djay was a phenomenon, and djay 2, the recently released App from Algoriddim is here with a more robust UI and awesome new features. djay 2 is the next generation of the best selling DJ software for iOS and also the winner of prestigious Apple Design Award. In this exciting interview, we talk to the founder of Algoriddim, Karim Morsy to get a behind-the-scenes look.
1. How did you conceive the idea for the App?
I have been a professional DJ for over 15 years using analog equipment and turntables. I’ve had an extensive iTunes library back in 2006 and wanted an intuitive and portable solution that allowed me to get back into DJing using my Mac with all my existing tracks and playlists. The other co-founder was a total novice and existing DJ software at that time was hardly accessible to consumers. So our vision was to create a DJ app that’s appealing to a professional but on the other hand could be picked up by any music enthusiast with an iTunes library.
2. Do you think Apple’s offerings for developers for developing Apps is good? Are there any changes required?
We have brought the Mac version of djay to market years before the App Store existed, so as an indy developer with a small team we know very well the challenges of developing, maintaining, marketing and selling software, all at the same time. We’ve also sold a retail box version that we exported to many countries in the world. We think the App Store has revolutionized the process and workflow for developers. We completely cut the retail channel and shifted our distribution to the App Store exclusively. We can now focus more than ever on delivering great quality apps to millions of users thanks to Apple’s app eco system. No more worrying about protection against piracy, support inquiries about lost serial numbers to activate our software, setting up booth space at trade shows, etc. All of these tedious tasks have become obsolete, and again allow us as a software developer to focus on what we can do best.
3. What is your marketing strategy? What marketing techniques do you use to promote your App in this heavily competitive application space?
Well, first and foremost we try to create the best possible apps that users love, and we continuously improve and update them. That helps us build a loyal fan base that spreads the word about our apps and helps us maintain our high ranking in the charts. Over the years we’ve also partnered with world leading manufacturers for DJ hardware to create exclusive accessories for our apps that our sold via retail channels such as the Apple Store or Best Buy. This gives us visibility in locations beyond the world of apps. Moreover, we have co-branded with world famous artists from David Guetta (djay – David Guetta Edition for iPhone) to Snoop Dogg and Far East Movement. So we always look for new ways to differentiate ourselves from “regular” apps, co-branding, retail presence with accessories have proven to be very effective.
4. Can you describe your “Eureka” moment while developing the App?
We’ve had several “Eureka” moments throughout the development life-cycles for djay over the past 7 years. Obviously one of our biggest on iOS was when we realized we could access the user’s iTunes library, a feature that was made accessible by Apple to 3rd party developers withthe introduction of iOS 4.2 back in 2010. To us this was the last missing puzzle piece and key requirement to port our well established Mac version of djay to iOS and reach potentially millions of new customers. Plus, we felt that touch screen devices were the perfect platform for a DJ app where you typically manipulate multiple controls at the same time to seamlessly blend one song into another.
5. How did you come to decide the price that you would be charging users to purchase your App?
The original version of djay on the Mac was introduced at a retail price of $49.99. In the pre-App Store era this was considered extremely cheap, even for consumer software, given the value djay for Mac had to offer. The App Store on the other hand is about volume and reaching a large number of customers. So when we launched djay for iPad on the App Store we adapted to a lower pricing model, yet were still considered premium priced at $19.99. We reached #1 top paid overall in most countries and sustained among the top selling music apps onthe App Store for several years, so the price we’ve chosen for djay turned out to work extremely well. As we launched djay 2 as a brand new app on the App Store in July this year, we’ve decided to offer it a significantly discounted price so existing users could “upgrade” without being charged full price again. Obviously, you can only set one price on the App Store, so essentially every customer, new and old, got the app at $4.99 on iPad and $0.99 on iPhone. Both apps stayed at #1 top paid overall around the world for up to an entire week. So again, we’re very confident we have chosen the right price at the right time.
6. What gave you the kick to convert your idea into reality? What kept you awake all night long?
Back in 2006 we were still in college, we had a passion for music, so applying the knowledge from our computer science classes to something we love was exciting. Plus, we had this strong vision we could potentially turn anyone, from little kid to soccer mom, into a DJ and that was our driving force. 7 years later I think it’s fair to say that we’ve changed DJ culture forever and created a whole new generation of millions of upcoming and aspiring DJs that probably would have never thought of getting into the game before the djay app.
7. Your thoughts on paid marketing? Paid ads, reviews, sponsorship and more. What made your App’s marketing plan successful?
In times when it’s more common to sell 1 million copies for a dollar than 1000 copies for 1000 dollars, it’s gotten harder to achieve good ROI on paid marketing. So as mentioned earlier, we prefer to look for alternative ways to reach new customers on the App Store.
8. Your App was recently featured by Apple on the App Store. How much % does it have an impact on sales? How do you think an App can get featured?
Reaching #1 on the App Store is hard, very hard. We’ve put years of work into creating an amazing app that sets new standards in the mobile world. Prominent placement obviously helps us reach even more customers, and again the key to success in a competitive market place is an app that’s compelling, unique and ahead of its time.