How to create a music streaming app?

How we built music and video streaming apps - case study

We've recently developed two media streaming apps - ELLO and Stellium Music. Check what we learned along the process in our case study.

Written by Jarek Górny

Companies like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify or Amazon revolutionized the way we consume content, and it was possible thanks to the streaming technology. The idea was simple – instead of charging people for separate downloads (remember the early years of iTunes?), let’s give them access to many titles against a fee (i.e. monthly subscription) or at no cost, but with ads. 

When it comes to the user flow, it’s also quite straightforward. The publisher puts the content on its servers and allows users to watch it or listen to it on their devices, without having to wait for the whole download.

Although vinyl and cassettes made a significant comeback due to “warmer” analog sound and nostalgia, the domination of physical music distribution is long gone. CDs have become more of a collectible, rather than a way of listening to music. The era of streaming is even more evident when it comes to video content. Who wants to buy or rent physical copies of a movie if the best possible quality is available at the same price or cheaper on almost any device, 24/7?

Streaming is definitely here to stay, but the market potential is still huge. That’s why we took the opportunity to develop two streaming apps targeted at the Russian-speaking countries – ELLO and Stellium Music.

The market

Media streaming accounts for 80% of the music industry’s revenue in the US (Recording Industry Association of America) and 63.3% in the UK (BPI). These are the leading music markets in the world and the trend seems to be spreading to the rest of the world.

In Russia, there are 109.6 million Internet users and they spend 6 hours and 29 minutes online on average – merely 2 minutes less than US users (We Are Social). There are 19 million users of music streaming services with the revenue of US $ 142 m at the year on year growth of 3% (Statista). Streaming comprised 81% of the total recorded music revenue (IFPI report), leaving the major markets (in terms of volume) behind. 

Although Spotify and Apple Music are the biggest players, there’s a local company that’s making incredible progress, not only on the music front Yandex Music doubled its number of paying subscribers from 1 to 2 million within one year. 

In this context, it’s worth mentioning that according to SimilarWeb, 5 out of 10 most frequently visited websites belong to Russian companies. As the Russian market is relatively specific compared to the US or the EU one, many global services have their local counterparts – Yandex is the “Russian Google” (also Uber and, as mentioned above, Spotify) and VK – Facebook. Such a situation leaves a niche for other brands with business models that adapt better to the Russian-speaking markets.

Case study – ELLO

The idea behind ELLO was to make discovering new music videos as easy as possible. Videos can be added to favourites and shared with friends. The app was designed to work equally well with both weak and strong internet connections.

ELLO streaming app

First steps

The app is ready to go right after the installation. In the main screen, users see the “featured” category and can swipe through the clips. Below, there are three other categories: “newest”, “trending” and “emerging”. Users can also sort the content after clicking “customize” at the top or checking for a particular artist with the search tool in the top right corner.

User account

Sign up is not required, but it unlocks the “Library” feature. Users can log in using email, Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts.


After signing up, users can add their favourite videos, artists, and playlists to a personal library. The app also shows recently watched videos.


Unlike the free version of YouTube, ELLO allows users to listen to clips with a locked screen or while using other apps. For users who don’t know exactly what they’re looking for, there’s a “browse” feature. Playlists can be generated by mood and genre. There’s also a radio-like feature called “artist’s stations”, where clips are constantly streamed by particular artists.

Business model

The app can be used free of charge, however, users are shown video adverts. There’s a commission scheme for artists – they make money from ad views and share the revenue with the publisher.

What was done by our tech team:

The music distribution cross-platform system developed for the web, iOS, and Android
Implemented sub-systems of individually composed recommendations for a user, and calculation of rating for every single video
The system is integrated with top advertising platforms, so that the app has its ability for monetization
Publishing tools designed and developed from scratch

Technology stack: PHP Symphony, Objective-C (iOS), Java (Android)

Case study – Stellium Music

A platform that benefits listeners, artists and advertisers – these three pillars summarise the plan of Stellium Music’s creators. The app has separate user flow for each group. Below, we focus on the B2C user layout.

STELLIUM streaming app

First steps

After the installation and sign-up, the app asks users about their favourite music trends. It then searches through 50 million tracks available within the database and generates personalised playlists.

User account

The registration is very simple – it requires only an email address and some basic personal information. Users can additionally add their profile pictures and different app preferences.


Besides the aforementioned questions asked upon sign-up, listeners can use a personal recommendation system called “Follow you” to customize their playlists by creating “stations”. The music can also be sorted by different genres, moods, charts and trends.


Users have access to their personal library and can preview the songs they played recently and shuffle through saved stations, playlists, tracks and videos. Each track can be liked or disliked by clicking heart or block symbol in the playback mode. In the same view, it’s possible to look through similar songs and artists. The panel at the bottom of the screen allows quick access to different sections of the app – “home”, “search”, “trends” and “library”.

When ads are played, users can reply to them with voice commands to visit promoted websites, call the company or install an app. The AI-based technology analyzes user’s responses to help maximize retention and engagement that lead to more effective conversions.

Business model

Similarly to ELLO, Stellium Music can be used free of charge, however, the owners plan to introduce paid plans. The free version contains ads that benefit both artists and advertisers.

The artists can publish audio, video, and photo assets. They can also announce any events related to their activities: concerts, performances, presentations, new branded releases, news, etc. Creators can receive feedback from their audience, as well as reports on listening and viewing stats, also by the location of the audience.

The advertisers can use a wide range of ads formats to suit their goals, whether it’s targeted coverage or a targeted action. The account provides analysis of target audience feedback, along with statistics, reports on the number of plays and views. There are also possibilities to promote content over in-app channels and social networks, as well as retarget it. 

What was done by our tech team:

• Full-cycle development of the product: web-platform and mobile apps for iOS and Android
• Development and implementation of algorithms for personal recommendations “Follow You” to enhance the user experience
• Designing and developing a fully functional admin panel for editors and content managers
• Implemented tools that give an ability to promote separate tracks, individually composed playlists, and channels of artists
• A network layer is implemented to the system to provide users with high-quality audio and video streaming
• Analytics reports, sets of indicators on a dash-board were implemented to receive an objective and instant auditory feedback

Technology stack: PHP Yii2, Swift (iOS), Kotlin (Android)

Are you planning to tap into the media streaming business? Or maybe you’d like to enhance your current services or advertising platforms with similar functionalities? Reach out to us at hello@bunch.consulting if you have a project in mind and we’ll guide you through the initial steps and prepare a rough estimate for you.

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