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23 August, 2021

How to Build a Podcast App: The Ultimate Guide for Startups

Podcasting became a valuable source of knowledge and entertainment. There are plenty of applications that help people record and share podcasts as well as listen to them. If you want to enter this business area, our guide is for you.

Mitya Smusin

Chief Executive Officer

It can be difficult to identify the very first podcast creators with specificity, but many believe it was Adam Curry and Dave Winer. They started delivering this type of content in 2004, and at the time they had few if any competitors. That was only the start, though. Today, podcasting is one of the trendiest industries among content creators. For some, it has become even more profitable than their primary occupation. A great example here is Joe Rogan, whose podcast earns approximately $30 million annually.

One shouldn’t be too surprised by the growth in the global community of podcasters. The Apple Podcasts service alone has more than 500,000 productions on its roster. The number of episodes grows constantly, and in many cases their audiences are vast.

The demand for good podcasting apps has increased proportionately. Creators want to share their knowledge and experience with their audiences, which in turn expect 24/7 access.

If you decide to address the needs of both sides and create a podcasting application that will benefit creators and listeners alike, our guide will help you organize your thoughts and transform your concept into reality. First, let’s find out what a successful podcasting app looks like.

What is a podcast, and why does it gain popularity? 

The term “podcast” consists of two words: iPod and broadcast. So, the term initially referred to a broadcast that one could enjoy on an iPod. Today, however, the word “podcasting” has broader implications. It refers to the distribution of digital audio files via the Internet for availability on multiple platforms. People can listen as their favorite podcasts are debuted, or they can save one or more episodes for playback at a later time. 

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📌One reason that podcasting is so popular is that it’s easy to start doing it. If you have something to share with this world, basically all it takes to do so is a microphone and perhaps another person with whom to converse. Record your dialog, edit it to improve the overall quality, and then publish it. If you’ve done things appropriately, you’ll find listeners. To keep the audience happy and growing, remember to update your episodes regularly. 

📌Another reason is the range of choice. People talk about everything: music, movies, culture, politics, history, video games, philosophy, and even their personal lives. The listener can then choose a topic or an episode according to his or her mood and interests. In podcasting, the demand is constant and limitless. For example, there’s a podcast where two sisters reread Harry Potter and discuss the book series

📌Finally, podcasts readily integrate with our daily lives. Amid the hectic pace to which almost everyone is subject, the audio format demonstrates its ability to entertain, inform and intrigue listeners. For some of us who barely have time to read books or watch TV, the podcast is an ideal solution. 

Podcasts are available on all kinds of smart devices in addition to desktops. Consequently, their popularity continues to rise.

Types of podcasts

If we pause to consider what people listen to, we can discern four main program types of podcasts: conversational, monolog, storytelling, and repurposed:

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The conversational type is precisely that: talk. It can be organized in several ways:

  • Interviews

Interviews usually take the form of a chat between a guest and one or two hosts. The guest could, for example, be an expert in a certain field or a famous person with interesting life stories to tell. Thus, the interviewer(s) should conduct a bit of research on the guest and the topic to ask the right questions. Doing so will bring up more stories, insights, and opinions. A good example here is Queery with Cameron Esposito.

  • Co-hosting

A co-hosted podcast involves two people who discuss topics and news, particularly developments in their chosen subject area. This gives it the flavor of a traditional radio show. Sure, they can include guests too. If you have a friend who shares your interests and is easy to talk with, you can try it out. The Unsolicited Advice podcast works like that.

  • Roundtable

A round-table, or panel, podcast features multiple hosts who engaged in specific topics. This type is less stressful for the participants because the responsibility for input is spread over the group. Consider the podcast series How Did This Get Made, which is devoted to movies. 

The monologue is hosted by one person who expresses views and insights on certain matters. Generally, the host--an expert in a specific field—will share his or her thoughts with the public. Because it’s just you as the host and expert, there’s almost nothing to hinder you. However, you should have sufficient expertise to launch many episodes, as did Stephen West when he launched the series Philosophize This!

Storytelling is another popular kind of podcast, and obviously, there’s a huge audience of people who love a good tale. This approach is often used by journalists or true-crime fans who describe the investigation process. My Favorite Murder works like that: Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark conduct heavy research and tell their listeners everything that is known about a given case. 

The repurposed type is a good choice if you have a huge backlog of content and want to give it another chance. You can convert your segments into audio format and create a series of episodes. Doing so will expand your range of content so that you can access a wider audience. Trevor Noah, the popular comedian and TV host, transforms The Daily Show into audio format for repurposing as a podcast.

Let’s see what the podcast market looks like and why creating a podcast app can be so beneficial.

The market at a glance

Podcasting won the hearts and minds of people throughout the world, but the COVID pandemic has made the modern podcast even more valuable. Over the many months of quarantine, isolation, and restricted public access, the podcast has helped encourage a sense of normalcy. Various statistics help convey the dynamics of the podcast market: 

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What are the most popular podcast streaming apps?

The market of podcasting apps already has several major players, which occupy most of the market share:

🎙️ Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts is one of the most popular podcasting apps, with more than 1 million downloads in Play Market and App Store. However, after a 2019 redesign, many users complained about the unclear interface. Some people left the app and others continue to use it, but the update significantly decreased the overall rating for Pocket Casts.

🎙️ Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts

These two apps are produced by Apple and Google, respectively, for their own ecosystems. Both are simple and easy to use, and both synchronize well with their operating systems. They have enough podcasts for a wide range of audiences, so it’s no surprise that people love them.

🎙️ Spotify

Originally, Spotify was developed as a platform for musicians who wanted to share their creative work. Today, however, podcasts are as popular as music. Spotify is cross-platform, and it’s positively received b Android and iOS users.

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Benefits of Podcast App Development

If you still have doubts about creating your own app for podcasts, we’ll explain the benefits it has for you and your audience.

1. It’s a great marketing tool

A podcasting app will help you cover a wide audience. Because it isn’t always practical to watch an entire video or pay attention to a long text, the audio format is a perfect solution. It empowers your video channel or text blog and can fill a profitable business niche.

2. It builds trust with the audience

Besides making more money, podcasts can help you build a warmer relationship with your audience. If you lead your podcast, people will become familiar with your voice, your manner of speech, and the content you provide.

3. It unites people

If you decide to build a podcast app dedicated to a specific topic, it will soon gather a community of listeners. Whether it’s discussing movies or selling luxury cars, people will come to your app for insights and advice.

A podcast app and its essential features

We already know about the most popular apps and the types of podcasts they host. Now it’s time to look under the hood of a typical podcast streaming app and point out the important features that your audience will want.

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  • Main screen

This is the first screen that the app’s user encounters. On this screen, podcasts can be organized by genres, popularity, or creators, making it easy for the user to choose.

  • Recommendations

This section can appear later on the main screen. Based on the user’s activity and favorite podcasts, the app can offer similar kinds of content.

  • Podcast and episode search

If the users came for a certain podcast or topic, they should be able to look for it. Moreover, they should be able to quickly and easily navigate among the episodes in a given podcast.

  • Media player

With the help of simple “play/pause,” “rewind” and “next episode” buttons, users can smoothly navigate the audio track and listen to the parts they need or like.

  • Subscribing

Users should be able to subscribe to podcasters and the podcasts they like in order not to miss new episodes.

  • Downloading episodes

Generally, users aren’t able to listen to podcasts online all the time. The ability to download selected episodes and listen offline is a nice option.

  • Custom playlists

Users should be able to build playlists of podcast episodes from different podcasts. It helps them create a comfortable listening queue.

  • User profile

The user profile helps keep all of a user’s favorite podcasts in one place. Additionally, the information provided by users will help you create a more personalized experience.

  • Managing podcasts

Podcast creators should be able to upload new episodes, manage older ones, create separate albums, and add descriptions.

Steps in the development of a podcast app

Here’s an efficient, four-step strategy for podcast app development. It will help you create an application that encompasses your needs and the expectations of your audience:

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Step 1: Know what’s already in the market

Before jumping into the development process, it’s wise to take a closer look at your most prominent competitors and see what they’ve done to build success. In the process, you’ll notice what audience needs still aren’t addressed and what niche is still available.

Step 2: Define the project

When the market is analyzed, you can build a more or less whole picture of your future podcast app. At this stage, you should describe the project’s specification: what features the app will have, which platforms you’ll launch it on and how it will make money. Remember to plan your budget, too. Building such an image will help you and your team understand the project’s ultimate goal.

Step 3: Hire an experienced team

If you already have enough specialists with the necessary skills, you can assign the project to them. If you don’t, it will be wise to partner with a trusted development agency. When all of the official processes are complete and the workflow is organized, development can begin.

Step 4: Design

Design is a powerful thing. Even if every other aspect of your podcast app works perfectly, people still reject it if the design is unattractive or unwieldy. Every aspect of the app should be part of a mutual alignment so as to ensure the best possible user experience.

Step 5: Develop

Depending on the functionality you want to implement, there can be different technologies used on a project. In this case, we are advocates of native development. It will help tailor the app to the platform more accurately. When the main development is done, a cross-review process and the right testing will polish your podcast app.

Step 6: Probe the market

We strongly recommend that you start with a minimum viable product (MVP). A full podcast app is complicated, having a lot of technical parts to take into account. An MVP will save the day here: You can safely test the water and decide whether you want to continue the project. If the feedback on your MVP is great, feel free to proceed.

Step 7: Scaling up

When all of the previous stages have been met and the feedback from an MVP has been assessed, you can continue updating the application according to the needs of your audience.

How much does it cost to build a podcast streaming app?

This is a challenging question because a variety of factors will influence the final development cost:

  • The project’s final stage, i.e., an MVP or a full application

  • The list of desired features

  • The developer’s rate

  • The tech stack

  • Third-party integrations

  • Post-launch maintenance

The most influential variable will be the hourly rate, which is dependent on the team’s location. For example, U.S. specialists will cost $100 to $120 per hour, whereas Eastern European companies will cost $40 to $60 per hour. Summing it up, the cost of developing a podcast app will range from $10,000 to $50,000.

Podcast app monetization strategies 

A podcast app can make money on the basis of subscriptions, a one-time payment, in-app purchases, and in-app ads.

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📌Subscriptions

Subscriptions can be weekly, monthly, or yearly. This monetization model is considered the most stable way to make money, and many apps use it. Still, we wouldn’t recommend it for a podcast application. There are plenty of free apps and podcasts that users can choose from, so a subscription-based service couldn’t compete.

📌A one-time payment

This mode is self-explanatory: A user pays the moment they download the app. It may also be somewhat inefficient if your app doesn’t have something exclusive that merits payment in advance.

📌In-app purchases or premium content

This is a productive way to earn money from a podcasting app. You can charge a fee not for a whole app but for parts of it. Give users access to lists of top podcasts or premium podcasters. Also, if your app or podcasters accrue enough popularity, you can organize a merch shop.

📌In-app advertisements

You can play the audio ads of your sponsors between the episodes of podcasts. Another approach is to show images or short videos to users from time to time. Don’t be too obvious, though. Users don’t like to be distracted from the app’s main purpose. 

A final thought

The podcast has become one of the most popular ways to acquire new knowledge and get insights on some matters. Even giants like Spotify and Apple are investing in the technology and have given users the ability to create and listen to podcasts.

Creating a podcast app may be resource-consuming and complicated. However, with the help of an expert development team, your podcast app will be successful in the marketplace.

🎙️ What is a podcast?

A podcast is a digital audio file that’s distributed online and available for multiple platforms. People can listen to files right away or save episodes for later.

🎙️ What do people talk about in them?

Basically, they cover everything. Podcasts range from two-person discussions of true crime stories to one person remaking their YouTube videos. Every possible topic is valid.

🎙️ How can a podcast app benefit me?

With a podcasting app, it’s easy to enhance your marketing, build trusting relationships with the audience and create a strong community.

🎙️ What should a podcast app include?

The must-have features are a main screen, recommendations, search, a media player, subscription button, downloading, custom playlists, user profiles, and the ability to manage podcasts.

Tags
How-to
Podcast
Software development

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