Open Source music
If you’re a programmer, it’s likely you’ve encountered terms like Open Source programming and projects made using it. You may have also encountered platforms such as Git and GitHub that promote and help facilitate Open Source programming.
The basic idea behind it is that companies or individuals can start IT Projects and programmers from around the world who are interested in contributing to that project can join in and start coding. Simple yet effective, both for the organization, which will have more people working on and contributing to their project and for the programmer, who will hopefully have more knowledge and experience by the end of it.
My idea is to launch an app that combines Open Source development with music. SpaceJunk will create a strong community of music producers who will come together to create impactful projects.
Users can sign up to SpaceJunk for free and can either start their own project or enroll themselves in someone else’s project. Users who choose to start their own project will mention the basic idea behind the project- things like musical genre, inspiration, basic album/song structure, and other details. This will result in the project being published on the platform, and users can search for it based on the specifics inputted, the publisher, and the project name. People looking to enroll themselves in projects can apply for projects based on their interest and publishers can recruit them based on their requirements.
The cherry on the cake will be the fact that down the line, as the platform gains recognition, entertainment companies and music labels will be able to review and sign some of the best projects as a part of their labels, giving independent artists a pathway into the industry.
The app will also contain a Blog section and a Workshop section. Registered artists will be able to write and publish blogs, and registered companies/SpaceJunk will be providing webinars or workshops on relevant topics.
The Business plan-
If we look around us, the ladder for aspiring musicians is quite steep. Be it learning the basics of music production and mixing, getting to know other artists, and mostly getting recognized in the industry- all these require luck more than talent and hard work. That is why, SpaceJunk will have a great demand among young aspiring musicians who are looking to showcase their talent.
The present market for music production apps includes Garageband, Rhapsody, Napster, etc. None of these platforms provide a service where artists can come together in a collaborative manner to make projects. SpaceJunk’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it provides a platform where producers have the opportunity to help each other, learn from each other, and get recognized in the industry.
The target customers for the product, as mentioned above, will be musicians, producers, and artists who are either looking to learn more in their respective fields, or make a project of their own, or looking to get recognized in the industry. The age bracket will be on the younger side, about 15–30 years old. The older folks in the music industry will either have established themselves with ample knowledge or will not be comfortable with using new-age computer applications.
The technical skills required for the product are mostly app development skills. This includes proficiency in Java(for the Android version), and Swift(for the IOS version). These languages are best suited for app development and UI designing for these platforms. We will have to know the specifics of how to enter the app into the App Store and Play Store. The service will have in-app purchases for the removal of ads and industry access, so knowledge of AdSense or AdMob will be required. Cloud computing software such as Microsoft Azure will be required to deploy and manage the app. To ensure the security of users that have registered, software like OAuth will be helpful as far as password and login security are concerned.
For a platform like ours, an app (maybe coupled with a website somewhere down the line) will be the best solution. It does not require any hardware components since music production will be completely software-based. Moreover, a social media app-like environment will work best for collaborative projects.
A complex app of this nature that includes music development, which requires constant bug fixing and maintenance, user logins and interaction, community building, AI tools for recommendations, and much more, would cost anywhere between $75,000-$150,000 just for development.
The development team comprising of a Project manager, programmers, UI/UX designers, a software engineer, and a back-end developer, would operate at upwards of $90–100 per hour. The app design for more complex apps such as Facebook or Swiggy costs around $20–25,000. User logins, which will be an essential part of our community and user interaction, take costs anywhere around a thousand dollars. UI/UX features such as switching between pages (in this case, the development page, the ongoing projects page, the workshop page, company portfolio page, and the search bar), media features such as interactive emoticons or pictures and marketing videos cost us around $1,500. We will be running ads for free users. The implementation of this will cost around $2,000, while the in-app purchase feature and payment integration features will cost $4,000-$7,000. Setting up a strong, secure, and reliable database will be one of the topmost priorities of the developers. In order to implement this, we would take the help of open source (no pun intended) options such as SQLite and it would cost us somewhere around $1,000. On top of this, around 20% of the total app development cost will be spent on the annual maintenance of the platform.
There will be multiple revenue generators for our business. First and foremost will be the ads. Users who sign up for free will have ads being run on the app. They will also not have access to hiring opportunities for their projects. In order to get rid of ads and get industry recognition opportunities, users will have to purchase monthly or yearly subscriptions. The monthly subscription will be at $20 and the annual subscription will be at $200.
The marketing strategy for our platform will be very comprehensive. Initially, in order to get the attention of young budding musicians, we will run ads on online music and streaming platforms such as YouTube and Spotify. We will also personally contact musicians and producers from platforms such as Linkedin or email them via their YouTube/Instagram contact info. Once we are recognized among youngsters and have built a successful and active community on our platform, we will start getting in touch with industry professionals and label officials. We will tell them about our platform and show them some of the best work our community has built. We will tell them the potential such a platform has for the industry and try our best to make sure they get involved.
There are various risks involved with launching such an app. Firstly the raw cost of building such a complex app, which includes complicated UI/UX components, massive database management, constant app maintenance, and privacy and security features could simply be too high. This cost might take a longer time than expected to cover and for the app to start making profits. It will be a gradual process of community building that will trigger an upward curve of revenue and growth. The biggest challenge will be the community building itself. If we are unable to reach the right audience and get young musicians interested in our platform, the whole objective of the app will be destroyed. Moreover, industry access will not be possible. Hence, it is of topmost priority to smart PR and outreach in order to make this business a success. Memory and Cloud management might also prove to be a hurdle. We will have to store massive amounts of data, update it in a live stream manner based on the progress of the artists, and keep it secure. This will require large manpower, resources, and cost.
The timeline for the app and the business will be rapid, while giving enough time for things to go smoothly. Too much time can’t be taken mainly because the stipend for the development team will become too high to bear. The idea and the business plan is ready, so the brainstorming stage should not take more than 3–4 days. This will be followed by the UI/UX components and app designing which will take up to 10weeks pertaining to the fact that this app will contain complex design for its various sections and features. The back-end and front-end development will take about 8–10 weeks each. It will require work such as installing and/or creating music-making, editing, and producing software. Developing a database, could software, and other additional features. The last part, that is, testing and launching will take an additional 3–4 weeks. After that, it’ll simply be a waiting game of PR to build a community and make this a success!