StarMaker is a popular singing app and music community with 50M＋users globally. On StarMaker, users can select their favorite songs from a massive international music library and sing like a pop star in a virtual room. Sometimes, they get new fans or may even be rewarded by their fans for their performance. StarMaker has been a frequently seen name in the music social app charts in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Besides many ordinary users showcasing their singing talents or just entertaining themselves on the platform, professional bands and singers have also been attracted to the StarMaker app to perform to their fans and launch singing challenges.
Data shows that, as of March 2, 2021, StarMaker has made it to the lists of:
- Top 100 most downloaded apps on AppStore in 119 countries and territories
- Top 100 best-selling apps on AppStore in 132 countries and territories
- Top 100 most downloaded apps on Google Play in 62 countries and territories
- Top 100 best-selling apps on Google Play in 53 countries and territories
In 2020, StarMaker recorded a cumulative total of 62.27 million downloads and generated an annual revenue of 100 million USD, achieving a significant growth in both the number of users and revenue. Behind such impressive data, what is the magic that enables StarMaker to attract users from different regions and keep them active on the platform?
StarMaker's secret recipe to becoming a top-tier music social app
Fan Xia, CEO of StarMaker, emphasized in an interview: “If you want to have a go at competing in the social and entertainment sector, you must make an effort to truly understand the different social needs of your users from different parts of the world, and so you can provide what they really need."
Behind this statement lies two key factors in StarMaker's success: a highly localized operations strategy and a product design based on the Social+ model.
1. StarMaker's highly localized operations strategy
StarMaker has set up local operations teams in many countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, using algorithms and user profiling to accurately segment users and target the markets. For example, when entering the Indonesian market, StarMaker differentiated and segregated its music content operations so that users who like different music genres won't disturb each other, thus enhancing the product experience. StarMaker's localized operations have significantly improved user stickiness and boosted user growth. StarMaker currently has ongoing and in-depth collaborations with local celebrities, music labels, and variety shows in several regions.
2. StarMaker's product design based on the Social+ model
StarMaker is heavily focused on its social attributes. Although StarMaker is a karaoke-based product, it was quite different for the users to interact with each other because there was no means for spontaneous interactions. Therefore, the team decided to add a live audio room feature, powered by ZEGOCLOUD, to enhance the social networking aspect of the product. At the same time, they use algorithms and user profiling to accurately identify and classify users in order to recommend the livestream hosts that best match their preferences, thus leading to a more satisfying user experience. With such features, strangers on the platform can not only have 1-on-1 calls, sing in chorus, but also have group voice chat in a room, which helped attract and retain more users.
"Karaoke is more of a vehicle to facilitate interactions among users. People who like to listen to songs are 10 times as many as those who like to sing. We hope to enable users to find people with similar interests through music."
A more accurate product definition led to higher user stickiness. Undoubtedly, adding voice interaction to the product has increased the time users spend on the app. Currently, the StarMaker users spend on average more than 65 minutes per day on the platform.
The challenges in creating a high-quality live audio room experience
In StarMaker's live audio rooms, a host can have voice chats with 8 users in the room while live streaming to a global audience, and fans can send virtual gifts to the hosts they like.
For voice chat rooms, the stability and smoothness of audio interactions are undoubtedly at the core of the user experience. In creating a high-quality social audio experience, StarMaker encountered two major technology challenges:
- The very complicated global network environment. For example, in Starmaker's main business areas such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia, there are situations where the network conditions are not ideal for live streaming due to all kinds of differences that exist across different network operators and inadequate network infrastructures.
- The massive variety of end-user devices. StarMaker has hundreds of millions of users from hundreds of countries, and the devices that users use are very different in terms of the hardware model, OS version, and performance. In addition, a large portion of the end-user devices is mid to low-end devices, which very often have a less optimal acoustic design, making it more difficult to achieve a good echo cancellation and noise suppression result.
ZEGOCLOUD, with its strong technology capabilities, helped StarMaker overcome these challenges.
One of the most difficult issues that need to be solved is streaming latency. To achieve an ultra-low latency over a very complicated global network is generally considered a difficult task. ZEGOCLOUD has built a massive serial data network (MSDN) that has 500+ deployed globally, covering 212 countries and territories. With an intelligent network scheduling system and sophisticated routing algorithms, ZEGOCLOUD measures and predicts network conditions in real time and adaptively select the optimal routing path to provide a better real-time communications experience to users. So, even in island countries like Indonesia, where the network environment is very complicated, ZEGOCLOUD is able to deliver high-quality real-time voice and video services to StarMaker's users.
To ensure the user experience on different devices of varied software and hardware configurations, besides sufficient device adaptation work, it is also necessary to reduce the performance burden on the end-user devices. For this purpose, ZEGOCLOUD has put a great effort to optimize its technologies in many aspects, for example:
- Reducing the consumption of bandwidth and system resources by using the most suitable codec and bitrate
- Controlling the network traffic by calculating the available bandwidth and packaging data packets according to data priority
With such optimizations, even under extreme conditions, ZEGOCLOUD is able to deliver a stable and smooth real-time voice experience to users at a bitrate of 150kbps.
In addition, with extensive experience in serving many customers in the pan-entertainment industry, ZEGOCLOUD has developed a mature solution to prevent the "Zoombombing" issue that has plagued many real-time voice and video platforms.
ZEGOCLOUD provides comprehensive support and services to StarMaker
"We chose ZEGOCLOUD not only because of its excellent performance in stability and smoothness but also for its ability to support us in dealing with the complicated network environment and meeting the highly diverse needs of global users." The manager at StarMaker who oversaw the live audio room project said, "StarMaker has users from more than 100 countries. We chose ZEGOCLOUD as our real-time voice and video service provider because we trust them, and we are confident that we together can provide an even better experience to our users in the future. "
ZEGOCLOUD sees itself as a "technology + service" platform, which means we are not only focused on providing the technology solutions but also are keen to listen to our customers so that we can understand their real needs and truly solve their problems.
To meet StarMaker's requirements, we've solved many problems, including issues related to transmission latency and hardware compatibility. We also provided solutions to a lot of customization requirements, such as extending the length of user IDs to 64 bytes, custom video resolutions, constant use of media volume, and others.
Besides that, we've been working closely with the StarMaker team and supported them in multiple version updates of the StarMaker app. Whenever there were issues, we always responded swiftly to provide solutions. Through this close cooperation, the two teams, working side by side, have developed a profound friendship and a strong trust in each other.
We earned trust and praises from our customers for we continuously improve our products and services. For each of our customers, we form a dedicated team to provide comprehensive support from all aspects, including requirement analysis, solution design and review, integration support, risk control, and even code review. Every effort we make is to ensure that our customers build their products with outstanding quality, go live with no defects, and run their services smoothly.
It is because of this high standard of service that ZEGOCLOUD's relationship with its clients has been very stable. Our key customer turnover rate is nearly zero, and our overall customer turnover rate is less than 3%. We will continue to do our best and live up to the trust that our customers place in us.
With the launch of the high-quality live audio room feature, StarMaker's popularity soared, and its user stickiness increased significantly. And we, as the provider of live audio room solution, are honored to play a key role in helping StarMaker achieve its great success in the global social network platforms market.
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