Audiotica was a simple media downloader created by Harold Martinez back in the days of Windows Phone 7. It was originally known as “musicdownload” from a teen who was trying his hand at a first app. It has since evolved into something much, much larger.
As we have been doing recently, we spoke to the developer of Audiotica to get a behind-the-scenes look at the app and its development and we’ve come away impressed.
It’s January 2015 and we still need music on our phones. Once you get past the sketchy world of torrents, there are precious few ways to get music on your device. Xbox Music, Spotify, Deezer are but a few ways. The problem with these is that they don;t sell you music. They lend you music for a time, and then you pay to keep it. They have large collections because it is in their interest for you to have a large collection making it harder for you to leave. And if they make a change to their service or app that you disagree with you may find yourself having to build up a new collection or paying for something you may not necessarily like. Audiotica doesn’t do that to you. You can build up as large as a collection as you want without paying the dev directly. The music is sourced from sites like Soundcloud, Youtube and MP3truck among others.
The app now uses spotify and last.fm for track metadata but the way it gets an mp3 is by searching various providers.
This essentially makes Audiotica able to find any mp3 on the internet. Adding more songs is as easy as uploading them to SoundCloud or any of the other sites (including YouTube).
A few months ago, Audiotica made a splash in a different way. It was the first app to leverage the Xbox Music apis Microsoft released and it was taken down after content “Well, originally it was powered completely by Xbox Music. Some issues lead to Microsoft to taking down the repository that contain the source code.” Harry said. Indeed the original app was meant to offer some level of integration with Xbox music after Microsoft released the apis earlier last year, but that iteration of the app was pulled. The apis would allow Xbox Music pass users to download DRM free music which the copyright holders objected to. As a result, the app was pulled. For a while, Audiotica was no more.
However, while the app had vanished from the public eye, it had not been abandoned. Harry kept on working on the beta with a small group of dedicated testers. Features were added, features were cut. The design was refined over and over again till it reached its current form.
“For the past 4 months it has been on a private beta to test out how the app perform in real life. Amazingly, the original UI changed a lot and the community at /r/audioticabeta helped morph the app into what it is now”
Today, Audiotica has been released to the store, but it is still not feature complete. There are several planned features incoming, some far closer than others. Among many features we can expect are Cloud Sync and a Windows app (as well as an Android version ) and syncing with Spotify and Xbox Music libraries for users who would like to get their music from as wide a range as possible. On the return of Xbox Music, Harry said “This Is something I definitely want for it to have. I’ll have to contact MS and make sure I’m not crossing any boundaries with it.” While Xbox Music has been a contentious subject for may Windows Phone users over the past year, Audiotica may be the one app that makes good use of the huge library of songs on the service.
There will be also be an option for Audiotica Gold in future updates. What this adds is advanced features to the basic app. For instance, in the example of Cloud Sync, you will have manual SD card and Cloud Sync to OneDrive in the free version while the Gold version adds automatic cloud syncing. The app is free an open source, if any devs want to tinker around and make a better version, it is certainly possible and Harry encourages it.
In January 2013, PEW researchers discovered that 68% of smartphone users use their phones to take music. That number has surely grown as smartphones have become more ubiquitous in the past two years. Music is an essential part of the smartphone experience and Audiotica seems poised to nail that experience.
[pullquote]It has had way more[success] than I ever expected. Specially since I’ve never advertised. Sometimes I will meet other WP users and they’ll be rocking with Audiotica.[/pullquote]
Not many developers have been able to find success in app stores, and even fewer have been able to find success in the Windows Phone app store due to sheer numbers. An app like Audiotica is successful not just beause of luck, but bevause it initially provided a basic need. Getting music for free legally. Now it has grown and expanded into a service of its own. Will Audiotica take over the world? Will it take over Windows Phone? I can’t answer any of those questions. Foresight is a crapshoot and hindsight is 20/20. As I said in my review, Audiotica has a lot of potential and promise. Its up to Harry to make sure that he realises those.
Download Audiotica here