Back in 2021, Apple acquired the classic music streaming platform PrimePhonic and announced that another music app dedicated to the genre called Apple Music Classic would be launching in 2022. While that didn’t happen, new leads did surface from time to time showing that the Cupertino company was indeed working on the app behind closed curtains.
Then recently, Apple finally broke the silence by announcing that Apple Music Classical will launch on March 28th. You can now pre-register for the upcoming app in the App Store. Here’s everything you should know about it before you start.
What is Apple Music Classic?
According to the press release, Apple Music Classical is “the ultimate classical music experience with hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums, insightful composer biographies, in-depth guides to many key works, intuitive browsing features, and much more.”
In other words, it’s a variation on Apple Music that’s all about classical music. It offers 5 million tracks and works from new releases to acclaimed masterpieces. Complete and accurate metadata is displayed for each title along with thousands of editorial notes, including composer biographies, descriptions of important works and more.
An exclusive iPhone
It has been confirmed that Apple Music Classical will only be available for iPhones and will be compatible with iOS 15.4 or later. That means it will be compatible with iPhone 6s and later. But that also means that iPad and macOS will be left out, at least for the time being.
Apple hasn’t announced any plans to bring the app to its other operating systems, but considering the “Vanilla” Apple Music app is available on all platforms, the Classical app will likely be available as well. An Android app is also being planned, so an Apple device is not necessary to be able to hear wonderful symphonic music.
Streaming bandwidth and music quality
In May 2021, Apple announced that it would offer lossless audio on Apple Music starting in June 2021. After that, the company upgraded its entire streaming music catalog to lossless audio using the ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) format.
Just like Apple Music, the streaming quality of Apple Music Classic will be as good as it can be, with support for bitrates up to 24-bit and 192kHz and spatial audio. However, that bitrate requires supporting audio devices, so you’ll likely need a pair of AirPods to get the best results. An external DAC is usually recommended to fully experience 24-bit 192kHz. And the best option for that right now is probably Apple’s own Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, which retails for Rs 900.
On the Android side, however, things are less clear. It is obvious that Apple Music Classical also supports lossless on the platform, but not all Android devices may be suitable. The regular Apple Music app is asking for Dolby Atmos support on Android for spatial audio to work, and it’s likely that Apple Music Classic will too.
Apple Music Classic interface
Apple likes to keep things seamless in its software, and Apple Music Classical will be no different. The app interface looks identical to Apple Music, with the main difference being that it offers nothing but classical music.
However, instead of lyrics, the Now Playing screen has an Info tab that digs deeper into the music and composer, with detailed descriptions of the piece you’re listening to. The app icon is also obviously unique so you can tell them apart, with a treble clef instead of the usual music icon.
Why offer a separate app?
The biggest question raised with the launch of Apple Music Classical is: why bother making a separate app when all classical music can be uploaded directly into the existing Apple Music app?
One reason is that it might have something to do with how different the metadata of classical music is from modern music. There is also a difference in withdrawal methods. Primephonic paid artists by the time streamed rather than the number of tracks streamed, which makes sense for classical music as it’s typically much longer than modern pop music. But whether Apple will stick to that payout structure remains to be seen.
The second is looking for music. Classical music typically has an original composer and then many different versions of that piece of music by different artists. To make it easier to search for a track by a specific artist, Apple Music likely offers various search parameters that simplify the process.