How to Build a Karaoke App?
Impressed by the popularity of Smule, and wondering how to create a Karaoke app? Entertainment apps are really popular, consequently, Karaoke apps enjoy a huge fan following. Are you an entrepreneur planning to tap into this market? You‘ve got to read this guide, where I explain how to build a Karaoke app!
The market for entertainment apps
Karaoke apps are in the category of entertainment apps, and this category has a growing market. The following statistics give a clearer picture of this market:
- As of September 2018, entertainment apps were the 5th most popular category, as this Statista report
- 153 million Americans used the YouTube mobile app in October 2018, while the Netflix mobile app attracted 46 million Americans in the same month. Read “Most popular mobile music and video apps in the United States as of October 2018, by monthly users (in millions)” for more information.
- At the time of writing, over 100 million Android users have downloaded Smule, a popular Karaoke app.
Popular Karaoke apps
A review of the following popular Karaoke apps will help you to understand how a Karaoke app works.
Smule is one of the most popular Karaoke apps. It offers the following features:
- Users can access a wide range of songs, and sing along.
- They can collaborate with their friends across the world and make music videos.
- There is a free version of the app, and then there is a premium version.
- Smule offers web, Android, and iOS apps.
- They offer in-app purchases.
Another popular app, Red Karaoke is available on the web, Android, iOS, and several smart TV platforms. Red Karaoke has the following features:
- Users can check out a large number of songs.
- In-app purchases, user sign-up, and enabling Karaoke singing with friends are some of their other key features.
StarMaker is yet another popular Karaoke app. Their notable features are as follows:
- They have a large collection of music to choose from.
- StarMaker Karaoke app is available on Android and iOS.
- Users can record their songs with a range of voice effects.
- One can enjoy Karaoke singing with friends.
- The app offers in-app purchases.
What features should you offer in a Karaoke app?
Now that you know how a Karaoke app works, let‘s see what features it should have. You should incorporate the following features:
- You should offer a large collection of songs to your users, preferably across several genres.
- Users should be able to record a video solo, or with their friends.
- High-quality video streaming is important.
- The app should offer in-app purchases and payment gateway integration.
- The app should feature user sign-up and push notifications.
- You should offer your app on the web, Android, and iOS platforms, to start with.
- An attractive “User Interface” (UI) is important.
You can read “Top 15 best free Karaoke apps for Android and iOS” to understand why these features are important.
The steps to build a Karaoke app
We now take a detailed look at how to make a Karaoke app. Such a project involves the following steps:
1. Agree on a project scope
I suggest the following scope for this project:
- Web app development;
- Android app development;
- iOS app development.
You should include the features I have suggested.
2. Choose a project methodology
After launching an initial version in the market, you will likely add features based on the market response. You might even want to target smart TV platforms or expand into other geographies.
Such projects are good candidates for Agile methodology, and you can read “Waterfall vs Agile: which methodology is right for your project” to understand why. We call the initial version a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) in the Agile parlance.
3. Onboard a project team
Your project team needs the following roles:
- Business analysts (BAs);
- UI designers;
- Web developers with experience in Node.js;
- Android developers with Kotlin expertise;
- iOS developers with Swift skills;
- A project manager (PM).
I recommend that the PM manages this project using the “Scrum” technique, which is useful for Agile projects. Here, the iterations are called “Sprints”, and the PM acts as the “Scrum master”.
The scrum master forms cross-functional, small teams that are called “Scrum teams”. You can consult our guide “How to build a Scrum development team?” for more insights.
4. Prepare a development strategy
Your development strategy for this project should comprise the following:
- You should use managed cloud services providers. This will enable you to focus on the development, and you won‘t get bogged down with infrastructure management.
- Consider using market-leading “Software Development Kits”(SDKs) and “Application Programming Interfaces” (APIs) for key features like accessing music, streaming, video recording, in-app purchase, payment gateway integration, etc. This way, you don‘t “reinvent the wheel”.
5. Procure managed cloud services for web app development
Several noted managed cloud services providers offer “Platform as a Service” (PaaS) for web app development. I recommend that you use one since it offers the following advantages:
- PaaS providers manage the entire gamut of cloud infrastructure, including servers, networking, storage, etc.
- They provide the operating system (OS), middleware, and runtime environment. This enables you to focus on coding.
- PaaS providers offer “Application Performance Monitoring” (APM), auto-scaling, DevOps, databases, and several other services.
- You can easily integrate 3rd party APIs with your app when you a PaaS platform.
Our guide “10 top PaaS providers for 2019” explains these advantages in detail. AWS has impressive cloud capabilities, therefore, I recommend that you use AWS Elastic Beanstalk, i.e., their PaaS offering.
6. Get managed cloud services for the mobile app backend
The development and ongoing management of mobile backend take time and energy, however, you can use a “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) to simplify this. MBaaS providers offer many advantages, e.g.:
- They handle the cloud infrastructure fully, including networking, server, and persistent storage.
- Scaling your Karaoke app will be easier with an MBaaS platform.
- You can easily implement features like user management, security, and push notifications if you use an MBaaS platform.
- Integrating 3rd party APIs, and managing the complexity due to various mobile platforms and devices become easier with an MBaaS platform.
Read “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?” to learn more about these advantages. You can use AWS Amplify, which is the MBaaS offering from AWS. You need only one AWS account to use Amplify and Elastic Beanstalk. You also don‘t need to hire mobile backend developers and cloud platform architects.
7. Sign-up for Spotify SDKs/APIs
You need to provide a wide range of songs to your users. Spotify is a good solution. They offer the following features and advantages:
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- Spotify features a large collection of songs.
- Audio analysis, playback, recommendations, search, playlists, etc. are some of their other features.
- Your developers can use the Spotify web API for web app development.
- Spotify offers an Android SDK, and there is an iOS SDK.
8. Procure video recording SDKs/APIs
Users of your app will record videos of their song, moreover, they might collaborate with their friends for Karaoke. This requires an appropriate video recording solution at scale. I recommend that you use video recording SDKs/APIs from Twilio. You can get the following features and advantages:
- Twilio video recording platform offers video recording, peer-to-peer collaboration, group rooms, screen sharing, and several other useful features.
- Sign-up for the Twilio video platform here.
- You can check out their pricing plans here.
9. Buy a cloud streaming solution
When you create a Karaoke app, you need a high-quality, low-latency cloud streaming solution. Wowza is a good choice for this, due to the following reasons:
- Wowza Streaming Cloud offers high-quality and low-latency video streaming.
- They also offer Wowza GoCoder SDKs for Android and iOS for free with their cloud streaming solution.
Their pricing plans are here.
10. Get an eCommerce solution
You need an eCommerce solution to implement the in-app purchase feature. Shopify is an excellent choice, offering the following advantages:
- Shopify SDKs and APIs enable you to incorporate the entire range of eCommerce features.
- You can get their Android and iOS SDKs here.
- You can easily sign-up for the Shopify SDKs/APIs here.
- Shopify offers extensive documentation for their SDKs and APIs, and you can find it here.
11. Sign-up with a payment gateway provider
- Their online payment solution offers features like fraud protection, data security, reporting, etc.
- Users can use a card or PayPal.
- There is a detailed integration guide, moreover, you can access their tutorials.
12. Buy a bulk SMS solution
Engaging the users of your Karaoke app is important, and you need a bulk SMS solution for that. I recommend that you use Twilio, as follows:
- You can sign-up for their “Programmable SMS” offering.
- Read their detailed documentation here.
- Check out their pricing plans here.
13. Web app development
Scalability and streaming are two key requirements of a Karaoke app. Node.js facilitates these, therefore, it‘s a great choice for web app development. There are other advantages too, e.g.:
- A large and growing developer community has created many sharable tools and frameworks for this open-source runtime environment. This improves developer productivity.
Read “10 great tools for Node.Js software development” to learn more about the advantages of Node.js.
Proceed with web app development, as follows:
- Use database resources according to your requirements. You can read “Adding a database to your Elastic Beanstalk environment” to learn how to do this.
- Integrate Twilio video, Twilio SMS, Braintree payment gateway, Shopify eCommerce, Spotify, and Wowza streaming cloud in the app.
- Test, and deploy the web app. Consult “Deploying Node.js applications to AWS Elastic Beanstalk” for guidance.
14. The mobile app UI design
You need to design an appealing UI for the mobile app, therefore, focus on the following aspects:
- Menu design: You can get guidance in “Mobile navigation menu examples”.
- Color schemes: Our guide “8 trends in mobile app color scheme” can help here.
- Designing icons for the mobile app: Check out “How to design the perfect icon for your mobile app?” for guidance.
15. Use Kotlin to develop the Android app
Android developers are increasingly using the modern programming language Kotlin, and I recommend that you do so too. Kotlin offers several advantages, e.g.:
- The concise syntax of this open-source language reduces coding effort.
- Kotlin is fully interoperable with Java and uses Java libraries.
- Apps coded in Kotlin are fast since Kotlin library is lightweight.
- Maintaining apps written is Kotlin is easier.
- The language helps developers prevent common errors like null pointer exception.
I have explained these and more advantages of Kotlin in “Kotlin vs Java: which is the best choice?”.
16. Develop, test, and deploy the Android app
Android app development involves the following:
- Use Android Studio, which is the popular “Integrated Development Environment” (IDE) for Android development. It fully supports Kotlin.
- Integrate the music library, video recording, streaming, eCommerce, payment gateway, and bulk SMS SDKs/APIs in your app.
- Test your app using Android Studio, and publish it to Google Play by following this guide.
17. Code, test, and deploy the iOS app
I suggest you use Swift, the modern programming language preferred by Apple for the iOS app development. There are many advantages to this choice, e.g.:
- Apps written in Swift are fast.
- The language has powerful features like generics and operators like string concatenation. These improve the productivity of developers, moreover, bug-free coding becomes easier.
- Swift reads just like English, therefore, the code is easier to maintain.
There are more advantages to Swift, and I have described them in “How to migrate your Objective-C project to Swift?”.
Develop the iOS app as follows:
- Use Xcode as the IDE, which fully supports Swift.
- Integrate Twilio video, Twilio SMS, Wowza cloud streaming, Shopify eCommerce, Spotify music library, and Braintree payment gateway SDKs and APIs in your code.
- Test the app.
- Publish the app to the Apple App store using this guide.
18. Manage the project using effective tools
A scrum team works as follows:
- A “Product owner” provides the requirements in a document called “Product Backlog”.
- The team plans sprints by estimating and prioritizing the requirements.
- The scrum master holds a “Daily stand-up meeting” to collect the project status and resolve issues.
- Business users approve a sprint when the product works as expected, in a “Sprint review meeting”.
You need to use an effective PM tool to manage these key activities. Trello is a great choice.
Strategize well before your launch a Karaoke app
You might have a great app idea, however, a project to create a Karaoke app could be complex. Additionally, future expansion into smart TV platforms will involve more complexity. You might need to take the help of a development partner. Read “How to find the best software development company?” before you engage a partner.