You wait months for a streaming music app announcement and then three come along on the same day….buses come to mind.
Deezer App Studio
Deezer have just announced the launch of a Spotify-like app platform ‘App Studio’ for third party developers and will soon also launch an ‘App Centre’ for users to discover apps. It is a welcome development from Deezer and as I have said for some time, streaming services can play an invaluable role of providing the infrastructure and music content on which third parties can then develop innovative and differentiated user experiences. Streaming itself is not a product, it is a delivery mechanism. Streaming apps turn the streaming user proposition into a rich set of products and features. Of course Spotify set the agenda here and Deezer’s announcement is almost a year to the day later than Spotify’s app announcement (read my take here on Spotify’s bid to turn music into the API). This isn’t the first time that Deezer have followed Spotify’s lead and they need to be careful they do not develop a reputation for shadowing Spotify’s strategy.
Meanwhile on Spotify’s app platform comes the launch of David Guetta’s ‘PLAY GUETTA’ app. Back when Spotify launched artist apps back in June I said that they were a great start on the rod to relevance for streaming music services and music discovery but that there was a long distance to go (which was a polite way of saying that the first wave of apps weren’t very good). The David Guetta app is a different kettle of fish altogether. Whereas the first wave of apps had an air of unfulfilled promised ‘PLAY GUETTA’ is a rich, immersive and – crucially – massively social app. As a testament to the importance of Spotify’s app ecosystem, ‘PLAY GUETTA’ is built using the Soundrop SDK, itself a Spotify app. ‘PLAY GUETTA’ demonstrates three crucial elements of value that streaming apps can deliver:
- Coalesce fan communities of likeminded fans: leveraging some of the core Soundrop functionality Guetta fans can help shape what music is played and recommended, even at a country level (see graphic).
- Create immersive experiences: apps allow streaming services to focus on the business of acquiring customers while third party developers can develop cutting edge user experiences.
- Open up the long tail: for an artist like Guetta who has an extensive back catalogue, artist apps create a fantastic opportunity for connecting fans with older material. For the consumer, because they have unlimited music access, listening to older albums is a pure added value rather than added cost, but for the artist and the label it is extra revenue.
‘PLAY GUETTA’ shows the potential of what streaming music apps can achieve.
Rdio iOS and Android Apps
The third and final streaming app announcement of the day was the launch of refreshed iOS and Android clients for Rdio. Though obviously a different type of app announcement than the previous two, Rdio deserves credit for forging their own way in the streaming space, focusing on building a differentiated user experience. Rdio do also have their own API, but they have worked hard to create a user experience that is rich and immersive out of the box.
It is perhaps a little overblown to claim that the future of streaming music depends upon apps, but be in no doubt, apps will play a major role. Expect this space to hot up in 2012.