Apple Music subscribers are able to download and use the new app at no additional cost as part of their existing subscription.
The app is now available worldwide where Apple Music is offered, excluding China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Taiwan and Turkey, while available features and content may vary by country or region, according to the Apple Music Classical page on the App Store.
It requires an Apple Music subscription, but is not available with the Apple Music Voice Plan, a subscription tier for Apple Music that is designed to work with Siri.
Apple says the app is “designed to deliver the listening experience classical music lovers deserve.”
Apple Music Classical’s launch follows Apple’s acquisition of Netherlands-based classical music streaming service Primephonic in August 2021 with the intent of launching its own dedicated classical music app in 2022.
Apple had earlier said that the new app will offer “the best features of Primephonic, including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits.”
The new app, according to Apple, “makes it easy for beginners to get acquainted with the genre thanks to hundreds of Essentials playlists, insightful composer biographies, deep-dive guides for many key works, and intuitive browsing features.”
Apple Music Classical provides access to a catalog of over 5 million tracks including new releases and celebrated masterpieces.
Users can search specific recordings according to composer, work, conductor, or even catalog number.
“We love music — that’s really what we’re all about — and classical music is foundational to music of all genres,” says Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats.
Oliver Schusser, Apple
“We love music — that’s really what we’re all about — and classical music is foundational to music of all genres,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s Vice President of Apple Music and Beats.
“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. We believe this is the very best classical music streaming experience available anywhere, and for us, this is just the beginning,” Schusser added.
The app offers up to 192 kHz/24 bit Hi-Res Lossless audio quality in immersive spatial audio with Dolby Atmos. Apple started offering Lossless Audio and Spatial Audio with support for Dolby Atmos on its platform at no additional cost in June 2021.
Apple Music Classical’s Spatial Audio catalog adds new albums every week, the company said.
“Classical music — and all of culture — is fundamentally about connection, about forging bonds of understanding across time and space.”
Yo-Yo Ma, cellist
Apple revealed in January that over 80% of Apple Music subscribers listened to its Spatial Audio feature in 2022. The feature provides a surround-sound experience to listeners.
Other features of Apple’s standalone classical music streaming service include complete and accurate metadata and the information of thousands of composer biographies, descriptions of key works, and more, as well as the ability to listen using AirPlay on compatible wireless devices.
Explaining why it built a separate app for classical music, Apple says: “Classical music often involves multiple musicians recording works that have been recorded many times before and are referred to by different names… Such complexities mean that classical music fans have been ill-served by streaming platforms. Until now. A distinct app, included with an Apple Music subscription, gives these classical music lovers the editorial and catalog content they’ve been missing.”
“Only a brand-new app — with specialized features and a beautiful interface designed for the genre — could remove the complexity and make classical music easily searchable, browsable, and accessible for beginners and experts alike.”
The new app also features exclusive new artwork including hundreds of playlist covers and unique, high-resolution digital portraits that are commissioned from what Apple says is a diverse group of artists. The artworks feature some of the leading classical figures like Bach, Beethoven, Hildegard von Bingen, Chopin, John Dowland, Fanny Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi, and more.
Apple Music has also partnered with many of the greatest classical institutions in the world including the Berlin Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, Opéra National de Paris, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Apple’s classical music foray comes at a time when the consumption of classical music continues to grow in popularity.
“Classical music — and all of culture — is fundamentally about connection, about forging bonds of understanding across time and space,” said cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
“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.”
In 2022, the use of classical music by content creators on YouTube soared 90% year over year, according to a report by Sweden-headquartered royalty-free soundtrack provider Epidemic Sound, which also found that classical music has been the fastest-growing genre used by content creators last year.
“There’s an enormous appetite for great classical music content online,” Frank Briegmann, Chairman & CEO Universal Music Central Europe & Deutsche Grammophon, said at the time.
STAGE+ is also available on the App Store, but unlike Apple Music Classical, it offers video streaming in addition to audio streaming.
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