Mobile App Development

Your Complete Guide to Music Streaming App Development

Published October 26, 2020

Your Complete Guide to Music Streaming App Development

Key Features, Business Model and the Cost Involved Music streaming apps have been winning the ears tremendously since its inception. Apps like Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and more have become the favorite fancy sparking millennials interest.

With easy accessibility and tons of features, these music apps have aced the personalization technology and have made millions flock towards it. Cheers to advanced music streaming app development services.

The technologies, business model, game-changing features and monetization tactics have played on it strength to give financial muscles to service providers. In this client guide, we will discuss all these growth engines that will help you reach the long-term ambitions you’ve marked for the music industry.

Topics Covered:

  1. Music Streaming App Market Overview
  2. Popular Music Streaming Apps
  3. Types of Music Streaming Services
  4. How to Develop A Music App: Key Features
  5. App Licensing
  6. Technology Stack
  7. Music App Monetization Strategies
  8. The Business Model of Spotify
  9. Cost to Develop a Music Streaming App

Music Streaming App Market Overview

Music streaming is like the heart and soul of the U.S music industry. Its popularity is only surging by leaps and bounds day by day and the statistics coming are just astonishing. Here are the latest reports from top research companies showing the towering figures:

  • The music streaming market is projected to reach $10 billion in 2023.
  • User penetration is expected to hit 12.0% by 2025.
  • The average revenue per user is expected to reach US$28
  • In global comparison, the highest music revenue will be generated in the US in 2020 amounting to $6,000 million.
  • Spotify claims a 35% market share with 286 million monthly active Spotify users and 130 million premium subscribers.


Apple Music

Launched in 2015, apple music is an exclusive iPhone app with 70 million songs. With the tagline “Where music comes to life” it truly delivers on it! It has been so popular since, that it has positioned itself as a potential competitor to big names like Spotify, Google play music and Amazon music. Despite having a ton of curated playlists, several handcrafted music picked by musicians and tastemakers, it still lacks the simple sharing options like that of Spotify.

Apple Music


Launched on October 24, 2014, Tidal is the only music streaming app which offers lossless audio streaming. The service acts as a bridge that unifies artists and fans. It offers the exact reproduction of original songs. This process aka lossless streaming if you are a premium subscriber. It consists of a collection of 60 million songs with a special focus on urban music. Despite Spotify and Youtube music leading the charts, tidal remains a strong player.



There was a time when Pandora had a limited library, but recently its deals have bolstered its music selection. Being in a neck to neck competition with Spotify, it remains the most popular radio streaming service in the states.



A single app for all indie song lovers across the world, Soundcloud is an exceedingly famous Android music streaming app. The service has the potential to avail around 150 million tracks. Second largest to that of the collective numbers of its competitors. Exclusive to indie music, it remains generic with features that of playlists and stations.



Spotify is like a breath of fresh air when it comes to talking about music streaming apps. A huge library, Music discovery, Customized playlists, Smart algorithms; Spotify has it all. It is shareable on multiple platforms, and most of its models are free.



Types of Music Streaming Services

There are majorly three types of music streaming services: Radio, On-Demand Music Streaming (often called as music library), and Cloud Storage. Let’s understand their nature and attributes:

Music Streaming Services

1. On-Demand Streaming Services

Apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal are the best example of on-demand music streaming. If you are looking to build one, you only have to create a server-based music library where you can upload millions of tracks and limit its accessibility to customers as per your terms and conditions. Like competitors generally bifurcate it to the Freemium model and Paid subscriptions.

2. Radio Stations

Unlike on-demand streaming apps, Radio Stations do not allow users to play songs on-demand. Rather, the service has a virtual DJ that picks and plays songs in order. Mostly the songs are tuned with your personal preferences. The best presenters of radio apps are Pandora, Shoutcast and iHeartRadio.

Plus, radio station apps cannot play songs on-demand, not even in the blue moon. The reason being their licensing agreements. Further, these apps are relatively low-priced compared to their rivals like on-demand streaming services.

3. Cloud Storage

In cloud storage apps, you can give your users audio file hosting capabilities. Means, your users can use the app to upload their favorite music, stream audio and make a file transfer to other people. So, eventually, you’ll be a cloud storage provider to back-up songs.

Popular cloud storage app market players allowing users to save their music catalog online are AudioBox, CloudPlayer, Google Play, and Groove Music.

How to Develop a Music App: Key Features

To create your own music streaming service you need to ponder upon the features that would increase accessibility, user stickiness, and convenience.

Here we have created a draft of essential music app features (fit for basic music app development) plus an advanced set of features (perfect for anyone looking to monetize and compete with current music market players).

  • User Registration: A must-have feature enabling the user to create their own personalized virtual music room in the app. It’s good to make this process of sign-up/login fast through social logins like Facebook or Google. Other options like email address, mobile and password combinations are also a requisite.
  • My Profile: Once the user creates an account he/she should be able to set their music listening preferences, languages, edit their profile, manage subscription details, etc.
  • Discover Music: Allow your users to browse and search music of their choice by filters like song, album, movie, artist, lyrics, genre, mood, etc.
  • Browse Categories: Let your users search the best music by genres like Pop, Blues, Folk, Alternative, Oldies, Heavy metal, Jazz, classical, hip hop, electronic, Reggae and many more.
  • Voice Search: This feature enables your users to search for music by voice.
  • My Music: Users can maintain their own music catalog by downloading their favorite songs or tracks, creating playlists, following playlists and artists. The downloaded songs can be played offline.
  • Social Sharing: Through this sharing feature, users can share playlists with their friends through social media.
  • Offline Availability: Allow your users to play a song when they are offline or do not have an internet connection.
  • Personalization: This is an advance feature in which app learns about user choices and gives personalized suggestion as ‘Recommended For You’, lists ‘Recently Played’ music, ask for your mood and suggests mood-based tracks.
  • Radio Station: This feature allows user to fetch stations where they can find arrays of songs based on their current activities like parties, commute, morning, reading, and workout.
  • Purchase Subscription: Depending upon your business model you can provide freemium and premium or subscription (monthly/annually) modules to access unlimited songs.
  • Payment Gateway Integration: For buying subscriptions allow your users to make online payments through multiple payment modes like debit/credit cards, net banking, mwallets, UPI, etc.
  • Coupons/Offers: This feature is optional here users can apply coupons earned while making payments for subscriptions.
  • Updates and Notifications: To keep your users coming back you can send them notifications of new releases, music events, LIVE shows, etc.
  • Multilingual: Users can set languages of their own preference.
  • Help & Support: Users should be able to check the app’s privacy policy, terms of use, FAQs, and contact for online assistance.
  • Rating and Review: Upon users’ experience with your app you can request them to leave ratings and reviews to help others check the feedback and attract more downloads.

App Licensing

Music streaming app services cannot be run without licensing. As the owner of the app, you need to get a license of the app for using and running music content. Because for every stream of music you have to pay royalties to right holders. Else, it would be considered as copyrights violation.

There are two types of copyrights in a song; one is owned by the songwriter/composer and the publishing company and other by the sound recording label.

  • To buy the Public Performance Rights in the USA you have to contact the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or you may also contact BMI or SESAC.
  • To buy the rights in the UK you can contact PPL PRS.

Technology Stack

Spotify being an ideal example for a music streaming app, let’s have a look at what technologies are used by the app.

Technology Stack - Spotify

How to Monetize a Music Streaming App

1. Advertisements

Ads play an essential role in the monetization process of any service. Ads generate spaces for triggering revenue generation. Ads in music apps can be categorized into two categories: Display Ads and In-Content Ad Streaming.

Display ads are graphic which occupies the screen for a few seconds in between, before or after tracks. Whereas in content streaming is little clips of audio or video which play before or after the track. Generally, these ads can be played at intervals of 15 -20mins. This ad scheme of display and content streaming works well in the freemium model.

The more the ads stream the more revenue is generated.

For e.g.: YouTube Music add ads before playing the track. 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.

2. Subscription

The subscription-based model is as simple as ordering a pizza with extra cheese, it doesn’t change the original concept of the pizza but simply exemplifies its taste.

Likewise in music when users upgrade to a premium version, they get something extra, say features like unlimited music downloads or those extra goodies that were not available in the freemium version.

For a sum of money, one can get extra benefits and better incentives. A lot of music streaming services offer monthly subscriptions to get access to unlimited music (e.g. Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, etc.). Such a monetization strategy allows companies to get revenue regularly. It’s the most popular variant for music streaming apps since the music company has to pay for licenses regularly.

3. In-App Purchases

No revenue generation activity is complete without in-app purchases. It is the most bankable app monetization strategy. This gives the user a free will to choose what they want and only pay for that specific selection.

Users generally confuse subscriptions with that of in-app purchases, but one has to realize that subscriptions come with the extra baggage of everything available in that price range.

Whereas in-app purchases give them the option to handpick exclusive choices such as playlists, high-quality access, and better user interface and only pay for them. On the other hand, it is easy for the app company to earn through such offerings as individual purchasing yield more profits than that of bulk purchases.

4. Availability On Multiple Platforms

Higher app representation results in higher reachability. Your music streaming app should be present on every platform- be it mobile, smart TVs, PC, or other gaming consoles and speakers.

When your music streaming app is visible on multiple platforms there is a high possibility that it will be preferred more as it has already been instilled in the memory of the viewer/users of that or many other platforms.

5. Freemium App

There is no denying that apps that offer free versions with less or equivalent access to premium services are preferred over the ones which do not follow this model.

This does not exactly mean that the exclusive content isn’t protected but a glimpse of it is accessible to all.

For e.g.: Spotify launched its app based on the freemium model but, it’s worth noting that it was ad-supported. This model attracts more people onto your platform. They may be freemium subscribers but they have greater chances of converting to potential paid ones.

The Business Model of Spotify

Next, let’s understand how the popular music app Spotify operates and earns money. Below designed is the business model canvas of Spotify.

Business Model of Spotify

The Total Cost Involved In Music Streaming App Development

The total cost to create a music streaming app solution depends on the following factors:

  • Market Investigation (App discovery)
  • App Prototype and Wireframing
  • UI/UX design
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Technical specifications
  • Development (No. of App Platforms)
  • Key Features Involved
  • QA and Testing
  • App Release and Deployment
  • Maintenance and support

Further, it also depends on the team size and geographic location of the app development team. As the hourly rates change country-wise. Read more : How to Make a Social Video App like TikTok?

A Ballpark Figure

While it is hard to estimate the total cost without knowing the detailed project scope but a rough estimate could be around USD 12,000- $20,000.

How Codiant Can Help You?

Codiant is a top on-demand app development company that holds an astute experience in developing apps of all types. We as a music streaming app Development Company have helped a couple of businesses develop music apps with hyper-personalization features and omnichannel experience.

If you’re looking to develop a music app from scratch or looking for a ready to market app with your own customization and branding, Codiant can be your right technology partner.

We provide pre-made music streaming app. Our white-label product “Music App” is fully customizable and can be reskinned to your brand design. Download the app now to view its basic functionalities.

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