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How to Build a Podcast App

August 23, 2021

How to Build a Podcast App [Features, Benefits, Cost]

The world of podcasts has become a valuable source of knowledge and entertainment. If you want to enter the podcasting arena with your own mobile app, this 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. Today, podcasting is one of the trendiest industries among content creators. For some, it has become even more profitable than their primary occupation.

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.

What is a podcast? 

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.

how to build a podcast app

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.

why create a podcast app

Attract a large audience

Since it isn’t always practical to watch an entire video or pay attention to a long text, the audio format is a perfect solution for many people. Thanks to increasing engagement, a podcast mobile app can potentially lead to better exposure and more loyal podcast listeners.

Build a community effortlessly

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.

Use the app as an additional marketing tool

Podcast apps can include ads, sponsorships, and in-app purchases, providing monetization opportunities for you as a business and featuring podcasters.

Gain the loyalty of your audience

Besides making more money, podcasts can help you build a warmer relationship with your audience. Also, a podcast app can provide data on listener demographics, engagement, and behavior, allowing you to understand your listeners better and make more informed content decisions.

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:

Types of podcasts

Storytelling podcasts

Storytelling is a 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.

Hybrid podcasts

Hybrid podcasts combine elements of both scripted content and improvisation. In a hybrid podcast, the host or hosts might have a loose script or plan for the episode, but they also allow for spontaneous interactions and tangents to occur during the recording.

Interviews or panel discussions

These podcasts can be divided into several subcategories:

  • 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. 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. The Unsolicited Advice podcast works like that.

  • Roundtable

A round-table, or panel, podcast features multiple hosts who engage 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.

  • Monologue 

A 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 their thoughts with the public. To launch many episodes, a person should have sufficient expertise, as did Stephen West when he launched the series Philosophize This!

Repurposed content

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 and create a series of episodes. Trevor Noah, the popular comedian and TV host, transformed The Daily Show into an audio format for repurposing as a podcast.

Podcast app features

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.

Features of a podcasts app

Social login and signup

Users can create and sign into their accounts using their existing social media like Facebook or Google. This feature eliminates the need to create a separate account for the podcast app, which can be time-consuming and frustrating.

User profile dashboard

A user-friendly dashboard provides users with a personalized area where they can manage their podcast subscriptions, playlists, downloads, and other settings. This feature includes functionality like:

  • Personalization

  • Subscription management

  • Download management

  • Listening history

  • Other account settings

Built-in podcast search

If the users came for a certain podcast or topic, they should be able to look for it. By quickly finding the desired podcast or episode, users can spend more time listening to their favorite shows. Moreover, they should be able to quickly and easily navigate among the episodes in a given podcast.

Podcast recorder and editor

With a built-in recorder, users can easily record their voice or a conversation with guests. At the same time, the editor allows them to make necessary changes like cutting out unwanted parts or adding sound effects. The feature offers a simple and efficient way for users to create their own podcasts without spending tons of money on expensive equipment.

Voice editing tools

Voice editing tools allow users to modify and enhance voice recordings. These tools offer several benefits for users, including:

  • Professional sound quality

  • Noise reduction

  • Audio effects

  • Easy editing

By making it easy to improve the sound quality, these tools help users create podcasts that are engaging, entertaining, and professional.

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. Some media players offer features like sleep timers, playback speed adjustment, and the ability to skip silences.

User behavior tracking

Tracking user behavior inside the app provides your team with multiple benefits including the ability to:

  • Understand user engagement

  • Personalize recommendations

  • Optimize the user experience

  • Monitor app performance

Real-time analytics

Real-time analytics helps you monitor app performance, identify trends, optimize the user experience, and measure the ROI of your marketing efforts. This feature contributes a lot to making data-driven decisions and ensuring that the app is delivering the best possible experience.

Loyalty programs

This feature offers several benefits for users, including the ability to earn rewards like exclusive content, early access to episodes, merchandise, and more. By earning rewards, users feel valued and appreciated, which can increase their loyalty to the app and its content.

Steps in the development of a podcast app

1. Planning your app

  • Identifying your target audience

Before jumping into the development process, it’s wise to take a closer look at your future listeners. What do they like? How do they spend their free time? What is their demographic? What podcast apps do they already listen to? In the process, you’ll notice what audience needs still aren’t addressed and what niche is still available.

  • Determining the app's features and functionalities

When the market is analyzed, you can build a more or less whole picture of your own podcast app. At this stage, you should describe the project’s specifications: 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.

  • Choosing the programming language and development platform

When choosing technologies, it's important to consider factors like your team's skills, the desired app functionality, the target platform (iOS or Android), and the project timeline. Kotlin, Swift, and React Native are popular programming languages for building mobile apps, while web development languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can be used for cross-platform development.

2. Designing the user interface

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

  • Sketching the app's interface and user flow

  • Choosing the color scheme, typography, and imagery

  • Incorporating user feedback and testing

3. Developing the app

When the design is ready, your team can start coding. The process usually consists of three main parts:

  • Setting up the development environment 

  • Writing the code for the app's features and functionality

  • Testing and debugging the app

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.

4. Integrating the podcast feed

The podcast feed integration is a critical step in developing a podcast app. You'll need to consider how the feed content will be displayed in the app and how to optimize the feed integration for performance and user experience.

To make it happen, your team will need to complete:

  • Parsing the RSS feed of your preferred podcasts: To do this, you'll need to choose a parser library that can read and extract the necessary information from the feed.

  • Storing the podcast data in a database: It can improve the performance and scalability of the podcast app, enabling faster search and retrieval of podcast episodes and metadata.

  • Implementing a search and filter feature for podcasts: The team will create a search index of relevant podcast metadata, like title, author, description, and tags, and implement a search algorithm that enables users to filter results by various criteria like date, relevance, popularity, or category.

5. Implementing additional features

  • Adding features like playlist creation, bookmarks, and social media sharing

Playlists allow users to organize episodes and listen to them in a specific order, while bookmarks enable users to save their place in an episode and return to it later. Social media sharing enables users to easily share podcast episodes with their friends and followers on various social media platforms, increasing the visibility of the app and attracting new users. 

  • Implementing notifications, analytics, and error reporting

Notifications can be used to alert users of new episode releases or updates, while analytics can help track user engagement, retention, and other key performance indicators. Error reporting will help you track and fix issues like crashes, errors, and other technical problems.

6. Launching and promoting the app

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. It includes:

  • Submitting the app to the app store

  • Creating a marketing plan and promotional materials

  • Gathering user feedback and making improvements

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 (an MVP or a full application)

  • The list of desired features

  • The team’s hourly rate

  • The tech stack

  • Third-party integrations

To provide you with a rough estimate, the cost of developing your own podcast app will range from $10,000 to $50,000. It's worth noting that these costs are for the initial development of the app and do not include ongoing maintenance and updates, which will also be an additional cost.

How our company can help you

Yellow can help you create your podcast app by providing expertise in UX/UI design, app development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. Our team will also provide guidance on best practices, user experience, and app security.

Additionally, Yellow can help you with app store submission to increase visibility and attract users. We will streamline the app development process and deliver a high-quality podcast app that meets your business goals. Feel free to contact us and we will prepare a detailed estimate of your idea.

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 programming language should I use to build a podcast app?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, some popular programming languages for building podcast software include Java, Swift, and React Native.

🎙️ How do I promote my podcast app and attract users?

For promotion, you can leverage social media platforms to create a buzz around your app and share updates and new episodes, consider paid advertising, and engage with your audience by responding to feedback and reviews.

🎙️ How do I ensure my podcast app is secure and user data is protected?

For the app’s protection, you should implement secure authentication, use encryption, regularly perform security assessments, provide transparent privacy policies, and have a plan in place to respond to any incidents.

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