Apple is launching a new music streaming service focused on classical music, called Apple Music Classical. This new service will be based on Apple’s 2021 acquisition of Amsterdam-based streamer Primephonic and will offer Apple Music subscribers access to over 5 million classical music tracks, including new releases in high-quality audio, hundreds of curated playlists, thousands of exclusive albums, and other features such as composer bios and deep dives on key works. According to Apple, the app will be available for download later this month, on March 28, and will only support iOS devices running iOS 15.4 or newer at launch.
Targeting classical music listeners with a standalone app is a differentiator for Apple Music’s subscription service, and it is one that sets it apart from rival Spotify’s recently announced tech-forward features such as AI and video-based discovery feeds. Instead, Apple Music Classical will present a simple interface for engaging with classical works, allowing users to search by composer, work, conductor, or catalog number to locate recordings. Users can stream these in high-quality audio of up to 192 kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless, and thousands of recordings will be available in Apple’s immersive spatial audio as well.
The app will also allow users to dive into the recordings to read editorial notes about the composers and descriptions of their key works. Apple has commissioned high-resolution digital portraits of famous composers from artists, with color palettes and artistic references from the relevant classical period. At launch, portraits will be available for Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, and Johann Sebastian Bach, with more to be added.
Apple notes that the service will continue to be updated with new music over time, too. They have been working with classical music artists and music institutions to offer exclusive content and recordings at launch and in the future. For the time being, users will track news and updates about the app and music releases on the @appleclassical Twitter account.
Apple Music Classical is being shipped as part of the Apple Music subscription and is available to subscribers across plans, including the Individual ($10.99/mo), Student ($5.99/mo), Family ($16.99/mo) plans, and in the Apple One bundles. Unlike some other streaming services, there is no additional charge for the Apple Music Classical service. And while the service is currently iOS-only, it will support Android “soon,” similar to Apple Music’s app.
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Overall, Apple Music Classical is a welcome addition to the music streaming landscape, offering classical music enthusiasts a dedicated app for discovering, exploring, and enjoying their favorite works. With its vast library of recordings, exclusive content, and simple interface, it will be a hit with classical music lovers everywhere.