A Thoughtful Guide on Music Streaming Apps- How to Create One, Features & Cost?

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Music runs through the veins of most people, if not all. It is a significant part of our routine. It is a way of expressing feelings and thoughts without literally speaking. It is an ideal medium to de-stress, have a relaxing time, and get your brain soothed to function more efficiently.

Foreseeing the primal urge of music, it tied knots with rapid internet penetration, and the high use of mobile devices led to the advent and development of music streaming applications. These apps empower users to discover, share, and stream music wherever they go and whenever they want.

Millennials' love for music streaming technology craves various music streaming apps. Soon, the demand meets the supply curve, and this domain becomes one of the profit-making ideas in the music industry, all over the world. Statistics show that the number of streaming subscribers is 488 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021. In 2022, the anticipated percentage of user penetration stands at 9.4%, which is expected to rise to 12.2% by 2026. And, if we talk about the revenue, a report by Statista shows that the expectations are that it is projected to reach $26,610 (US) million by the end of 2022, and by 2026, it would be $36,341 (US) million.

Hundreds of mobile applications are available on Google PlayStore and iOS AppStore like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Soundcloud, Amazon Music, and Deezer. These applications have a high customer retention rate and billions of downloads globally and locally. However, the race is not stopping here; more innovative products in the sector have absolute chances to find high demand and profitability.

The journey of creating a music streaming app and working is quite tricky. The immersed life of every human being makes it difficult to let them go through a complete music library, sort them, put them in a queue, and start listening every time they switch on the streaming app. Instead, people prefer to launch the app and listen to their favorite music or tracks with a few taps. Music accessible to stream can be readily adjusted to users' preferences. Let's see how to do it?

Who leads the music streaming app market?

Out of hundreds of music streaming apps available at app stores, only a few of them are leading the space. The best music streaming service providers are Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.

Let's see what's the success mantra and features of these apps.

In 2019, Statista reported, Spotify had 35% of users using music streaming apps worldwide, Apple Music accounted for 19%, and Amazon Prime Music had 14%. While Amazon and Apple Music rule the US market, Spotify is widespread all over the world.


Spotify is the most incredible music app that is one of the widely used brands in music streaming services. With around 96 million users, it is one of the finest free music apps available in the market. The primary reason for being a market leader is that it offers freemium to its users, who can take advantage of free music and can opt for paid subscriptions as per their liking.

While creating a music streaming app, you need to incorporate exclusive features that make you money. Addressing the same, Spotify offers the most basic subscription plan at $10 per month that allows customers unlimited downloads and listening to music even when they are not connected to the Internet.

Apple Music

After Spotify, Apple Music is top second on the list. By the second quarter of 2021, there were 523.9 million people who subscribed to Apple Music, which is a 26.4% increase from the same period in 2020. Their strategy is to offer a variety of subscription discounts with bloated features. Unlike Spotify, they offer free trials for a limited period and subscriptions with family plans, annual discounts, student offers, and individual bundles.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music revamped as Amazon Prime Music, is available for free to all Prime members. In January 2020, the service reached over 55 million subscribers worldwide. Even members have to pay an extra amount to access the extended music library. Amazon Music creates playlists based on the user's current listening habits.

Things to consider before jumping into music streaming app development

Here are a few things that you might want to consider when building a music streaming app. We have listed them in the following section for your convenience. Learn about them and discuss the same with your music streaming app development company in the USA or wherever you plan to outsource.

Types of music streaming apps

One of the first pointers we want to discuss here is the types of music streaming apps. There are broadly two types of music apps you can build to engage your users and make money.

  1. On-demand music streaming app: Such apps come with a music library that gives users access to unlimited music streaming, either free or via paid subscription plans. When users opt for Amazon Music HD, they unlock up to 50 million files streamed at 850 kbps. Once users become subscribers, they don't have to pay extended costs for individual songs/albums/music. Famous examples include Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and Spotify. There are music streaming services that offer app content storage on the cloud to store and manage your media files like SoundCloud.

  2. Radio stations: Radio apps offer live radio stations, on-air programs, curated lists, artist-centric lists, and genre playlists. Radio station apps don't allow users to select specific tracks but rather play songs on different stations. Users, however, can create a preferred station based on genres, artists, music bands, or albums. Popular radio apps are iHeartRadio and Pandora.

Target audience & region

So you got a brilliant idea of creating a music streaming app for music lovers, but the idea stuck with you only to fizzle out in the end if you don't know whom to target and where? You can kick off the process by groundwork on selecting a region (place, city, country), conducting niche market research, and analyzing the target audience's behavior. Music streaming is a generalized concept, and you can't tailor the content to the preferences of a single user. Here, you need to upload all the music genres and styles for your app's success. Comprehension of them will bring both billions of users and money in the long run.

Music has no boundaries, but it is your choice to target an audience of a particular region or reach thousands of users globally. Making your app globally available is not a bad idea if you have enough funds, a talented team, and a competitive edge to beat the high competition from big brands like Spotify, SoundCloud, etc.

On the other hand, targeting a limited audience or setting up a region could be time-saving. It will ease in defining factors affecting the development of a music streaming app and its features according to the audience like language, music collection, storage, audience segment, etc.

The choice is yours!

How to get legal access before going live?

Take a deep breath! Getting a license and applying all the laws to offer music to users is like a bed of thrones before moving forward with music streaming app development. It's not like downloading an app from the app store or watering your plants, so they develop quickly. Please check the following section to get the paid license for streaming digital music.

Music licenses are divided into two categories:

  • A sound recording label is needed for a distributor such as Sony Music
  • For Creators, a Songwriter or Composer license is required

Overall, your app must apply for a public music license; otherwise, it will violate copyright laws. For general performance licenses in the United States, you'll need to contact an organization like ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC.

Monetizing strategy: How can you make money?

Explore ways you can generate revenue from your mobile app so you don't find yourself in the midst of anywhere after a year or so past project completion.

  1. Freemium

  2. Freemium is a combination strategy of Free music and Paid Music. After launching an app, you have to build a strong relationship by offering a free version, trials, and then in-app purchases for further access.

    The free version offers limited music access, free streaming, fixed song downloads, and a downloaded playlist that can only resume via Internet connectivity.

    In the premium version, there's no free lunch; it offers a variety of subscription plans. Several primary and advanced features could be available like unlimited access to soundtracks, podcast streaming, unlimited downloads, offline music, personal recommendations, auto-suggestion mode, exclusive music content, and no-ads app version multi-platform access.

  3. Advertisements

  4. As we have mentioned, music streaming apps have a high retention rate and billions of free signups, attracting more advertisers.

    Advertisements provide additional income depending on the user's response to music streaming ads. An app developer can add ads at various app interfaces and between the songs. Spotify created an accessible CRM tool for businesses, so advertisers could choose where to add the ads and track the performance of the ads afterward.

Challenges to creating a music streaming app

Opportunities come with their challenges, and the same is the case with developing music streaming apps.

Creating a unique piece of music needs separate copyright, and every streaming requires a variety of paid legal licenses. You need an author's permission to present music to your users.

Public Performance Rights - Applying the Freemium business model, the money you are receiving through online payment portals should obtain Public Performance Rights from national agencies of music distribution.

Paid Licenses - The music collection on your app depends on how much you can pay for it. You need to secure at least two types of licenses - Musical Composition and Sound Recording License. The first one gives you rights to overall music tracks created by the author during a particular period, and another one means that you have a right to use a specific song on your app.

App Promotion - Marketing is the other non-tech challenge. Consider working on a monetization model and marketing campaigns for effective promotion and brand awareness.

Features of music streaming app

Listing down app features is essential for your development team to develop the intended product and help you estimate the music streaming app development cost. It is crucial to distinguish between the essential app features and the advanced/optional features and which ones you should integrate into the first release.

Let's see the essential ones first that you can integrate into your music streaming app.

  • Registration via social apps: Social signup is one of the great options for account creation, but you can also make it available along with the standard email-based account creation or mobile device-based account creation.

  • In-app search: A good search gives a speedy and convenient interface experience where your users can listen to their favorite playlist in a few taps. It would be best to be very careful while integrating filters like artists' names, music genre, launch year, and mood category, and switch on auto-suggestion covers, what next to suggest based on their previous searches. Auto-recommendation adds users to connect with the app.

  • Audio streaming: The bottom line is integrating a quick and intuitive music streaming format to deliver media files instantly to listeners. The navigation buttons of the audio player should be in the right place.

  • Create your playlist: This feature will let users have personalized music libraries by creating and editing playlists as per their choice and mood.

  • Follow your music: It is one of the primary features that allows users to follow their favorite music genres, musicians, and bands. The user follows their own set of music whenever there will be an update in the same, and the user can get a notification about it.

  • Push notifications: This feature is beneficial to the app because it notifies users about new music releases, app updates, and more. It is an excellent approach to ensure that everyone is up to date on what's new in the app.

  • Social sharing: Integration of this feature allows users to share the curated playlists with their friends and contacts via social networks. It can be a ground-breaking feature in terms of audience participation and attracting the attention of other music fans.

  • Offline access to downloaded music: Mostly, in music streaming apps, like Apple Music, this feature is accessible to premium subscribers only. Users want to listen to music whenever and wherever they go, whether they have Internet connectivity or not - paving the way for customer loyalty and allowing users to feel connected with the brand.

  • Uploading music: This feature allows users to upload media files into the music app, so they have access to those files across devices. For Example - SoundCloud enables users to upload, promote and share their audio files with listeners of the app. Make sure to integrate all audio file formats, i.e., mp3, m4p, mp4, and m4a (lossless) for a seamless listening experience.

How much does it cost to develop a music streaming application?

Because your budget includes promotional charges, licensing your material, and establishing integrated technologies for distributing and playing audio files, streaming music app development is more expensive than most health monitoring, carpooling, or dating applications. A budget for app development could be divided into numerous categories:

Idea validation and market research - You need a team of analysts, industry experts, and marketing specialists to validate your startup idea, list features, and budget planning on promotion and development.

UX/UI design - Hiring creative and experienced designers will help you build a unique user interface, data architecture, intuitive streaming format, and correct integration of features.

Development and testing stage - Separate budget for in-house or outsourcing development teams like back-end developers, Android/IOS developers, and Quality Assurance managers.

App promotion & legal support - Large funds will be invested in advertising and marketing campaigns. For legal advice and acquiring all types of licensing, you need to hire a copyright lawyer.

Client manager and maintenance team - You need to hire account managers providing 24/7 support to your users, solve subscription issues, etc. An app requires continual updates and fixing problems; for that, you need a full-time dedicated maintenance team.

Final thoughts on creating customized music streaming apps

The music industry is a great place to start if you want to tap into a fast-growing app development market — music streaming services, to be precise. Even though the industry is fragmented among huge competitors, there are still many untapped niches that might meet the needs of a large number of clients. There is still a lot of room for expansion—a streaming service, to be precise.

It appears that there will be no justification against investing in music streaming app development in the following decade! We can only suggest that you plan your startup's debut properly and consider marketing difficulties beforehand.

Happy World Music Day!


Assim Gupta

Swetha GP linkedin-icon-squre

VP of Delivery

She is a VP of Delivery at Closeloop. A communicator, business analyst, and engineering aficionado. Besides handling client relations, and engineering duties, she loves to pour her thoughts on paper. She writes about engineering, technologies, frameworks, and everything related to the software domain. She reads, spends time with family, and enjoys a good walk in nature in her free time. Her dream destination is Greece.

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