Apple acquired the classical music service Primephonic in 2021. Since then, the company has been working hard to create a new classical music experience for Apple Music. Is Apple Music Classical coming soon?
A new version of the iOS 16.4 beta contains new references to ‘Apple Music Classical’ that weren’t there before. According to MacRumors, the code found suggests that users will need to have Apple Music installed to enjoy the new classical music-focused offering. There’s no sign of a Classical Music app in the beta—but that doesn’t mean it won’t be there at launch.
Apple suggested the Apple Music Classical offering would launch in 2022. With the year firmly behind us, Apple has yet to provide an update on its launch. It’s missing, just like the Spotify HiFi tier. It’s possible that integrating Primephonic’s system for categorizing classical music into the main Apple Music app has taken longer than Apple engineers expected.
That’s because there is so much metadata associated with classical music and fans of the genre search for performances in an entirely different manner than traditional music tracks. Finding Dvorak’s cello concerto presents many options—how many orchestras have played it? How many of those orchestras have multiple performances, each with a different conductor or soloist?
There are many more variables in tracking down a classical music recording compared to any other music genre in streaming. Each of these variables is critical in searching for recordings. Since each recording needs to be searchable by musicians, vocalists, composer, piece name, performing artists, label, conductors, orchestra, concert hall, date published, date performed, instruments, etc. it requires a massive amount of behind-the-scenes work to get right.
As it stands now, searching a classical music track on Apple Music will return 200 artists that may have performed an older classical work. Sorting through that list to find the specific recording you have in mind is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.