A preview of Apple Music Classical appeared Thursday on the App Store. When available, the app will offer access to the world’s largest classical music catalog, with more than 5 million tracks. It’s free for Apple Music subscribers.
Apple first promised a standalone classical music app back in 2021. It was supposed to launch in 2022, but is actually coming in late March.
Roll over, Beethoven: Apple Music Classical premieres soon
Apple purchased classical music service Primephonic in 2021. The iPhone-maker then committed to making its own version, with the best features of Primephonic and more.
That application will finally arrive on March 28, 2023. Apple Classical Music will let users “enjoy the highest audio quality available (up to 192 kHz/24-bit Hi-Res Lossless) and hear classical favorites like never before in spatial audio,” Apple said.
Users will be able to search by composer, work, conductor or catalog number. The upcoming software also includes playlists, composer biographies and guides for many key works.
The Apple Music Classical application that appeared Thursday is not yet downloadable from the App Store. Attempting to do so sets up the software to automatically download on March 28.
This is another way of browsing the Apple Music catalog, not a separate service. That’s why it only requires a standard Apple Music subscription. And why there’s a fancy trailer for the new app in Apple Music.
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The differences between classical music and pop or rap go well beyond the sound. Classical catalogs aren’t about the latest hits. Instead, they contain numerous recordings of the same piece, done by a wide range of performers over decades. Buying Primephonic gave Apple an easy way to bulk up its classical music collection.
“We love and have a deep respect for classical music, and Primephonic has become a fan favorite for classical enthusiasts,” said Oliver Schusser, VP of Apple Music and Beats, in 2021.
However, Apple shut down the streaming service immediately after the acquisition. Fans have been waiting for the replacement dedicated classical music app ever since. Instead, Cupertino added Primephonic’s catalog to the standard Apple Music app.
But the wait for a stand-alone Apple Music Classical application is almost over.