Up to the day I am writing this, Semitones has earned me 122$ in proceeds. That's after Apple's 30% cut from sales through the App Store. That's not much, but it is already more than my last app made in it's entire lifetime. Semitones has a simple business model: an up-front price of 4$. No in-app purchases, no ads, no subscriptions. Just pay up front and get straight to the music practice. The app is intended for people who are serious about studying music: students and teachers. It is not mindless entertainment (which is not bad, by the way, it's good to have a way to let your mind relax and recharge a bit). I assumed the sort of person who was interested in my app would not want to be delayed by in-app purchases for each exercise or have ads attempting to divert their attention from the exercise at hand.
So far, things seem off to a good start. Revenue is low, but so is my spending on advertising. I was advised to hold off on pushing money into advertising while I got a better feel for the app and its customers. Without paid advertising, I've needed to rely on social media channels like Twitter. Twitter's analytics information allows me to see, for example, that 2761 people have seen the launch annoucement. From those people, 30 people followed the link to the app store and 9 people retweeted it. Subsequent tweets got less attention.
Apple's App Store also provides some analytics. They show that at least 583 people viewed Semitones in the app store and 35 of them actually bought it. The sales numbers reported from Analytics is a bit different from the sales numbers reported in the actual Sales section which is a bit odd to me, but oh well. What this means to me is that a large number of people are finding my app through sources other than my Twitter links. Unfortunately, all of these analytics sources are not perfect and Apple does not provide things such as "how many people found my app from search".
One advantage of my app is that searching for "semitones" in the app store only gives two results: my app and another app that hasn't been updated since December of 2014. In the next weeks, I'll be paying more attention to the search keywords I include for the app. Some of the app store views must be coming from search if they're not coming from the links I've posted on places like Twitter.
It's worth mentioning that I'm not disappointed by sales so far. I didn't expect to make a million dollars in the first week or anything (though I certainly wouldn't have refused it). I expected this and planned for it. Before starting this project, I made sure I had enough in savings that I could run for about two years without turning a profit before I needed to gave and get a job. Also during this time I'll still be doing contract work occasionally to help stall that out even further.
Today version 1.0.1 is live. It's just some bug fixes from things I missed in 1.0. Meanwhile we are working on 1.1 which will add scales and modes to the current list of things to identify. I think this has a real shot at being something useful for people and profitable for me. Either way, there's plenty to learn.
If you're interested, you can check out Semitones in the App Store here