Photo credit: Apple
Apple is launching a new music streaming service focused on classical music. Based on the 2021 acquisition of Amsterdam-based streamer Primephonic, the new Apple Music Classical app will give Apple Music subscribers access to over 5 million classical music tracks, including new releases in high-quality audio, as well as hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums and other features like composer biographies and deep dives on key works, Apple says.
The service was rumored to be nearing completion as it appears in the latest OS updates for developers, but the exact launch time was not known.
Although the app will be announced today, it is only available for pre-order on the App Store for now. The release date is later this month on March 28th. Additionally, upon launch, the app only supports iOS devices running iOS 15.4 or later.
The company’s decision to target classical music listeners with a standalone app is a differentiator for its Apple Music subscription service — though it’s markedly different from the features announced by rival Spotify this week, which has tech-advanced features like AI and video -based included discovery feeds.
Instead, Apple Music Classical will present a simple interface for engaging with classical works. Users can search by composer, work, conductor or even catalog number to find recordings. These can be streamed in high audio quality with up to 192 kHz/24 bit Hi-Res Lossless. And thousands of recordings will also be available in Apple’s immersive Spatial Audio.
The app also allows users to dive into the recordings to read editorial notes on the composers and descriptions of their key works. Famous composers will have their own high-resolution digital portraits commissioned from artists by Apple. These have been designed using color palettes and artistic references from the relevant classical period, Apple Notes, and more will be added over time. At launch, portraits of Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach will be available.
The service will continue to be updated with new music over time. Apple notes that it has partnered with classical music artists and music institutions to offer and launch exclusive content and recordings, and will continue to do so in the future. For now, users can follow news and updates about the app and music releases on the @appleclassical Twitter account.
There is no additional cost for Apple Music Classical as it comes as part of the Apple Music subscription. The app will be available to subscribers of all plans, including individual plans ($10.99/month), student plans ($5.99/month), family plans ($16.99/month), and in the Apple One bundles .
Though the service will only be available for iOS at launch, it will support Android “soon” much like Apple Music’s app.