Business News Digital

Apple puts new classical music app live

By | Published on Wednesday 29 March 2023

Apple Music Classical

Apple has launched its standalone app for classical music which provides, we are told, the “listening experience classical music lovers deserve”. I think the assumption there is that they deserve a good listening experience. Yeah, maybe.

“We love music – that’s really what we’re all about – and classical music is foundational to music of all genres”, reckons Apple Music VP Oliver Schusser. “Apple Music Classical is a dedicated app that is great for classical experts as well as anyone who is new to classical, with the largest classical music selection in the world, the very best search and browse capabilities, the most premium sound experience with spatial audio, and thousands of exclusive recordings”.

Most people would agree that mainstream music streaming platforms are not optimised for classical music. Apple has been working on a solution to that problem for a while, buying itself classical music centric streaming service Primephonic back in 2021 to help with that process.

Some would argue that Primephonic had already created a pretty decent streaming experience for classical fans. You know, before Apple shut it down. But all those Primephonic learnings contributed towards this all new Apple Music Classical app, the launch of which was teased earlier this month.

“Classical works have multiple movements and tracks; famous pieces have hundreds of recordings with different orchestras, conductors, and soloists; and many composers have their own special catalogue classifications, from Bach’s BWV to Mozart’s K”, the official blurb for the new app says, explaining why a different set-up is required for navigating the classical catalogue.

“With these complexities in mind”, it goes on, “Apple Music Classical has redesigned search to instantly deliver exactly what users are looking for using all combinations of keywords, from composer and work, to opus number, conductor, artist, or instrument, and even a work’s nickname. Looking up a work reveals all its recordings, plus an Editor’s Choice performance. And searching for a composer displays all available works”.

“Apple Music is also working closely with some of today’s most renowned classical composers, artists and musicians to ensure that the app is empowering artists and engaging classical music lovers all over the world”, we are also told.

And that includes cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who has this to say: “Classical music – and all of culture – is fundamentally about connection, about forging bonds of understanding across time and space. It’s innovations like this that make that connection possible, that give us space for our curiosity to run, to rediscover the familiar, and to rejoice in the unexpected”.

Meanwhile, Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, also known for his occasional classical music projects, says: “I’ve been working with Apple to help solve the problems of classical music streaming. They’ve come up with a really elegant set of solutions to the unique problems that hinder the search for – and collection of – digital classical music”.

“Put simply, there’s only one recording of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue,’ but thousands of ‘Rhapsody In Blue'”, he continues. “This first kind of search, in someone newly interested in classical music, can be so off-putting and bewildering, so I’m very excited for everyone to finally have a way into this remarkable universe of music, which is welcoming to new – and old – classical fans, and which rewards enthusiasm for music with music, directly and intuitively”.

Apple Music Classical is available for free to existing Apple Music subscribers on iOS devices in most markets. An Android version will follow.