Here’s a surprise announcement: After almost two years of waiting, Apple Music Classical is finally here and it has a launch date: Monday, March 28, 2023.
Since the company acquired the classical streaming service Primephonic in 2021, we’ve been patiently waiting for Apple’s version of the classical music service to appear.
According to the App Store (opens in new tab)the new Apple Music Classical is designed “specifically for classical music” and more importantly, it will be available “at no extra cost” to current Apple Music subscribers.
And the good news continues: the classical music library already has more than five million songs (an addition to Apple Music’s more than 100 million strong catalog) and will include songs available in up to 24-bit/192kHz Hi-Res Lossless quality (the highest Apple offers) and also in spatial audio with Dolby Atmos.
The latter is especially interesting, as the launch date (March 28) is the same day Sonos’ new Era 300 spatial audio smart speaker will go on sale, and will also officially support Apple’s spatial audio tracks from that date.
Chance? We think not.
Introducing Apple Music Classical, the new app designed specifically for classical music. Pre-order today on the @AppStore. https://t.co/lwnF4Dx4ua pic.twitter.com/F8uMKMVm2iMarch 9, 2023
You’ll need to download the free app separately, and if you pre-order now, it will automatically download to our iPhone on March 28. It works with any existing Apple Music plan (excluding the Voice plan), and we think an all-new app with millions of songs at no extra cost is a great deal.
However, it’s not such a good deal for Android users, who again lag behind when it comes to new Apple launches. Apple Music is available on the Google Play Store and we expect the Classical app to be available for Android users at a later date.
Why the need for a separate app? Searching for classical music can be a minefield, with several conductors, orchestras, and live variations available for a given work. Cataloging of the works is not standardized either, so it can be difficult to find the exact recording you are looking for. To that end, Apple says the Classical app has a “specialized search engine” that lets you search by composer, work, conductor, and catalog number — this should make finding specific works instantly easier.
Apple also says the app “makes it easy for beginners to learn about the genre with hundreds of Essentials playlists, insightful biographies of composers, in-depth guides to many important works, and intuitive browsing features.” Apple also promises “accurate metadata” that any devoted digital music fan will know is critical to your music library (and peace of mind).
Apple’s acquisition of Netherlands-based Primephonic should help with that. Primephonic was considered the world’s largest specialized library of classical music (we liked it and gave it four stars in our review). Before it shut down, the service added hi-res streaming to its offerings and boasted more than 3.5 million classic songs from 170,000 artists across nearly 230,000 albums and 2,400 labels.
What if you don’t subscribe to Apple Music yet? We assume you’ll need to subscribe to use the classic app (individual plan: £10.99 / $10.99 / AU$12.99 per month), as it doesn’t appear to be available as a separate paid subscription (yet). app. The app works on Apple devices running iOS 15.4 and later, and you’ll need compatible headphones (like the AirPods Pro 2) and speakers (like HomePod 2 and the upcoming Sonos Era 300) to fully enjoy the Hi-Res Lossless and spatial audio formats.
You can now pre-order Apple Music Classical in the App Store (opens in new tab)available March 28.
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