Apple Music Classical Released – IOS and iPadOS 17 Review Extras: eBook, Weekly and AppStories+ special editions, and two new Obsidian additions
On March 28, Apple will release Apple Music Classical, a free app that is already available for pre-order and will offer a catalog of more than 5 million classical recordings to Apple Music subscribers at no additional cost.
Apple Music Classical Released
The app, which will be iPhone-only at launch, has been anticipated for months. Apple acquired Primephonic, a classical music streaming service in August 2021, and said at the time that it would launch an Apple-branded classical music streaming service next year. 2022 came and went without a new app, but references to the new service started popping up in iOS betas, leading observers to believe a launch was imminent.
The Overlap Between Apple Music And Classical App Is Clunky
Apple says Classical’s 5 million tracks, which include thousands of exclusives, are the largest in the world and have “complete and accurate” metadata. The company also states in the app’s release notes:
Apple Music Classic also makes it easy for beginners to get to grips with the genre thanks to hundreds of Essentials playlists, insightful composer bios, deep-dive guides to many key works, and smart browsing features.
Classical Search will also be genre-optimized, feature editorial content, and stream up to 192kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless, with thousands of tracks supporting spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.
Users can pre-order the free app today from the App Store, which will be downloaded to their iPhones on March 28 when the app goes live.
Apple Music Classical: Classical Music On Iphones » Sir Apfelot
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John, the ‘Managing Editor, has been writing about Apple and apps since joining the team in 2015. He also co-hosts podcasts such as AppStories, which explores the world of apps, Unwind, a weekly review of all things and others, and Unplugged, a behind-the-scenes show, everything, exclusively for Club members. It’s been 16 months since Apple bought three-year-old classical music streaming service Primephonic. Meanwhile, there are only a few days left until Apple Music fulfills its plan to release a standalone Apple Classical app to replace the defunct Primephonic app. (This seems unlikely.)
Apple Music Classical (mostly) Plays The Right Chords
Apple Music already has a huge classic catalog, so why did Apple buy Primephonic and promise a separate app? This piece by my colleague Ben Lovejoy written two years before Apple bought Primephonic explains the challenge Apple wants to solve for classical music.
When Apple announced the purchase of Primephonic, it highlighted the service’s “excellent listening experience with search and browsing optimized for classic, premium sound, curated expert recommendations, and extensive repertoire and recording details.”
This all already sounds very Apple Music-y, so why not bring the Primephonic experience to the app that Apple Music subscribers already use?
The simple answer is that the metadata of classical music is very different from that of contemporary pop music. In addition to the comprehensive catalog, Primephonic was built around the idea of making classical music searchable and discoverable in the age of music streaming.
Apple Music Classical Seeks Success Where Other Streaming Services Have Stumbled
Primephonic also had a different method of paying artists for projects. Music streaming services pay artists per song, and that model doesn’t make sense for classical music.
Primephonic CEO Thomas Steffens, who now works in Apple Music’s business development, wrote plainly on the matter in 2018:
Streaming services typically pay 60% of (net) revenue as royalties to record labels, who in turn pay a percentage of those royalties to their artists, based on the number of times a track has been streamed. Since most pop songs are 3 or 4 minutes long, this mechanism works pretty well, but the average classical track takes much, much longer. Beethoven’s 9th symphony lasts over an hour, with each movement being between 10 and 25 minutes (depending on the recording). The result is that an hour of pop music pays significantly more than an hour of classical music.
We don’t know if Apple honors or will honor this payment structure. That’s probably something Steffens is focusing on in his new role. However, we do know what has been publicly shared about the standalone classical music app.
Future Of Music Is Here: Apple Defends Apple Musical Classical App
“Apple Music plans to release a dedicated classical music app next year that combines Primephonic’s classic user interface that fans have come to love with more added features,” Apple said last year. Primephonic subscribers also got enough free Apple Music access to get them through last February.
The folks at Primephonic were a bit more cautious, or at least optimistic, about when an Apple Classical app would be ready. “We’re working on an amazing new classical music experience from Apple for early next year,” Primephonic said as part of the acquisition announcement.
Did the Primephonic team expect Apple Classical to be ready by the time their subscribers had exhausted their free access to Apple Music? Did Apple also expect the new app to be ready in “early” 2022? Is it appropriate to use a Taylor Swift song title for this section of the article?
We don’t know, but it can’t be a coincidence that Apple Music on Android leaked the string “Open in Apple Classical” back in February. Remember, that was when the free Apple Music access for Primephonic subscribers ended. More recently, Apple Classical references have continued to appear in iOS code.
Apple Releases New Apple Music Classical App, Available To Apple Music Subscribers At No Additional Cost
What about the future? Externally, we haven’t ruled out Apple Classical dropping around iOS 16.2 with a hypothetical December release. On the other hand, Rome wasn’t built in a day and Apple Classical wasn’t built in a year. The app’s planned 2022 launch was just the plan, and plans change. The deadline is arbitrary. What matters is what former Primephonic paying customers think of the Apple Classical experience.
Code references aside, the best sign of Apple’s commitment to the classical music experience is how many Primephonic employees staff the Apple Music team.
I’ve noticed that some albums (either classical or classical/electronic crossover) have had a new track layout for some time on Apple Music – see attachment. It’s still not perfect – they insist on truncating useful artist and composer information instead of just wrapping text for, I guess, “aesthetics”. But I wonder if they’re trying to fold the classic UX and revenue reporting model into the main app somehow instead of launching a separate app?
As we mentioned above, former Primephonic CEO Thomas Steffens is now in charge of business development for Apple Music.
Classical Music Fans Take Note: Apple Music Classical Is Now Available — Geekhampton
Has also gathered information on where the rest of the Primephonic family landed after the takeover. Below are just a few of the other Primephonic staff members who now call Apple home:
Other former Primephonic employees have ended up at classical music label Pentatone, music distributor FUGA, Universal Music Group or other companies. The Pentatone family also included Francesca Mariani, who ran Apple’s customer migration program until February. (There’s that month again…)
More importantly, the Primephonic family included Piña, the head hugger. No word on Piña’s status at Apple (if anyone knows, drop me a line), but we just know that Piña is a good dog.
Do you have a friend of a friend who worked at Primephonic? Learn more about the progress of Apple Classical from Apple Music? Stay in touch and we’ll share more as we learn more.
Apple Music Classical Launched
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Music Classical — a brand new standalone music streaming app designed to give classical music fans the listening experience they deserve — is now available on the App Store.
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA today introduced Music Classical, a brand new standalone music streaming app designed to give classical music fans the listening experience they deserve. With Music Classic, Music subscribers can easily find any recording in the world’s largest catalog of classical music with fully optimized search. Enjoy the highest sound quality available and experience many classic favorites in a whole new way with immersive surround sound. Browse curated playlists, insightful composer bios, and descriptions of thousands of works. and so many more. Music Classical is available in the App Store starting today and is included at no extra cost with almost all music