Music streaming app developement

The music sector is one of the largest and most profitable industries on the planet. There will always be space for music apps like Pandora, Spotify, and Deezer. 

According to IFPI, the music industry generated a revenue of around $21.6 billion. Compared to 2019, the industry has grown 7.4% in the year 2020.

More than 80% of the total revenue generated was from streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora digital radio. Paid subscription-based services contributed around $13.4 billion or 62.1% of the total revenue generated

It is evident that the demand for streaming services is all set to grow in the coming years.

If you have ever thought of creating your own radio app, make sure you read this till the end. This guide answers various questions on how to develop streaming radio like Pandora. But before we do that, let us look at why Pandora is so successful at what it does.

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What is Pandora? The #1 music streaming app in the USA

Pandora was launched in the year 2000 and was associated with the Genome Project. The app creators were interested in creating a music app that helps users discover new music and artists based on their interests.

And they did that. Instead of trying to fit in the industry, they created the personalized radio station genre. The developers have created an algorithm that helps users find music based on their preferences.

Company Name Pandora
Founder(s) Will Glaser, Jon Kraft and Tim Westergren
CEO Alexander Lacik
Founding Year 2000
HeadQuarter( HQ) Oakland, California

Music apps like Pandora are popular

mobile app development

Music apps like Pandora and Spotify are increasingly becoming popular. This is because users are inclining towards streaming services as opposed to downloading and listening to music offline. While apps like Spotify enable users to explore already curated playlists, Pandora helps people explore new music by creating personalized radio stations.

These radio stations are based on what type of music the user listens to and is further personalized based on Artificial Intelligence algorithms. It results in a personal radio station that users can listen to, leading to increase in overall app usage.

Why Pandora is popular amongst its customers/ user-base

Music app development

1. Quick sign up

Almost every mobile service needs to have an option to sign up. Therefore, various registration options such as email, phone number, and username should be available. Likewise, the app should also offer the option to sign up using social media credentials.

2. Ability to discover new music

If you want to develop an app similar to Pandora, the main feature should revolve around exploring music the user likes. Unlike Spotify, Pandora lets users listen to music depending on their interests and does not focus on users binging on the same songs. Instead, it wants users to listen to new tracks based on their preferred genre constantly.

3. Search and discover new songs

Even personalized radio apps like Pandora should have the option to let users search for their favorite songs. However, allowing users to search will only lead to users spending more time using the service.

4. A visually appealing and functional music player

Since this is a music app, the music player will undoubtedly be the main feature everyone will use. This will be the screen where users will spend most of their time, so make sure they have a clean design. The play/pause and previous/next buttons should be large enough not to miss.

User flow of music apps like Pandora: how does Pandora work?

Build a music app like Pandora

If you want to create a successful pandora like app, you should first put yourself in the user’s shoes. Then, take into consideration what steps he will have to take to use a Pandora clone.

Download the app

The first step is quite obvious. The user needs to download the app from their device’s app store. For devices running Android, the obvious choice would be the Google Play Store. Coming to Apple, the users will have to download the app from the App Store.

Sign up

Once the app is downloaded and installed, the user will need to launch the app to use it. This step will help the app understand what type of music the user wants to listen to.

Creating personalized radio stations

This is the most crucial step in the process. The user enters the artist’s name or the album they want to listen to and creates personalized radio stations based on their preferences. Pandora will find songs similar to your taste and curate a playlist based on the same.

Remove songs you don’t like

Now that you have the songs from the genre you want to hear, the app will ask you if you do not like a particular song or artist. The thumbs up and the thumbs down button on the app helps you achieve the same. If the user gives Pandora a thumbs up on several songs, the application’s algorithm will suggest similar songs accordingly.

Add variety

The left side of the screen offers a three-dot menu that enables users to ‘Add variety’ to their custom radio channel. Since it is highly unlikely that the user will use a single radio station and listen to a particular genre, this button enables them to add more artists or music that they want to hear.

Creating multiple stations

Users have the option to create multiple stations. People can make one station for a particular genre or artist. They can also be divided based on genres, bands, albums, etc. The ‘More recommendations’ button is designed to help the users discover music according to their taste.

If we take a closer look at the user flow of the application, we can see that Pandora has taken a user-centric approach. The entire application revolves around user interaction and personalization. One should always try to achieve the same when trying to make a Pandora clone.

How to design an application with good user flow

Now that we know how Pandora works, you might be wondering how to create a music application with a good user experience. Here are some guidelines you can use to develop a personalized radio application:

1. Should be visually consistent with similar services

Suppose you have a bunch of already existing applications available for download. Then, the design language of the radio app should be in line with other apps. 

For example, let us consider the example of Google Music. The design language of Google Music should fall in line with its other offerings. This ensures a consistent design flow. On the other hand, apps like Spotify need not follow this since it is a standalone application.

2. Minimal user interaction

One of the most important factors is how many buttons the user has to tap to start playing a song. The majority of people hate it when they have to tap multiple times to play a song. Therefore, you should also ensure minimizing the same.

Popular music apps like Spotify and Deezer already know this down to one. For example, if you launch Spotify, the app remembers the last song you played. Users need to just click on the Play button at the bottom of the app. Just one tap, and you are good to go.

3. Easy navigation

No matter what type of mobile app you are developing, clear and easy navigation is the most crucial feature. It is common knowledge that users do not want to spend time learning the ins and outs of an app. A music app should always let users find new music using a search bar.

4. Support for multiple languages

While an MVP app can start with English as the only language, ideally, a music app should be available in multiple languages. This will help tremendously if you want to target non-native English speakers.

Pandora clone business model explained (with pics)

Personalized radio apps like Pandora and Spotify make profits using two proven business models – advertising and membership-based. Music apps like Pandora make use of both models to maximize their profits.

However, there are some less popular methods of monetization that we will also discuss below. 

1. Advertising 

The majority of Pandora’s users just want to listen to their favorite songs for free. Therefore, advertising is a viable means of monetization. Also, it is the primary source of revenue for apps like these. More than 80% of Pandora’s profit comes from banner advertising and audio ads.

2. Premium membership 

According to statistics, only 5% of Pandora’s total user base has subscribed to the application’s premium version. Having said that, the amount of revenue it generates amounts to a sizable 20% of the total revenue.

3. Charging artists

Traditionally, advertising and membership are the most common ways of monetization for music apps like Pandora. However, in recent years, another business model has proven to be quite effective. 

Even though music services like Spotify and Pandora pay artists to use their music, paid music promotion is emerging as a good way of generating revenue. Services like SoundCloud monetize by promoting songs by new artists to help them reach a wider audience. It helps both the streaming service and the artists.

Another example is Spotify Ad. Using app advertising, artists can target an audience based on their age, demographics, and gender. This enables them to reach people they think might be interested.

4. In-app purchases

Some music apps also offer in-app purchases. Just make sure whatever you decide to sell has a reasonable price. For example, Google Music allowed users to upload their music collection, allowing them to listen from anywhere. Unfortunately, the service was shut down a few years ago.

General features (3 Panels of any music streaming or radio app)

There are three panels to any music streaming service. Let us explore what they are and the features they have to offer.

A. User app

1. Signup and Login methods

The user app should provide the user with a hassle-free and straightforward login and signup experience. It should also allow them to use their email address, phone number. Moreover, the app lets users register or log in using various social media accounts like Facebook and Google.

2. Select your genre

Apps like Pandora work on this principle. So if you want to develop a Pandora close, make sure to let users select their preferred genre. The algorithm will then help users explore music that suits their tastes. 

3. Personalized radio stations or playlists

While Spotify allows you to make your playlists, apps like Pandora do not. Instead, you can create your own radio station from scratch, which will then suggest you music based on your liking.

4. Top 100 songs

The user app should also have a section where you can check out the top songs based on several factors such as your geographic location, preferred genre, or the music billboard.

5. Ability to listen offline

While this feature is not a must-have, major streaming platforms have slowly incorporated it into their products. It surely helps users spending more time using streaming radio like Pandora.

6. Mark favorite tracks

Another simple but quite helpful feature in a music streaming app is the ability to mark favorite songs. This will help the user listen to the music they enjoy the most quite often.

B. Artist Panel

1. Easy signup and verification process

Music artists should register themselves on the app so they can upload their songs. The registration verification process should be quick and easy.

2. Profile creation

The app should let music artists create their profiles and add photos appealing.

3. Analytics and statistics

The app should let music creators check the number of views they are getting over a certain time period. It should also give them analytics such as the number of times the song was shared, if users listen to their songs often, etc.

C. Admin panel

1. Manage and monitor music

The admin app should help the user manage all uploaded music and remove or add tracks to the top songs list easily.

2. Artist management

The admin panel can help the administrator view the overall popularity and progress of a particular artist. They can also remove or add artists with ease.

3. Customer feedback

Admin can also check out the user feedback and notify the developers of any bugs the users have encountered. 

4. Notification management

Last but not least, the app should also let the admin control the number of notifications and alerts. They should also be able to modify the frequency and send special discounts if applicable.

Tech Stack

While developing any type of mobile application, you might need a combination of various technologies available in the market. Here are a few technologies you can make use of to create a radio app.

The primary focus should be on the mobile application. Music streaming apps need to be developed using the native app approach.

  • Push notifications can be either managed using Firebase Cloud Messaging, OneSignal, or Airship.
  • The sign-up and login process can be streamlined using various APIs available on the internet. 
  • If you think of a hosting service, Bluehost, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud Storage are some of the best solutions.
  • Swift for iOS and Kotlin or Java for Android are some of the most popular languages for mobile app development.
  • The backend can be managed using various technologies such as Ruby on Rails, Node.js, or whatever you prefer.

How to make a music streaming radio app like Pandora or Spotify?

1. Licensing

Before you even start with the development process, the licensing part is what you will have to address. The music industry is highly competitive with strict licensing and copyright laws. Therefore, it will probably be the most significant investment you make when developing music streaming app like Spotify.

Almost 50% of Pandora’s total revenue is spent on licensing. In the year 2016, it cost the company $734.35 million. If you want to operate in the United States, you should look to Broadcast Music Incorporated or The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. In case you are targeting the European market, contact the European Stage Authors and Composers.

2. Choose the region you want to operate in

No matter how big you are, it is virtually impossible to operate in every country on the planet. Even companies like Pandora don’t operate worldwide. So do your research and choose the region you want to launch your service. Then, over time, you can expand your area of operations.

3. Decide on the streaming technology you want to use

If you want to create your music streaming service, you might want to decide what type of technology you want to stream music. Here are some ways you can stream music over the internet:

  • The first option is to install the broadcast center on a virtual server with the music directly streamed from the cloud to the end-users.
  • The second option involves streaming from the studio using a distribution server. The server is responsible for making it available to the app users.

Now let us explore the standard technologies that are used to create a Pandora clone. Although there are several protocols you can make use of, WebRTC and RTMP remain the most popular choices.

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC)

This protocol makes use of point-to-point technology to deliver the content between browsers or applications. It is mainly used to facilitate video and audio between users.

Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP)

Developed by Adobe, RTMP is a broadcast protocol that makes use of the company Flash Player. What it means is that the server must be based on ActionScript. 

4. UI/UX design

The UI and UX design is the most crucial aspect of the application. Make sure the user interface is clean, user-friendly, with the essential features easily accessible. Good UI/UX developers can quickly help you develop an attractive app similar to Pandora radio.

Idea Usher offers music streaming app development services. Apps similar to Pandora radio should have UI based on what niches they operate in. Before you choose UI/UX developers, make sure to check their portfolios.

5. Choose the format

There are several formats you can choose from. But, again, choosing the format depends on what you want your app to do. 

  • Spotify like apps focus on the user choosing and curating their music preferences. The company also lets users choose from pre-generated playlists and share existing ones with their friends.
  • Other apps such as TuneIn don’t let users choose from a list of songs. Instead, they have a list of radio stations you can tune in to like regular radio stations.
  • If we combine the above formats, what we get is Apple Music. It enables people to listen to TuneIn like radio stations or create playlists from scratch.

6. Monetization strategy

Before starting radio app development, decide which method of revenue generation you want to use. Most apps use a combination of advertising and subscription-based services. Check if they suit your application model.

7. Recommendation algorithm

There are two popular content recommendation models that radio similar to Pandora make use of. The first one is the co-filtering algorithm that Spotify makes use of. It recommends songs or albums to the user, depending on what they usually listen to or trending.

On the other hand, Pandora makes use of a content-oriented algorithm. It works by suggesting songs based on the interests and history of the user.  

Collaborative filtering

A new type of recommendation algorithm has emerged in recent years. This method improvises on the content-based filtering method. It uses artificial intelligence to suggest things to the user based on their listening preferences and likes and dislikes.
For example, if user A and user B have similar interests, the system helps user B explore items liked by user A. It is usually used where large databases like music streaming services are involved. 

8. Make sure you hire a company with a proven track record

Make sure you take the help of professional mobile development companies who can help you transform your vision into reality. You will need several experts on the team such as:

  • Project manager

The project manager will be responsible for managing things and conveying the information from you (client) to the development team.

  • UI/UX developers

The UI/UX is the most important part of the app. Good UI/UX developers will ensure that your app is easy to use and good to look at.

  • Developers

There are different types of developers who will help you create a music app like Pandora. Make sure you take a look at the company’s portfolio to get an idea of how good they are what they do.

Competitors to Pandora

Now that we are clear on how to develop your own radio app let us look at the niche competition.

Some of the popular music streaming services include:

1. Spotify

Without a doubt, Spotify is one of the most extensive music streaming services in the world. It is available in various languages and countries. They even curate content based on the region they are operating in. Also, they have one of the most extensive music collections compared to other services.

2. SoundCloud

The service takes a hybrid approach to music streaming. It combines the ability to upload and listen to music while incorporating several social features. 

This encourages emerging artists to upload music to the platform so they can easily reach more people. You can also share songs on social media such as Twitter and Facebook at the click of a button.

The ability to leave a comment on a timestamp on your favorite music is what makes it stand out. The company also offers premium subscriptions to the service.

3. YouTube music

Formerly known as Google Play Music, it is Google’s latest take on the music streaming niche. The unique thing about YouTube music is that it works on every device independent of the platform. Moreover, it is backed by the platform’s huge music collection.

The service offers a paid version that lets you skip ads that pop up in between music. Some of the prominent features include pre-generated playlists and intelligent recommendations.

4. Apple music

Developed explicitly with Apple devices in mind, the music streaming platform works flawlessly on iOS devices. It is also available for download on Android. Their collection consists of more than 45 million songs that are frequently updated.

It is very well integrated with Siri and Apple Watch. However, since it was designed for iOS in mind, the service is primarily used by Apple ecosystem users.

Cost of Pandora-like music app development

Our developers have come up with an approximate figure. If you want to develop an MVP music app, it will cost somewhere between $10000-$30000. Make your own music app like Pandora with Idea Usher and get a free quote! Depending on your requirements, we can offer you a fully featured app at an affordable price.

Idea Usher: best music app development services

The music industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the whole world. Over the last couple of years, the rate of adoption of digital music has skyrocketed. As a result, almost everyone listens to music, resulting in the music industry reporting nothing but profits.

Idea Usher comprises a team of experienced developers who have created hundreds of high-quality mobile applications. We have a proven track record and a portfolio comprising hundreds of apps. Have a look at some templates for your music streaming app from the Idea Usher team.

Our expertise in the field, combined with your creativity and ingenuity, can help you make the next Pandora. If you want to work with us, you can drop an email at [email protected] or click on this link.

Build music app like Pandora

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about music apps like Pandora: 

Q. How is the pandora audio quality?

A. The audio quality depends on the type of membership you have. For free users, Pandora streams audio at 64k AAC+. This should be okay for most people. But if you are an audiophile, you will surely want to buy Pandora Plus or Premium membership. Paid members get access to 192kbps audio.

Q. How much time does it take for a music app like Pandora to develop?

A. Developing an app like Pandora requires a considerable amount of time. Even though there is no definitive answer to this question, the development process will take around 1000 hours. However, this is just an estimate and might take more or less depending on the number of features you opt for.

Q. How to market an app like Pandora?

A. Marketing an app like Pandora is a pretty complex process. Since there is no best method for advertising, you should identify the audience you want to target. While traditional advertising methods such as Google and Facebook ads might work, be sure to look out for more.

Focus on the unique features of your app, something that makes it stand out from what the market has to offer.

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