Using an audio streaming API can help you integrate audio streaming functionalities into an existing application, or allowing you to add audio streaming to a brand new app without needing to build the feature from scratch.
This article focuses on how audio streaming APIs allow you to access stream audio content with ease, the benefits of audio streaming APIs, and some tips on choosing the right audio streaming API according to your needs.
Without further ado, let us begin.
What Is Audio Streaming API?
Audio streaming, as we know, is a technological feature that allows us to listen to audio files (i.e. music or podcast) without needing to download the whole audio file first. Instead, the audio file is delivered in small packets to the listener almost in real-time: it is buffered for a moment (can be a fraction of a second), and then the playback begins.
The new audio data will constantly arrive as the audio is playing, providing the listener with a smooth experience. As long as the listener has sufficient internet bandwidth, they should be able to hear the audio without any disruptions.
So, what is audio streaming API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface, a series of code that provides structure between multiple applications so they can communicate with each other. So, we can think of an API as a bridge between two or more software applications.
In practice, an API is typically utilized so that one application can use the function of another application providing the API. In the case of an audio streaming API, we can allow an existing application or a brand new application to get audio streaming functionalities from an audio streaming application that supports voice call API integration.
Use Cases of Audio Streaming API
Live video and audio streaming offer versatility and immediacy in engaging your internal team and external parties like customers and vendors. With that being said, here are some popular use cases for audio streaming API integration:
Enterprise Communications and Collaborations
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to work from home, businesses are increasingly using live video and audio streaming for various communication and collaboration activities.
Internally, video and audio streaming can be utilized as an effective means to conduct meetings, onboarding new employees, and others. The real-time interaction of video/audio streaming allows it to become a more effective training tool than on-demand tutorial videos.
We can also use the live streaming API externally to promote our product and service, respond to customer’s complaints and questions, conduct meetings with vendors and clients, and other means.
Even before the pandemic, many healthcare organizations have already implemented telehealth services with video and audio streaming at the core.
Live video streaming, for example, has been used for various diagnostic purposes, and even to aid with surgery.
Healthcare providers can also use live streaming to teach medical students and healthcare workers remotely, and also to educate the general public regarding health concerns, which have been widely implemented throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Live streaming APIs allow businesses to conduct online seminars and even large-scale industry conferences into an interactive digital space. With audio streaming API, event organizers can easily reach every individual participant just like you would in real life.
Again, due to the pandemic restrictions, live streaming religious services is now the norm, which allows a large number of people to participate in the services from home or another location without needing to gather in large groups.
Considerations When Choosing an Audio Streaming API
With a wide range of audio streaming APIs available in the market, choosing the right one for your business can be a difficult task.
With that being said, we advise you to consider the following factors:
- Features: while most audio streaming APIs will offer relatively similar features, some might offer unique features that might suit your business’s needs. As a general principle, choose the most affordable API that offers the features you need.
- Location restrictions: while it’s rare nowadays, there may be a restriction of access by geographic location. Make sure the API covers the areas you are serving.
- DRM: if your audio content (especially music) requires Digital Rights Management protection, then you need to determine whether the audio streaming API supports DRM.
- Data formats: the format in which the API returns data. Most APIs nowadays use either JSON or XML, but there are also APIs that use unique formats. Choose an API with data formats that fit your existing infrastructure and are convenient to work with.
- Monetization: if you plan to monetize your audio stream, then check whether the API supports your preferred monetization method. For example, if you are planning to put advertising, then check whether the API provider supports advertising URL tags. If you can add the advertising server-side, it can provide smoother delivery and will be more difficult to be blocked by ad blockers.
- Platform support: the API should support the platforms you plan to work in, whether directly or through the SDK.
- Request limits: some APIs might employ limits on requests to prevent DDoS attacks, typically by limiting the number of requests per API key or IP address per day. Check whether the API provider imposes such limitations, and if the limit is too small, you might want to ask for an exception or find another option.
An audio streaming API allows businesses to get audio streaming functionalities while bypassing the hassle of the lengthy software development processes and the difficulties when managing their own apps.
By considering the factors above, we can make better-informed decisions in choosing the right audio streaming API according to the objective of our own live streaming application and other factors.