My laptop crashed – how Camtronome was created – pt. 2

A photo demonstrating Camtronome application usage on stage

First Camtronome release

Screenshot of an obsolete version of Camtronome application

In August 2017, Camtronome was first published in the Google Play store. I immediately created two language versions – Polish and English. At the time, I had no business plan or marketing experience. I was also not in the habit of using social media, so the app lacked any chance of breaking through to competitors with millions of downloads each. It wasn’t even my goal – anyway, all Camtronome’s features were available to everyone, for free, subject to the display of minimally invasive ads, on which I “earned” an average of 0.5-1 pennies (!) per day.

I have often wondered if my work put into the creation of the project, programming, testing, and final publication, without any earnings, makes sense. Often we don’t realize what a tremendous amount of work is to create applications that are later installed on our devices. I, however, wanted to create a very stable and useful program, and its possible profits would be a nice bonus.

For me, the most important thing was and is the satisfaction associated with the release of the app and the full confidence of users in its stability and reliability, and therefore usefulness. I have always believed that quality would also be followed by interest and the creation of a musical community.

The conviction that I could finally use my product with peace of mind was enough for me. Camtronome is an ideal metronome, that has accompanied me (and continues to do so) during all musical activities – from practice to rehearsals, concerts, and studio recordings. This is the main reason why the project is still alive and being developed by me.

Over time, positive reviews started to appear from users who reached into the depths of Google Play and eventually found Camtronome. Reviews were increasing and the average rating was growing – Camtronome then had 4.7/5 stars (more than 100 ratings) on Google Play 😊 After a time, I started receiving emails from unknown people thanking me for the creation of the app.

Screenshot from Google Play Store with 100 reviews and 4.7 rating

And here we come with the monetization again – some people have asked how they can buy it – because they want to pay for a good work (and get rid of ads by the way). If such an email had been one, maybe two – I probably wouldn’t have done anything about it.
However, there were quite a few such messages – from Germany, Italy, USA, Portugal, Brazil, Poland. All these users took the trouble to find my email and write a message asking how they could pay for the application. That’s when I realized I made a good, maybe even an outstanding product because that’s the only one someone wants to pay for. Such a nice response was an incredibly good stimulant for further development. Unfortunately, from a purely legal point of view, I could not charge users, because according to Google’s requirements, I would have to be an active entrepreneur. So I began to mature the decision to found a company.

iOS release

Over time, correspondence with users has intensified. I received a lot of nice emails asking about the possibility of paying for Camtronome, another part of them, on the other hand, referred to the iOS version of Camtronome. Apple users were inquiring when they would receive the iPhone counterpart of the app. After some time, I developed a habit of asking users about where they found out about the app to target them more accurately in the future. The answer was simple – Camtronome was spreading by word of mouth, where it fired up on Android, made a positive impression, and caused envy among Apple fans.
The people spoke, so I got to work quickly, and less than a year after its release on Android (in mid-2018) Camtronome was also published for iOS.

Further development

As the number of users increased, more and more reviews appeared – including negative ones. The main complaint was that the advanced functions, such as creating a metronome changing over time or configuring markers (points read by speech synthesis), were too complicated, and there was no way to back up the metronomes created. Next items on the to-do list.

A photo showing a source code fragment of Camtronome metronomeHonestly speaking – I found it hard to disagree with these opinions, as I could sometimes get lost in my app. Even when configuring metronomes for new BulletRaid songs, for which I very rarely went for variable time signatures or tempo changing over time, I had moments of doubt if I was correctly clicking in my app. I also remember how long it took me to configure an entire setlist for a concert and how frustrating it was when I accidentally deleted it by myself while routinely working on the program.

I have begun to redefine the user interface in the most critical areas. The main menu, metronome, and marker editor were significantly simplified – perhaps too much after all. Also, a temporary solution for backing up playlists and metronomes to Google Drive on Android and Apple Cloud on iOS was developed. Slowly, cloud backup was becoming a reality.

Founding a company and Camtronome Cloud

Using Google Drive and Apple Cloud – while it worked great in the application itself – was incredibly cumbersome from a programming point of view. Working charitably on such a complex project, I had to consciously manage my free time. Therefore, one of the things I can’t afford to do is to fix implemented, tested, and well-functioning features, such as the backup modules in Google Drive and Apple Cloud.

Every few months – usually Google – released new versions of Google Drive, which – to keep it running – required changes to the Camtronome code. The time it took to read the documentation about the new features, changes, and limitations was overwhelming.
Every time, such changes had to be implemented and then tested yet again. It was reminiscent of the metaphor about Sisyphus, who would probably sit in front of a monitor screen full-time today and update the system engine based on what Google or Apple currently came up with at the time.

So I finally set up my backup storage server – Camtronome Cloud. The solution is advantageous in that – programmed once – it will not require constant updates. The downside of this “patent” was the need to register a domain and purchase a server, which involves regular recurring fees on my part. So Camtronome had to start generating any revenue so that I wouldn’t have to spend money to pay for the feature created for the growing needs of users. So it’s like you can’t have one’s cake and it too.

In February 2019, I found a company and enabled Camtronome to make payments. The goal was to reduce the cost for the server and domain, without changing the form of the free license – everything for free on the condition of displaying little ads.

Articles in industry portals

In the summer of 2018, Camtronome was officially reviewed for the first time on the industry portal Undoubtedly, this was the first step in the process of reaching a wider audience. The editors of the portal conducted a practical test of the application and prepared a video documenting its progress while demonstrating the most important functions of the metronome I wrote. Wow 😊

A photo of Magazyn Perkusista magazine containing a review of Camtronome MetronomeHowever, it was March 2019 that turned out to be the nicest time for me in the entire history of Camtronome. At the beginning of the year, on one of the Facebook drummers groups, a discussion heated up about recommended metronomes. Lucky for me – one of the people discussing it was an extremely satisfied user of my program – Bartek, who listed all its unique and useful features there. Even more fortunately, it turned out that the editor of Polish drumming magazine Magazyn Perkusista participated in this exchange of opinions. Since then, Camtronome began to stand up for itself on the Internet thanks to satisfied users.

A few moments later, I exchanged nice and substantive at the same time emails with the said editor, and so – in March 2019 Camtronome was reviewed and recommended in Polish drumming magazine Magazyn Perkusista. Due to the circumstances that led to this review – this is the biggest, nicest, and most valuable achievement of Camtronome to date, of which I am extremely proud and very grateful.

Soon after, Bartek and I also began contacting each other by email and later by phone. To this day, Bartek is a close friend of mine. His opinions are important to me and have a great influence on the current shape of Camtronome.

This was not the end of pleasant surprises – next came a review on Articles about Camtronome also began to appear abroad in portals I sometimes had no idea existed. One such is the qualification of Camtronome to the ranking of the Top 10 best metronomes for Android in 2021 by a very popular technology site – Android Authority. I learned of the existence of this award, quite by accident, more than a year later. At the time, coding consumed me completely…

Marketing first steps

Only after such a significant achievement and a new friendship with the volcano of ideas – Bartek – I realized that I should start promoting my app more prominently and systematically. Occasionally contributing to Facebook comments from my account proved insufficient.

My wonderful wife came with help, who have been urging me to take this step for quite a long time already. She is more proficient with social media than I am, so with Bartek’s help, she took charge of creating and managing Camtronome’s Facebook and Instagram pages. While I continued to tinker with the code, they worked on photos, promotions, and texts. They developed and implemented a set of activities that over time – increased the number of installations. In addition, we partnered with a 3D graphic designer, which resulted in a professional video demonstrating the Camtronome metronome.

A screenshot of Camtronome application promotional videoAfter some time, this blog – Camtronome website was also created, and other marketing professionals began to join the team promoting the app. The effect of their work, as you know, is not immediately visible, it is seen only after some time. The fact that Camtronome is used today by fans from the farthest corners of the world undeniably confirms that the work of marketers brings the desired results.


Covid’s lockdowns have given the whole world a hard time. Wanting to make productive use of this time – I made it my goal to practice my hand drumming technique. The time of the pandemic – especially its initial phase – was spent in a very intensive reworking of rudiments I knew but had not practiced for a long time, which I considered a potentially useful tool in playing heavy metal.

A screenshot of Practice Charts featureI have always analytically approached my musical development. However, I was missing a tool that allowed me to track my progress and the time I spent on the exercises I had worked out. So an idea was born in my mind for a new feature in Camtronome – Practice Charts. Picturing the tempo and the amount of time I practiced on a given day, became the perfect tool to monitor my progress on the instrument.

Knowing from autopsy the problem of procrastination and general “laziness” that often occurs among musicians, I decided to expand the feature to include a mechanism to motivate people to practice. Achievements with Rewards introduced together with Practice Charts – at least for me – helped me to practice regularly and get more joy from playing.

Grinding the diamond

During the ongoing pandemic, after the release of Practice Charts and Achievement and Rewards, Camtronome boasted exceptionally high stability. Despite the tens of thousands of devices from all over the world on which it was already installed and running at that point, more than 99% of the sessions were stable (i.e., ran without any problems). There were, however, single cases for which it did not work at all – even though it should. This is what I had to pay special attention to.

My goal was to fine-tune the app to work on all available devices on the market (I still tested it on a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini phone from 2012). I did not accept situations in which the app did not work at all for anyone. I found out about such cases by email, when a disappointed (or annoyed) user wrote me more or less polite emails, claiming that the app doesn’t work…

A dissatisfied customer is always a failure, even if it’s just one customer. User service and support are a top priority for me – I create this app with myself and other musicians in mind – and I always have their best interests in mind.
I have also, of course, had contact with more dissatisfied people, with whom I have found it difficult to communicate and ask what is going on to diagnose the problem and not alienate them from Camtronome at the same time. For technical reasons, usually, I did not have enough data, so diagnosing the problem was about asking in detail and instructing the user on how to help me find the source of the problem.

Such efforts have been successful and have helped to localize very specific and rare cases, occurring mainly on low-budget devices from not-very popular manufacturers. For some time now – with a steady increase in the number of devices on which Camtronome runs – I have not received any message from a disappointed user claiming that something does not work in the app. This state of affairs satisfies me and maintaining it is currently a priority.

Further development

Quite recently Camtronome crossed the magic threshold of 100 thousand installations on Android. It has nearly 850 reviews with an average rating of 4.8. On this occasion, I wanted to share my story and describe – in a nutshell – my work, the effect of which is this metronome. Of course – in the scale of the world and other well-known apps, or metronomes in general, with several million installations each, this number is ridiculously small. Yes, but there is a staff of programmers, testers, designers, marketers, and lawyers working on these other applications, doing it full time, under the banner of a large company or corporation.

Screenshot from Google Play Store with 100k downloads, 845 reviews and 4.8 rating

Continuing – Camtronome’s code was 99% created by one person, in his spare time, as an effect of passion and a desire to satisfy his sophisticated musical requirements. In such a context, the 100 thousand downloads begin to take on a different, larger form, for which you – users and readers of this blog – I wholeheartedly THANK YOU.

Thank you for being with us, for using, and for recommending this metronome to your friends. I appreciate every installation and positive review from a satisfied user. It is thanks to you – that the threshold of 100,000 installations has been exceeded. The next goal – 500 thousand. And then I will think what’s next 😊.

Thank you.

Yours Sznurek

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