Life is somewhat like a movie. Don’t all of us have music playing in the background when something special happens? People tend to associate certain individuals or events with particular songs. Music has become everyone’s universal companion that follows wherever we go.
Only half a decade ago an iPod with couple hundreds of favorites was enough, but today the advancement of internet connection speed has changed the demand for music and resulted in the rising popularity of music streaming app, thus, increasing the demand in music app development.
Having over 75 million users, Spotify is the most popular among them. What is the reason behind its popularity and how to make a music app like Spotify? These are the topics of our article.
What is a Spotify streaming app?
In short, Spotify is a video and music streaming app that allows users to browse for any song, artist, album or genre. Users can share favorite tracks, add them to playlists or even collaborate with their friends to create compilations.
The Spotify app was launched back in October 2008. The idea behind it belongs to two friends, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, that came up with it sitting in the nearly empty apartment in Stockholm, Sweden. It provides access to all music in the world, anywhere and anytime.
The benefits of an online music streaming service are clear:
- Quick access
- Unlimited storage
- Social engagement
Spotify offered an inexpensive alternative to piracy. A monthly subscription does not cost much, so users can enjoy their favorite tracks and give credit to artists at the same time.
Cost forming factors of building a music streaming app Like Spotify
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same thing goes for an application. There is a long process involved in creating a music streaming app. In brief, it looks like this:
- Planning and estimating
- Finding tech crew
- Designing the app Like Spotify
- Deciding on a Platform
- Getting licensed
- Developing features
Let’s take a closer look at each of these stages.
Before getting down to developing a music app, prepare the planned concept of the project. Try out the main competitors, check out what is so special about them and how to outrun them.
Of course, not all niches in the music streaming industry are taken, but you have to study what people are going to use your product. What is their age? How do they live? Why do they need you? Tailor the application’s features and design to match the needs of your target audience.
#2. Finding Tech Crew
When you finally have a vision of what your product is going to be, it’s time to locate the team that will build it for you. There are lots of factors (e.g. rates, location, language and time zone differences, etc.) to consider while setting down with one company.
In case you want to roughly estimate how much it costs to build an app like Spotify, use the average rates per region given below:
- North America
- Western Europe
- Eastern Europe
Pay attention to the project history of the company. Do they have relevant experience in creating music streaming applications? Is their reputation any good? You can go as far as checking out their applications in App Store and Play Market.
#3. Designing the app Like Spotify
When you have found the team that is going to make your music streaming app, proceed to make wireframes for the project. The application’s purpose has to be understandable. Every action and feature has to be straightforward and intuitive. Users love apps that are easy to use.
The time spent on making a prototype strongly depends on how thoroughly you thought out what you want from the finished product. Make sure to analyze your main competitors and learn from them. Pick up the best parts, and look at the app like a user would, not like the owner.
#4. Deciding on a Platform
It’s one of the key aspects to influence the final development cost. It’d be better to create a native applications for each platform so they would perfectly interact with the existing operating system, and offer users the most authentic user experience. No matter what platform you go with, the Spotify’s SDK are available for both iOS and Android. It will ease the work of your developer crew in making features like music streaming or authentification.
#5. Getting licensed
There is no way you will be able to take someone’s composition and spread it everywhere all that simply. There are copyrights and legal procedures that should be followed. Otherwise, a lawsuit is in store for you.
To provide users with high-quality audio or video content, you have to receive a Public Performance Rights license. In the USA, it is handled by three agencies: ASCAP.com, BMI.com or SESAC.com. Moreover, a particular share of revenues will have to be paid to artists as royalties for using their music.
#6. Developing features
Spotify utilizes the freemium business model, which requires the user to sign up before using a system, and what’s more important, it lets them access the content for the trial period before purchasing a subscription. Also, Spotify is connected to Facebook and allows users to sign in through their account.
- Developing this feature is going to require 24 hours of front-end time, and 16 hours to build the backend part.
The streaming method does not require the whole file to be downloaded. Actually, the audio is delivered in small “packets” for the data to be buffered into the device and instantly played. You have to make sure that the stream in steady and uninterrupted to hear the clear sound without any stops.
- As for a simple MVP, it will take about 60-80 hours for front-end, and 50 hours for back-end part. However, building the music streaming feature altogether is going to take about 600 hours (350 hours for front-end including caching, and 250 for back-end without scaling).
Spotify allows users to choose among tons of playlists and select the one that suits their mood the best. Aside from that, users can search the track by artist, album or a particular genre.
- The MVP needs 50-60 hours to develop the front-end, and 50 hours for back-end.
The application has taken after a social network in giving the ability to see the playlists of friends and share liked tracks with them.
- Front-end: 5 hours per each platform
- Back-end: 60 hours
There is a whole team dedicated to creating relatable playlists suitable for a special occasion like having a road trip with a family or enjoying the party with friends. Moreover, users can set up their own music collections on their own, or together with their buddies. These playlists can be shared and popularized on Spotify.
- Front-end: 40 hours
- Back-end: 70 hours
This feature allows users to listen to their favorite songs without the internet connection. It uses the local storage of the device to cache the audio data.
- Front-end: 40 hours
- Back-end: 20 hours
The time needed to develop an MVP of a similar music streaming app like Spotify is going to take approximately 550-600 hours of working time. However, if you aim for the same quality and usability as in Spotify, multiply this number by 2 or 2.5.
Approximate overall cost of a music streaming MVP Like Spotify
Relying on the rough estimate in the table given above, we can say that the development of an average music streaming MVP is going to take the minimum of 530 hours (development time). So the sole development is going to cost around $16-20 K. We covered only the essential features of music streaming app, and that is only the top of the iceberg. However, why is Spotify so successful?
|Authentification||24 h||16 h||40 h|
|Music streaming||80 h||60 h||140 h|
|Search||60 h||50 h||110 h|
|Sharing music||5 h per platform||60 h||65-70 h|
|Playlists||40 h||70 h||110 h|
|Offline mode||40 h||20h||60 h||530 hours|
Secret behind Spotify’s success (or why you won’t make it)
Spotify has become so popular because it gives users what they want. It understands users’ preferences by analyzing enormous amounts of collected data with the help of specially developed algorithms.
It is the long process of receiving the data on user and user’s behavior together with creating algorithms for analyzing its every aspect.
To provide personalized user experience, companies offer their users an option to like or dislike songs they listen to. Whenever a user likes or Spotify a composition. The information is stored in the user’s preferences section combined with the name of the artist, album, song, and more.
It is also possible to analyze what tracks the user has skipped, or what he has listened to until the very end. It will also allow offering tracks that suit a user’s taste.
With time, the analysis will help improving user experience, but the cost of storing space and developing algorithms for analysis will require additional funding.
As the amount of users’ data increases, you will have to think about improving or implementing new algorithms to better the system of music recommendations and daily discoveries.
Spotify, for instance, uses Echo Nest API, that utilizes data mining and machine learning technologies to collect information on what user listens to on a daily basis, what artists or songs are most or less favorite. This information is used to create personalized playlists for the user and his particular mood. It works on proposing suitable music for every moment of user’s life.
Why it is nearly impossible to repeat Spotify’s success
The streaming market is not as easy to enter as it may seem. Here at IDAP we get a lot of clients that want a Spotify-clone. However, despite that is simple on the tech side, there are a lot of processes involved that remind in the background. If you want to have a successful streaming application, you have to dig deeper where no one has dug before.
Spotify did not become famous in one day. They have spent nearly 5 years, acquired machine learning, created a system of algorithms that analyzes user’s preferences and offers a playlist for a day.
Therefore, it would be difficult to compete with the giant of the music streaming industry. Instead of trying to succeed at something that is already made, try to find your own niche that will help people of a specific profession or interest.
Summing up, the initial cost of building a simple Spotify-like music streaming app starts from $16,000, and can only grow and grow some more. We at IDAP have no problem in building the technical part of any streaming application, both video and audio.
However, no matter how much money you invest into another Spotify clone, the probability of its success is very low. The magic of Spotify is unique and not cloneable. It is something that cannot be technically built, as it is driven by an idea.