Written by: Roshan Dwivedi
Let’s say you have a large collection of on-demand audio content but aren’t sure about how to sell it. You learnt of audio streaming services but didn’t know how to launch one.
If you thought of building your own platform, did you begin and backtrack right after? Was it the enormity of the entire process right from development to implementation that made you rethink about building a platform?
No need to worry anymore. Out there, we have some competent Over the Top (OTT) platform providers who help you launch your audio streaming service, and monetize it. You can build your platform instantly and deploy it in under 24 hours, without having to write a single line of code.
You just need to be well informed before choosing a platform provider wisely. Compiled below is a list of things to keep in mind while assessing different platform providers.
Essential features to launch Audio Streaming Platform:
- Responsive and interactive website template:
The basis of your audio streaming service is going to be how your platform looks to the user, and that can be a very decisive feature that will make or break your entire business. If a user does not like what they see, they are not going any further exploring your content. So, it’s essential to pick a solution that not only allows you to pick a template that resonates well with your brand but also is easy to edit and customize.
So, while launching your own audio streaming solution, choose a solution that offers a host of pre-built templates along with an intuitive and easy to use template editor.
An interface that is easy to work with and loads quickly is essential if you want to launch your OTT service within no time. Compare various platforms and consider the one that offers a simple drag-and-drop visual editor with several preset components. You can quickly insert these components to create a great looking user interface for your end users.
Make sure all essential functionalities are accessible with a consistent UI across user devices with varying screen sizes, resolutions, and orientation.
[ Muvi offers a fully featured website with pre built, elegant, and responsive templates that are easily accessible and viewable on various devices. ]
- Device and OS compatibility:
Your music streaming platform should be compatible with the range of music devices that you want to offer it on. End users should be able to easily install your music streaming app on various devices and on various Operating Systems. From desktops and laptops to mobiles and tabs, from Smart TVs and media boxes to car infotainment systems; a good platform should be compatible and be able to take your service to where the listeners are.
- Multi format support:
The OTT platform should technologically support multiple audio file formats such as .mp3, .wav, .aac, .flac, .ogg, .wma, .pcm, .aiff, .alac, and others. This is based on the assumption that you have audio content in these formats or plan to offer these audio formats in the future.
An important factor to consider is the amount of storage the platform provides in terms of the number of tracks and audio files that can be accommodated. Some OTT platforms charge for every GB of storage. Some others offer a basic plan with restrictions on the number of audio file uploads.
Then there are platforms such as Muvi that offer unlimited everything. You can add unlimited audio tracks, consume endless bandwidth, make unlimited transactions, and get unlimited users on board. Try Muvi.
Besides storage, bandwidth usage can also be scaled to match the listeners’ demand. It might be a good idea to assess the platform’s bandwidth capacity before choosing.
- Monetization support:
Choose an OTT platform that offers various monetization models such as Subscription, Ad supported, and Transactional or a combination of all (Hybrid).
A subscription revenue model lets you monetize your audio content on a subscription basis (usually a monthly fee) for streaming with no limits. Think of Spotify or Apple Music that offer subscription plans for access to a huge library of music content.
With the transactional revenue model, you charge your users for an individual track, or an album, or multiple albums from the same genre or artist. Instead of offering all content to all users on a subscription basis, some audio content can be offered on a one-time purchase-to-own basis.
For instance, Google Play users can purchase individual tracks and albums for a predefined amount.
You can also generate revenue from your audio content by collaborating with advertisers using the ad-supported model. Ads can be inserted either before the audio begins or may be after it has finished playing, and you can charge your advertisers for promoting on your platform or based on the number of views.
Hybrid Model: You can also use a combination of these models and create a custom made process to monetize your audio content. Generic audio content (e.g.: the original blockbuster track) can be offered on a subscription basis and niche content (e.g.: the track’s instrumental or acoustic version) can be offered on a transactional basis. Look for an OTT platform that offers this flexibility so you can optimize your revenue streams.
Once your audio platform is up, running, and famous, you would want to scale up your audio streaming business and plan to expand to other geographies. That’s when you will have to accept payments in foreign currency. So look for a platform that offers multi-currency support. Most platform providers support multi-currency. But there’s more than just currency.
For promotional activities, you will need to issue coupons and vouchers to your users. So, choose a platform provider that’s integrated with coupon engines. Choose a platform that has the ability to offer flat discounts, to add bundle purchases, and to apply coupons to bundles. Moreover, having inbuilt features such as one-time use coupons or multi-use generic coupons are superb features to have.
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- White label platform:
You definitely want to go for a white label platform. This implies your website and apps won’t have any sort of signage (e.g.: logo) of the platform provider or any of their branding. Your website should be hosted on your own domain and should reflect your logo and branding. The apps should be published onto the respective app stores using your developer ID and not that of the service provider. This adds to your platform’s credibility and allows the users to directly connect with you instead of some 3rd party provider.
- IT Infrastructure:
Make sure the platform can provide a robust IT infrastructure in terms of frontend and backend technology. Check for these essentials that provide a backbone to your OTT platform.
CDN: Enables content to be streamed quicker as the content is put in several places at the same time; hence providing great coverage to your users located anywhere in the world.
Cloud Servers: Today’s day-and-age everything is on the cloud and so should your platform as well. Ensure that the service provider relies on a powerful cloud based IT infrastructure provider to provide the necessary servers, storage and processing power required to run your audio streaming platform. The service should be able to handle millions of listeners at the same time without any latency issues and should be able to scale up with demand. Popular cloud based services such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Softlayer provide excellent SLAs ensuring your platform is up and running 99.99% of the time.
Digital Rights Management (DRM): Ensure that your platform provider offers DRM protection for all your streamable audio content. The benefit of having DRM protection is that it helps evade content piracy. You can rest assured that your platform is secure overall and you can eliminate illegitimate replication.
- Playlist and Queue:
Playlists allow tracks to be highlighted based on several parameters. As a platform owner, you can compile and offer playlists on various factors to suit the flavor of the moment. A platform should also be able to offer its listeners to custom create their own playlists. For instance, your listeners should be able to add playlists based on mood, genre, artists, bands, etc.
Your users should be able to enqueue tracks to the playlist, and tracks will play by their turn automatically. It’s a very simple yet effective feature meant to enhance user experience.
- Social sharing:
With the rise in usage of mobile devices for audio streaming it’s evident that listeners would like to share music in their social circle. So this kind of integration with social media platforms is great to have. Your listeners can share tracks or playlists with just a click of a button. Moreover, this type of sharing helps you promote your platform and attracts more traffic.
- Offline Access:
With improved WiFi connectivity and data networks being available in most regions, streaming has become quite the norm, especially for millennials. However, the ability to download tracks and listen in an offline mode is super convenient, particularly when listeners are on the go. Additionally, listeners can save on bandwidth consumption by playing offline.
The global market for music streaming is projected to reach US$ 9.7 billion by 2022 according to a research by Global Industry Analysts. This is majorly driven by streaming devices coupled with the proliferation of high-speed internet, cloud technologies and the dynamism of accessing music in the world of handheld devices. With technological advancements, audio streaming is witnessing a solid growth globally.
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So, make sure you include these features while launching your platform. Choose the right OTT provider and stay ahead in the game.
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