Apple Officially Acquires Primephonic, Plans to Launch a ‘Dedicated Classical Music App Next Year’

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Photo Credit: Laurenz Heymann

Apple has officially acquired classical music streaming service Primephonic, which will enable the Cupertino-headquartered company to offer Apple Music subscribers “a significantly improved classical music experience.”

Apple – which recently acknowledged that some iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro devices are suffering from “sound issues” – unveiled the Primephonic buyout in a formal release. According to this announcement message, the seven-year-old streaming platform is no longer available to new subscribers and will be taken offline next Tuesday, September 7th.

Current Primephonic subscribers are set to receive a free six-month Apple Music subscription, as Apple higher-ups don’t intend to roll out an updated version of the classical music service until 2022. “Apple Music plans to launch a dedicated classical music app next year combining Primephonic’s classical user interface that fans have grown to love with more added features,” the release indicates.

This upcoming platform will integrate many of Amsterdam-based Primephonic’s key components, the text likewise discloses, “including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits.”

On Apple Music, the release emphasizes, crossover subscribers can access “hundreds of thousands of classical albums, all in Lossless and high-resolution audio, as well as hundreds of classical albums in Apple Music’s Spatial Audio, with new albums added regularly.”

Addressing his company’s sale in a statement, Primephonic co-founder and CEO Thomas Steffens said in part: “Artists love the Primephonic service and what we’ve done in classical, and now we have the ability to join with Apple to deliver the absolute best experience to millions of listeners. We get to bring classical music to the mainstream and connect a new generation of musicians with the next generation of audience.”

The acquisition of Primephonic represents the latest in a long line of efforts from Apple Music to attract users and secure an advantage over competing audio-entertainment platforms like Spotify and Amazon Music. To be sure, both Apple Music and Amazon Music beat Spotify to the punch on hi-fi streaming back in May, and the Stockholm-based company’s support for HD audio is reportedly coming soon.

More recently, Apple – which reportedly pays a decidedly higher per-stream royalty rate than Spotify – has countered the latter’s much-publicized (and seemingly expensive) podcasting plays in part by debuting podcast subscriptions of its own. (Amazon Music entered the crowded podcasting arena last September, with exclusive shows from DJ Khaled and others.)

Lastly, while stateside streaming services no longer boast exclusive music, exclusive livestreams and other content remain a popular means of attempting to generate interest and add subscribers. On this front, it’s worth noting in conclusion that Spotify has also taken steps to diversify its offerings this year, including with the aforementioned podcasts, audiobooks, social audio, and more.