Apple Music already has a selection of classical music for all the folks still hung up on the melodies of Beethoven or Bach, but the app offers little for any music lovers looking to engage in any new compositions in the long-form, classical style. Well, after about two years of work, Apple’s finally got the answer for classical fans, and it’s coming in the form of a full, separate app.
On Thursday, Apple put its new Apple Music Classical app up for preorder. The app touts that it’s free as long as you subscribe to Apple Music. Thousands of songs should be spatial audio capable and all the music is ad-free. The slated release date is March 28 and it requires iOS 15.4 or later. An Android version is also “coming soon,” according to TechCrunch.
Apple touts that this new app contains 5 million tracks from both new and old composers with audio running up to 192 kHz.24-bit Hi-Res, which is higher than you’d get just listening to similar symphonies on YouTube. The app will also have composer biographies and descriptions of some pieces. The search function is also geared specifically for classical compositions, so searching for Beethoven 5 would give you either Symphony No. 5 in C Minor or Piano Concerto No. 5. The music streaming app also purports to have curated playlists and “thousands of exclusive albums.”
There’s long been rumors that Apple has been trying to incorporate some classical music selection into its music app. It was rumored for 2022, but the year came and went with no new app in sight. Finally, the release of iOS 16.4 Beta 2 code back in February showed “Apple Music Classical” was finally coming down the pike.
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In 2021, Apple purchased classical streaming service Primephonic. The Amsterdam-based app startup was pretty unique for its time. Instead of paying artists based on how many times a track is played, it compensated them based on how long a user streamed that song, according to PCMag. That’s probably wise, given how long a single classical track can last.
It’s unclear how much of Primephonic’s DNA still remains in Apple’s new app. Though the older music streaming service had playlists based on themes like “storms” or “forest,” it also based them on instrumentals. Primephonic also told PCMag it would input music metadata by hand. When the company took its app online two years ago, developers wrote that “[as a small startup,] we can not reach the majority of global classical listeners, especially those that listen to many other music genres as well.” March 28 will show if the developers made the right call.