to consider three types:

Music library

Simply saying, you can build a server-based music library and offer customers access to the music under your conditions — paid subscriptions or free access.

Example: Apple Music, Spotify

Cloud storage

You let users store their songs and stream them anywhere and anytime they like.

Example: AudioBox, Groove Music

Radio stations

This kind of app has various radio stations and arranges them by specific themes, which can be streamed to PC, home audio, or any mobile device.

Example: Shoutcast, Apple Music

How to make a music streaming app: Types of platforms

Types of music streaming services

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to create a music streaming app with a server-based library.

Getting License

Music streaming services allow users to listen to music without purchasing. However, as the owner, you need to get a license for using music content.

So, if you want to create your own music streaming service, you need the Public Performance Rights.

In the United States, it can be handled by one of two agencies:

  • The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ( ASCAP)
  • Broadcast Music Incorporated ( BMI)

To stream music in Europe, apply to the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers ( SESAC).

Let's consider an example.

Spotify gets two types of licensing for streaming music:

  • Sound Recording License agreements to cover the rights to a particular record.
  • Musical Composition License Agreements to cover the people who own the rights to the song.

Spotify signs contracts with large music labels like Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment Group, and others to stream music with copyrights belonging to these companies.

We DON’T recommend skipping licensing and streaming music without permission. If no license, you’ll have to pay a fine from a minimum of $750 up to $150,000 per one song played.

Data Storage

Before you build a music streaming app, your development team should take care of data storage. You need a back-end server that supports streaming. For example, you can consider using such services as AWS.

!

Discover how we set up AWS server architecture to help our client with the project.

Another option is to stream from Spotify or SoundCloud catalogs using SDK and API provided by them. However, you should keep in mind the restrictions listed in Terms of Use for developer tools.

If you wish, you can do without third-party streaming APIs and create a data storage based app on a self-hosted server. In this case, you upload your songs into a readable directory on your server.

Platform

These days, there are two popular platforms — iOS and Android. So which platform to choose to create your own music streaming service? The answer is simple — you need to develop applications for both of them to stay competitive. For example, Apple Inc. created an Apple Music app for Android devices to gain more users.

However, if you’re on a budget budget, it’s possible to choose one platform according to your target audience and their preferences. For example, in the USA, people prefer iOS devices. While the European market is full of Android devices.

How to Build a Music Streaming App: Features and Their Cost

How to make your own music streaming service? You need to discover the demanded features according to the users’ needs.

Essential Features for a Music Streaming App

It’s common to divide features into two categories — MVP and advanced. MVP or must-have features stand for essential functionality to satisfy basic use needs. You can create an MVP of your music streaming app, release it, and get the feedback. After that, you can add more advanced and expensive features.

?

All you need to know about building an MVP in our guide ‘ How to build an MVP: Steps, Examples, Benefits.

Additionally, having an MVP version of your app, you have more chances to get investments. A working product makes stakeholders trust you.

Let’s single out must-have features for a music streaming app.

  • Registration. You need to offer several options to make the process fast and user-friendly. For instance, you can integrate signup via social networks like Facebook or Google. Also, you need to add email and password, phone number and password signups. ‘Forget password’ feature makes your app more user-friendly.
  • Search. To find music, users need to have a search. Users can search for the music by artist, title, album, recording studio, or genre.
  • Music player. How to create a music streaming app and reach success? You have to develop a user-friendly music player. Users can create playlists of favorite songs, add albums, and mark artists as favorite.
  • My music. The users can look through their favorite tracks and download them. Also, they can create or delete playlists, share playlists, and play them. You can also add the ability to share playlists or songs via social media. It’s common to integrate an artist screen with popular tracks and latest albums.
  • Settings. To make a music streaming app more user-friendly, you need to incorporate the ability to change audio and app settings. For example, you can add an automatic download, sync for various devices.
Time to make a music streaming app (MVP version)
Feature Back-end development, hours iOS development, hours Android development, hours

Registration

27 hours

38 hours

38 hours

Search

24 hours

51 hours

51 hours

Music player

10 hours

69 hours

69 hours

My music

83 hours

140 hours

140 hours

Settings

11 hours

61 hours

61 hours

Total time

155 hours

359 hours

359 hours

How to make a music streaming features: Required features

Features to develop a music streaming app

Except for features, two factors can affect the price significantly — an admin panel and an attractive UI/UX design.

Admin panel

It allows managing subscriptions, creating featured playlists, and (delete and add them). You need one admin panel for all apps. To develop an admin panel, web developers require at least 431 hours.

Design

To reach success, you need to pay attention to the UI/UX design. Your music streaming app design should be intuitive and user-friendly. Designers need at least 150 hours to create a design for one platform (iOS or Android)

How to create a music streaming app: design

Streaming app design (Source: Dribbble)

How to make a music streaming app outstanding? You need to integrate several advanced features. Here are some ideas:

  • Recommendation
  • Preferences
  • Personalized notifications
  • Social sharing
  • Top trending artists/songs

How to Make a Music Streaming App: Team and Technologies

How to create your own music streaming service?

To create iOS and Android music streaming applications, you need to cooperate with various specialists. To give you a hint, we’ve listed the required team members below.

  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • UI/UX designer
  • 1 or 2 Android developers
  • 1 or 2 iOS developers
  • Back-end developers
  • QA engineer

Music streaming apps require a scalable tech stack. For example, you need to use various programming languages for developing iOS and Android apps, Swift and Kotlin respectively. Also, you need a scalable database.

To help you, let’s consider Spotify tech stack.

  • Programming languages: Python, Java
  • Frameworks: Hadoop, Apache Storm, Hub Framework
  • Server: Nginx
  • Cloud storage: Amazon S3, Google BigQuery
  • CDN: Amazon CloudFront
  • Database: PostgreSQL, Cassandra
  • Tools: Bootstrap, Kafka, Google Analytics
  • DevOps: Docker, Datadog, TestFlight
!

Note: Choosing the tech stack for a music streaming app, you need to consult with professionals. The final toolset always depends on your technical needs and project requirements.

How to create a music streaming app: Spotify tech stacj

Spotify tech stack

How to Create a Music Streaming Service: The Final Price

Considering all the factors we’ve discussed, let’s find out the final time and cost to develop an audio streaming app.

!

All the estimations below are based on the average rate in our region (Eastern Europe, Ukraine) — $50 per hour.

Final price to make a music streaming app (MVP version)
Type of work Time (back-end included) Cost

Features (for one app)

514 hours

$25,700

Admin panel (one for all platforms)

431 hours

$21,550

UI/UX design for iOS / Android

150 / 150 hours

$7,500 / $7,500

Frameworks and libraries integration for back-end

82 hours

$4,100

Frameworks and libraries integration for iOS / Android

63 / 63 hours

$3,150 / $3,150

Quality assurance (for one app)

300 hours

$15,000

Project management (for one app)

225 hours

$11,250

Total for one app (Android or iOS)

~1765 hours

~$88,250

Total for one app (Android and iOS)

~3017 hours

~$150,850

As you can see, the cost to create your own music streaming service (MVP version) may range between $88,250 and $150,850 for one or two platforms respectively.

However, the final price can vary depending on the location of your development team. For example, developers from North America tend to have higher hourly rates in comparison to engineers from Eastern Europe.

What is the final price for various regions? We’ve counted the cost to create an audio streaming app (MVP version for iOS and Android) for different regions.

  • Eastern Europe. $150,850 (based on $50/h)
  • North America. $301,700 (based on $100/h)
  • Western Europe. $271,530 (based on $90/h)
  • Australia. $301,700 (based on $100/h)
Discover music streaming app cost
We’ll check your project requirements and calculate the price for free.

How to Monetize a Music Streaming App

How to make a music streaming service profitable?

Of course, you need to offer popular content to gain more users. Also, you need to consider several monetization strategies to get profit. Here are some widespread ways:

  • Subscription
  • Advertisements
How to monetize a music streaming app

Monetization models

Let’s single out the details of each option.

Subscription

A lot of music streaming services offer monthly subscriptions to get access to unlimited music (e.g. Apple Music). Such monetization strategy allows companies to get revenue on a regular basis. It’s the most popular variant for music streaming apps, since the music company has to pay for licenses regularly.

Advertisements

It’s possible to add ads before playing the track as YouTube Music does. However, Spotify uses another type of ad. There’s Spotify Ad Studios for artists. The service analyzes the genre of your music and shows it to fans of similar genres and artists.

Business Model Canvas of Spotify

Spotify’s business model is quite simple. However, it brings a stable revenue to the company.

Spotify makes money using two monetization models — advertisements and subscription.

To understand how Spotify works, we’ve made a business model canvas of this service. It consists of value propositions, business partners, revenues, and more.

How to make a music streaming app: Spotify business model

Spotify business model canvas

?

How to make a Spotify-clone? Follow our guide ‘ Behind the Scenes of Streaming Apps: How to Make Spotify.

How We Can Help

We’ve been making software solutions for the Streaming industry for over five years. Our team of developers is experienced in developing scalable iOS and Android apps of different complexity levels.

We’ve recently helped to update one of streaming projects — Blockbuster.

Streaming app: Blockbuster

Blockbuster

Blockbuster is a video streaming service for Nordic countries. It has a web version, iOS and Android apps along with support for Android TV and Apple TV.

Our team has developed several exciting features like parental control and viewing progress.

To create this featured solution, we’ve used the following tech stack:

How to make a music streaming app

Blockbuster's tech stack

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Comments
FL
Francisco Lopez
16.04.2020 at 16:04
Thank you for a useful article! I liked a part with tech stack a lot!
LV
Louise Vogl
03.05.2020 at 11:07
Thanks for such an interesting post!
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